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Conversational Threads

Darts and other niggles

Linda_Edwards | Posted in The Archives on

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What is the secret of getting a dart to sit nice and flat at the end?
Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t I follow the dots on the pattern exactly, keep the stitches straight and have tried a method of sewing a couple of stitches along the very end tip of the dart. The worse ones are skirt darts.
Other niggles…why oh why when everything is pinned nice and tight, then cut out and sewn, the length on one piece is different to the other. Just a little, but it happens. Is it my pinning, or cutting technique. Or do I need different shears?? Any insight into this mystery would be appreciated

Replies

  1. Ghillie_C | | #1

    *
    I was recently taught a method of doing skirt darts I had not seen before. It is a bit difficult to explain but I will try.

    Stitch the dart to the 'pointed end' stopping accurately when you get there. Do not back up. Treating both threads as if they were one, tie a single knot round a pin, so you can use the pin to slide the knot up and down the threads. Slide it towards the end of the dart but slip the pin out and pull the knot tight just before you get there. This should leave a little loop of thread between the end of the dart and the knot so that the dart can 'breathe' but the threads are still tightly fastened to each other.

    Hope you can figure that out!

    Ghillie

    1. Trina_Drotar | | #2

      *Hi Linda, the technique you described of sewing a couple of stitches along the edge does work, but it takes some practice. I suggest practicing some darts on fabrics until you become comfortable with the process. Other tips, very important, by the way. Pressing is the biggest thing. To properly press the dart, you need a ham. Pressing will make or break any good sewing job, especially a dart. You don't want the dart to poof out at the end either. It should allow your bulges to bulge where they need to (hips, behind, bust, etc.) and to lay flat where they need to. Also, keep in mind that your natural fabrics (cotton, silk, linen, and especially wool) will make and hold the best looking darts. If you work with manmade fabrics such as polyester, or blends, you will not be as successful. Keep practicing, though, and find the technique that brings you the greatest satisfaction. Trina

      1. Chris_Haynes | | #3

        *Sometimes even with a walking foot the top layer of fabric is being stretched by the presser foot. For many things that are not crucial (little girl play dresses, kid gym bags, Halloween costumes, etc.) I just let it go...For more exacting projects (tailored suit, or the princess seams for little girl Christmas dress) I will hand baste the seams prior to machine stitching. This seems to work, even before I got the sewing machine with the walking foot (now, can you guess why I bought the machine with the walking foot? it did help so that I did not have baste for EVERY seam... but it is not perfect).

        1. Bill_Stewart | | #4

          *Linda, there can be 2 answers to the crawling differnce in seamlength. one is feed dog creep - use a walking foot and hold the fabric taut as you sew. the other possibility is a more bias piece sewn to a straighter piece. the more curve(s) a piece has the more bias it has. sew these with the biasy down to the feed dogs and they will help ease it in. pinning can also affect lenght - pin at top and bottom of a seamline, match marks, and then smooth out in between matching marks. also, on darts the grain position relative to the dart line can cause them to buckle. the best solution is normally pressing well on a ham as Trina said.

          1. Bill_Stewart | | #5

            *also, on commercial patterns darts are not necessarily designed properly. the best example is a 2 dart A-line skirt pattern. normally they stop too short and pull in too much fabric at waist. all the pressing in the world won't take it out unless the fabric is very willowy. sometimes you have to reshape a dart to get the best lie and fit. don't be afraid to experiment - but do it on a scrap fabric or dummy trial. also the hand of the fabric can directly influence the way the dart lies when sewn.

          2. Karen_V | | #6

            *One reason that seam lines may not be even is if, before cutting, either the top or bottom layer of your folded fabric has been stretched more than the other layer. This happens especially with knits or fabrics with spandex/lycra content. It is helpful to let the fabric "rest" laid out on your cutting table overnight before cutting... and double checking that both layers are equally taut before pinning and cutting your garment.As for darts, it may be useful to hand-baste, then press only the centre line of the dart, only to the tip of the dart (not beyond) before sewing. I also knot the threads at the tip, but "bury" the tails about half an inch before clipping, to avoid having an obvious knot showing on the inside of the garment.

          3. Dorothy_Atkinson | | #7

            *I have several fitting problems.First I have a concave chest, my blouses always have too much material and sinks in. I just want to make an ordinary skirt style blouse for summer wear and am tired of T-shirts. I had a lovely pattern that had front and back yoke which really helped because the gathering helped fill my sunken in chest. I have made it many times,all of a sudden it has just disappeared. I couldn't find another pattern like it.Secondly, I have at least 6" difference between my hips and full bust. I am going to try the pattern I have now using the high bust size but now that leaves me with 8" difference, this isn't including ease. I have a nice pattern with darts at the bust and front pattern. I don't know if this is going to work out but I have a piece of cotton that is pretty, has a nice feel and wasn't terribly expensive so I thought I would try making it.I also like a little waist shaping. I don't suit boxy looking blouses or T shirts. The pattern in Threads for making T shirts was great but what do I do with such a difference between hips and bust in non streth material. I am 5'8" tall, and it seems my weight is ok but it sure isn't spread out properly. If I buy store bought blouses to get a hip fit the top is huge. What to do! I would appreciate any help.

          4. Elona_Masson | | #8

            *Dorothy, first, you need a terrific book called "Fit For Real People," by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto. This gem is filled with solutions to fitting problems like yours, complete with tons of step-by-step photos. It will make alterations seem so much more sensible to you.Second, give Burda patterns a try. They have a great range of sizes in the same envelope, and I think that the patterns are both more precise and more realistic in their sizing than is usual with the Big Four pattern companies.

          5. Stephanie_Penning | | #9

            *I would also heartily endorse Burda patterns. They also have a monthly magazine which is a very economical way of using their patterns, which require tracing onto your own paper. However, it really means you can have your own sizes in your own pattern! Well worthwhile.Burda magazine is available from GLP International, 153 South Dean Street, Englewood, NJ 07631. Tel 201-871-1010.Hope it works for you - best wishes from the UK!

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