/ / How to Sew a Dart {2 foolproof tricks}

How to Sew a Dart {2 foolproof tricks}

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Do you dread darts? Let me show you how to correctly sew a dart. If you follow two tricks, sewing darts is foolproof and easy. You need to mark it accurately and end it professionally. That’s it!

I love sewing darts. I love the way that I can change the shape of fabric… make a blouse feminine, make a tote bag roomy, and make pants flattering, all with darts!


Dart tip number 1: mark the dart accurately

You can trace the whole dart onto the wrong side of your fabric or mark the ends, but I’ve found that the quickest and most accurate way is to make small clips at the ends and then mark the point.

Make sure you know the seam allowance of your fabric and ensure that your clips are smaller than that. A good rule of thumb is to clip only half-way into the seam allowance. So if your seam allowance is 1/2” (like on this bag) you can clip 1/4” safely.

Next mark the point of the dart. One quick way is to stick a pin through all layers and then lift up each layer and mark the wrong side of the fabric in the spot where you see the pin.

You can also use a needle and long strand of thread to sew a tailor’s tack: just run the needle through the fabric at the point, remove it, and clip the thread when you pull the fabrics apart leaving a strand in each piece. This is especially helpful in delicate fabrics that you don’t want to use a pen on.


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Once you have accurately marked your dart, you can easily fold the fabric right sides together and match up the clips.

Dart tip number 2: end the dart properly

Always start sewing a dart at the fabric raw edge, not the point. Backstitch at the beginning and sew a straight line to the point that you marked. If you like you can draw a line between them before you start.

Never backstitch at the point of a dart. That might leave an ugly pinched or gathered spot. It’s not a big deal on a bag lining, but it will ruin a blouse.


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Instead, sew straight off the end of the dart and then secure the stitching some other way. You could tie your threads in a knot by hand.

I like to turn my fabric around and sew back onto the dart where the stitching won’t show. Then I backstitch. Easy, huh?


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And perfect nearly every time. This beautiful fabric is from Recollection by Katerina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics.

You might also like my post with 14+ Tote Bags You Can Sew in an Afternoon.

Happy Sewing!

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Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂

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10 Comments

  1. JC Smitty says:

    Hello. This is a dumb question, but what is "the apex of a dart." You mention that this is something that shouldn’t be done. Thanks so much.

    1. That’s a great question. The apex is the point of the dart. You should never backstitch there.

      Thanks for asking!

  2. Thank you for this tutorial. Fashion Design was my major in college and have worked in the industry for over 30yrs.The apex refers to the bust point and suppose could refer to the point of the dart if the dart is at the bust. The parts of the dart are: dart end (located at the seam or where the notches are placed), dart legs and dart point.

  3. I came across your post while searching for more info on this technique. I love the look on zip pouches! Can you tell me what pattern you used for this demo? I am looking for one already written into a pattern to get my feet wet before I try adding it to a pattern on my own!

  4. Aw memories from high school. I remember practicing these. Nothing worse than having points at the end of your boobs. Thanks for the post!!

  5. The last step confuses me. You turn your fabric around? Do you mean flip it upside down and sew on the seam you already sewed and back stitch at the wide end again? Thanks.

    1. Hi Kathy – If you look closely at the first photo for this step, you’ll see that I took my fabric out and placed the dart under the needle (I actually flipped it over to the other side because that’s the easiest way to do this – but that might not make sense until you are performing the step) so that my backstitching would be on the dart – the part that won’t show.

      I think if you look closely at that photo and maybe practiced on a piece of scrap fabric it would make sense. 🙂

      Caroline

  6. Jamie Thomas says:

    As usual Caroline your "basics" are so very helpful those of us who skipped home ec or came upon sewing later in life and are trying to learn from blogs and you tube. Most assume a basic knowledge that is either forgotten or was never learned. Thank you for making it easy and approachable.

  7. yarnovermatter says:

    I’m still pretty inexperienced, so my apologies for asking something so basic, but: When you say to sew back onto the dart & backstitch "where the stitching won’t show", do you mean close beside the dart in the seam allowance? Please & thank you. 🙂

    1. If you look closely at the first photo for this step, you’ll see that I took my fabric out and placed the dart under the needle (I actually flipped it over to the other side because that’s the easiest way to do this – but that might not make sense until you are performing the step) so that my backstitching would be on the dart – the part that won’t show.

      I think if you look closely at that photo and maybe practiced on a piece of scrap fabric it would make sense. 🙂

      Caroline

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