Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Different Way to Sew Darts

Last week I demonstrated the basic way to sew a dart, but I picked up The Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques, by Lynda Maynard. I haven't gone through all of it, but I did discover a new way to sew darts.

It's a little finicky, but very cool, and makes for a very neat, very crisp dart, and most of the process is very similar.

To start, the dart markings are exactly the same!

Pinning is basically the same, too.

The biggest difference is in threading. I used brown thread in the bobbin and blue on top for contrast. I've figured out three ways to thread the needle for this dart sewing method:

Method #1: Direct Threading
This is the method described in the book. Instead of threading the top through the needle normally, the bobbin thread goes through the needle, back to front, like so:

Then, tie the top thread to the bobbin thread, so that they are joined.

Trim the ends a bit, then pull the top thread up and wind it back around the spool, so that no threads are loose.

Method #2: Remove the Needle
If it's difficult to thread the needle front to back, and you don't have a needle threader, you could take it out first. The back side of the needle is flat at the top.

Pass the bobbin thread through the eye of the needle so that it goes from the back to the front, then place the needle into the machine, taking care not to twist the thread around.

Then tie the threads together, and pass the thread back onto the spool.

Method #3: Use the top thread
If your machine has a needle threader and you'd prefer to use that, you could thread it, tie the bobbin thread on, and then pull the thread back through. I think this isn't great, because it puts a little extra stress on the thread, but I think it works.

Whichever method you use, once the machine is ready to go, you can sew the dart, starting at the tip.

Do not backstitch at the point of the dart! The beauty of this funky threading is that the top and bottom threads are connected already, so the stitching is secure.

Once you're done, backstitch a little at the top of the dart, and snip your threads. Press the dart out as normal.

You can see here that the brown stitches show up on both sides at the bottom, but in actual application, you would be using thread to match the fabric anyway, and it wouldn't matter.

I think this method of dart sewing is very cool, but it takes practice to get it right, and the machine needs to be re-threaded for each dart you need to do.

It also helped for me to use a slightly larger needle. In this case, I was using a 80/12 needle, but went up to a 90/14, so that the knot could slip through the eye more easily. This might just be my knot-tying abilities, but it helped me a lot.

Give this method a try some time! Happy sewing!


  1. I used this method (and it worked great). The book I got it from recommended to place the knot a long enough distance from the needle so that the knot doesn't go into the tension plates. It does waste quite a bit of thread because you don't just measure your dart length but add lots more.
    This couture dart is particularly good when sewing chiffon or other transparent fabrics: no unsightly ends at the dart point!

    1. Oh! Knotting a long distance from the needle is a great idea! I had so much difficulty with that knot getting stuck in the tension plates. I will definitely do that next time.