Types of Darts for Sewing – 12 Best Types

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Learn about all the types of darts and their functions. Darts play a very creative part in dressmaking. It is the dart that provides the contours and the shape of the fashion piece. If there were no darts, dressmakers would not be able to put curves to the fabric and adjust the pattern to fit the size and shape of the wearer. Darts are strategically placed to make the garment fit over the bust or hips, and other points of a garment, needing fullness or tapering. Dart placement can also be part of the design and can add to the uniqueness of the garment.

Types of DartsPinTypes of Darts

Contents

Types of DartsTypes of Darts – PlacementPlain DartsBust DartsSide Angled Dart or the French DartShoulder DartsNeck DartsDart TucksElbow DartsFisheye DartCurved DartsSleeve Hem DartsSkirt/ Pants Types of DartsSerger Darts:Types of Darts with an Eased FinishHow to Sew all Types of DartsHow to Sew Straight Types of DartsHow to Sew Curved Types of DartsHow to Sew Double Point Types of DartsHow to Press DartsTypes of Darts – In Conclusion

Types of Darts

There are two basic types of darts:

The single-pointed dart is wide at one end and narrows at the other. It has a v shape when completed. Used on trousers and skirts at the waist, and blouses at the bust, it is the most common dart. The double-pointed dart is pointed and tapered at both ends. It is also known as the body dart because it will shape the bodice leading up towards the bust and tapering down towards the waist.PinTypes of Darts – Single vs Double

Types of Darts – Placement

Darts are placed in several different parts of the garment. They come in many different sizes and are found as a bodice dart, shoulder darts, mid armhole darts, mid neckline, center front neck darts and the standard waist dart. You can refer to the diagram at the top of the page for examples of the below types of darts.

Plain Darts

Plain darts are also known as standard types of darts. They are the most widely used darts. They can be placed anywhere on a garment for a fitted look, but are mostly found on the bust and the waist. 

Bust Darts

The bust dart is a side dart.  It is a straight dart and fits under the arm pointing towards the bust point.  It usually starts two inches below the armhole.

Side Angled Dart or the French Dart

This is a difficult dart to sew.  It starts from the waistline or hip and is angled towards the bust.  The dress pattern is cut in this shape and then sewn together along the curve of the dart.

Shoulder Darts

These types of darts are used to create a fitted effect on a shoulder area. The angle of the dart will depend on the pattern and the design.

Neck Darts

The neck dart points down and away from the neck.  It is used to create shaping in the neck area.

Dart Tucks

Dart tucks are sewn in the same way as normal types of darts, but the difference is the point of the dart is left open. These kinds of darts give the garment a pleated look and add a flowing appearance to loose pants and blouses.

Elbow Darts

Darts set in at the elbow make the sleeve more fitted.  They are especially useful for creating the fitted shape in the sleeve for a more tailored look.

Fisheye Dart

Horizontal types of darts under the rear of a pair of baggy pants are used to stop the sagging at the back of the pants. It is a horizontal double-pointed dart. The fisheye dart can be used at the back of a neckline to take up the slack from round shoulders if a more fitted design is wanted.

Curved Darts

Darts on some patterns can be drawn with a gentle curve. These types of darts are used to create fullness or shape on a skirt or pants pattern. Curved darts, depending on the pattern, can be stitched in a concave direction or convex.

Sleeve Hem Darts

A little dart sloping from the hem at the little finger edge of the sleeve, sloping to the elbow, helps to taper the sleeve.  This allows the sleeve to fit comfortably from the wrist to the elbow.

Skirt/ Pants Types of Darts

Darts, starting at the waist and tapering towards the hip, create the fullness needed as the waistline falls down past the hips.  Depending on the fit you require, you can have double darts on either side of the centre of the skirt waist, or the pants waist.

Serger Darts:

Using a serger to make darts, especially on cotton knits, is a great time saver and helps to reduce bulky full darts.

Types of Darts with an Eased Finish

If you want to escape the pointed types of darts look, but still need the eased fullness at the bust, then ease the fabric to create the contour. Take the fabric destined to be a dart and ease it into the same space to create fullness. This dart would need to be carefully pinned and tacked in place before sewing to evenly distribute the fullness.

How to Sew all Types of Darts

Here I will give you instructions on how to sew 3 different types of darts.

For more on sewing darts, read my full articles on:

How to Sew DartsMarking Darts

How to Sew Straight Types of Darts

Sewing darts may seem complicated to the beginner sewer but you just need some practice and you will be sewing the plain dart like a pro. The plain dart has only one point at the top or apex and the fuller end is referred to as the legs of the dart.

Step 1 – Cut and Mark

Cut out your pattern pieces and mark the points of the dart carefully. Use tailors chalk or a removable fabric marking pen.

Step 2 – Fold

Fold the dart to match up the points of the dart.  The fabric is folded with right sides together.  Make sure you have a clear line from the bottom wider point of the dart to the tip, apex or point of the dart.  Pin the dart in place with horizontal pinning so you can stitch across without removing the pins.

Step 3 – Sew

Sew along the marked line from the wide end to the top at the point of the dart. Make sure you leave a long thread at the tip of the dart. Take this long ‘tail’ thread and tie a secure knot. This is instead of backstitching to secure the end threads. Backstitching may cause puckering. A great alternative to backstitching is to made the stitches at the top and bottom of the dart much smaller.

Step 4 – Press

Press your dart.  Check the pattern instructions for the way your dart should be pressed to ensure a flat and neat dart from the outside as well as the inside of the garment.

Types of Darts - SingleTypes of Darts - SinglePinTypes of Darts – Single

How to Sew Curved Types of Darts

Step 1 – Cut and Mark

Mark the dart as per the pattern.  Some curved darts have a seam allowance drawn into the dart and the dart is cut out.  This makes the sewing a little easier.

Step 2 – Fold

Pin the dart carefully and ease in the fullness.  Place the pins horizontally.

Step 3 – Sew

Slowly sew the dart and leave a long thread to knot at the end. Do not double backstitch to end off the sewing.

Step 4 – Press

Neaten the dart if necessary and press in place to make the dart smooth and flat on the inside and to ease the fabric on the curve.

How to Sew Double Point Types of Darts

Step 1 – Cut and Mark

Mark the sides and the point of the dart very accurately with tracing paper and a tracing wheel.  You can mark the tip point and the centre point and join the marks together to form the dart outline.  It will look like an elongated diamond shape.

Step 2 – Fold

Fold the dart in half and match the dots and pin carefully along the whole dart with horizontal pins.

Step 3 – Sew

Start sewing in the middle.  This is very important to prevent the dart slipping and not matching correctly.  You will sew from the widest part of the dart to the point at the end.

Step 4 – Press

Repeat the stitching for the other side of the dart.  Start from the middle again and sew out to the tip.  Depending on the size of the dart you may need to clip the centre or the widest part of the dart to take some stress off the fabric and prevent it from pulling in the middle.

Types of Darts - DoubleTypes of Darts - DoublePinTypes of Darts – Double

How to Press Darts

Once you have stitched your dart the way you press your dart is important. It is best to press them into the shape of the body. Vertical darts like the darts at the waist or a contour dart are pressed towards the side seam. A horizontal dart like a bust dart is pressed down towards the waist. A pressing ham helps with pressing all types of darts. (Read all about pressing tools for sewing)

Darts in thick fabric need some special consideration: If you have stitched a dart in thick fabric it may help to cut the dart open without upsetting the stitching. This enables the dart to be pressed open and flattened. 

Types of Darts - PressingTypes of Darts - PressingPinTypes of Darts – Pressing

Types of Darts – In Conclusion

Darts, wide at one end and pointed at the other, are meant to be sewn to create a point in the fabric. This point enables the dressmaker to create contours and curves in the sewing of the garment. Darts may take a bit of time to get accurate, but they are a vital part of sewing and a creative aspect too. Go for the bull`s eye and aim to please! Many types of darts well-positioned in the fabric will do just that. 

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