Dartsmain_large

With the cold weather setting in the Northern hemisphere, what’s better than to wrap yourself in warm woolen garments? Especially if they are made by yourself.

A few couture techniques may help you achieve more professional and polished look for your next tweed blazer or bouclé dress. A seemingly basic construction element – a dart – can be key in accomplishing this task.

How you make your dart is a decision that should be made based on your fabric choice. The weight, composition, surface characteristics or print – may all require a different construction method.

Let’s have a look at ready-to-wear. Here, darts are made folding fabric right sides together, stitching the dart from the point to the edge and, then, pressing the dart to a side. This may work with lightweight fabrics, but try it on your tweed jacket, or a skirt, and the bulk created by the dart will be obvious.

Sometimes, sewers are advised to cut the dart along the folding line and then to press it open. This may distribute the bulk evenly on both sides of the seam, but it also weakens the garment, especially when it is made of fabrics that fray easily.

To avoid this problem, try a so-called balanced dart, where a strip of the same fabric (usually cut on bias to reduce fraying) is placed along the dart and then stitched together with it. The strip is then folded and trimmed to the same amount as the dart. Finally, the dart and the strip are pressed in opposite directions.

The image below shows the balanced dart made in two contrasting fabrics for demonstration purposes (a step-by-step tutorial).

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Another very interesting technique is converting darts to ease. In home sewing we are using it often when we ease shoulder seams, or the elbow seam on a sleeve. However, in couture, easing is used more extensively. You will find this technique especially useful for fabrics that have a prominent pattern, such as plaid, for example.

The process is easy: excess fabric is gathered and steamed out (check out this tutorial). You can guess that this technique is especially effective with wool. I tried on a plaid bouclé skirt and here are results after a few minutes of steaming.

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BEFORE: Gathered waist of a bouclé skirt

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AFTER: Excess fullness is removed

Try out these techniques on different samples and use them in your upcoming projects.

~Marina

Marina von Koenig is a couture enthusiast documenting her learning experience on her blog Frabjous Couture.

14 Comments

  • Missing

    Mar 28, 2014, 03.14 AMby greeniechickie

    could you please correct the pictures? they do not appear.

  • Img_2032_2_large

    Dec 7, 2011, 11.06 AMby sarahfbr

    I’m glad I came across this, I think I’ll try out one of these on my next project :) thanks

  • Missing

    Dec 3, 2011, 05.23 AMby rochelle49

    Thanks, this is very helpful! Darts are my friend for a curvy situation .

  • Cali_large

    Dec 2, 2011, 10.47 PMby threadsquare

    Fantastic article! Thanks, Marina :)

  • 185247_683249964502_7103199_35896629_1133237_n_-_3_large

    Dec 2, 2011, 10.31 PMby eghbravo

    This is great, I’ve definitely got to try it!! how do I add this to My Toolkit?

  • Dscf6507_large

    Dec 2, 2011, 04.56 AMby urbandon

    Thanks for the great article. I want my darts perfect! Now I know how.

    1 Reply
    • Fb2227aaf242c0d041dbcd583baae4e4ccfba73d_large

      Dec 3, 2011, 06.27 PMby loulourosa

      hmm, thank you, but I can’t find this in this article,…

  • Ok5_large

    Dec 1, 2011, 11.23 PMby greschaktr

    I have never thought of evening the darts like that. Thanks!

  • Fb2227aaf242c0d041dbcd583baae4e4ccfba73d_large

    Dec 1, 2011, 09.00 AMby loulourosa

    Thank you for sharing this information. Maybe you also have tips on ironing wool, how do you iron a seam or a pleat so that it doesn’t show on the good side of the garment?

    2 Replies
    • Dscf6507_large

      Dec 2, 2011, 04.55 AMby urbandon

      Check the article as it has tips on this too!

    • Dscf6507_large

      Dec 4, 2011, 07.41 AMby urbandon

      Use a piece of stiff card under whatever you are pressing to avoid showing marks showing through. I personally avoid using too much steam as it can distort the wool. All the best. Don

  • Carnationbord_large

    Dec 1, 2011, 07.07 AMby MientjiB

    Thanks Marina! I’ve seen the post about converting darts to ease on your blog before. But I’ve always wanted to ask – can you use this technique on a garment you’re intending to wash? Or will that destroy the effect of the steaming, and you’ll have to steam it again every time you wash it?

  • Avatar3_large

    Dec 1, 2011, 12.45 AMby carottesauvage

    Your posts are always very inspiring, thanks!

  • Dscn5250_large

    Nov 30, 2011, 09.46 PMby mixtlii

    Very interesting – thanks!

    • This is a question
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