Darts, Pleats, and Gathers



Darts are most often used to shape the back of the skirt. A fitted, darted front shows every bump and curve of the body. If you don’t have a flat tummy, front darts may not be flattering and can be eliminated with a stitching technique called staystitch plus.

When making darts, careful marking and stitching go hand in hand. Position pins all along the stitching line, with one horizontal pin marking the tip of the dart. Make sure that pins are in straight lines along both legs of the dart.

Stitch from the wide end of the dart, backstitching as you begin in order to secure the stitches (1). Remove the pins as you come to them.

When you're ½ in. from the tip of the dart, change to a short stitch length (1.5mm) and stitch the last few stitches along the edge of the fabric. Shorter stitches increase stitching accuracy and make tying knots or backstitching unnecessary. Stitch evenly off the edge to prevent a bubble from forming at the tip of the dart (2).

Sew a smooth and true dart every time by mentally drawing a line from the first stitches to the tip, pointing the machine in that direction. This visualization is helpful even if you’ve marked the stitching line with chalk.

Press the dart on a ham. A perfectly pressed dart is nearly invisible on the right side of the fabric.