The Importance of Sewing Darts

Many people hate sewing darts.

They can seem clunky and dated on a blouse or top.  You want your clothes to be sleek and chic, right?

The good news is, darts can be incorporated into innovative design - you'll get great fit and you'll never know they're there!

knit top without bust dart

The thing is, darts are essential for good fit.

The top at left does not have darts.  It's a knit - and one of my favorites! - but even knits can use a bit of shape for good fit, especially if you have a lot of shape!

But without a dart, you see diagonal pull lines from the bust to the side seam.  The front just doesn't hang right.

A flat (2-dimensional) piece of fabric simply won't adequately cover a 3-dimensional body. 

The human body is not a cylinder, or a box .

Darts control the shape of the fabric and allows the fabric to conform to your body.

Of course, how you use darts and shaping seams (which are essentially the same thing) depends upon how much you want the shape to conform to your body - or how fitted you want the garment to be.

The photo at right shows the same knit top with a dart pinned at the side bust.  The dart lifts the side, eliminating the diagonal pull lines, and the top hangs better.

But the top is not fitted; I could add a waist dart if I wanted a closer fit (but I don't!).

knit top with bust dart

The bust dart alone helps the fit and overall appearance of the top, and helps it conform to the body better, without making it close-fitting.

The side bust dart is a basic fit element of your fitted or blouse block, but there are ways to "hide" those darts while maintaining good fit. Princess seams, yokes, shirring, and other shaping or style seams can incorporate the shape of the dart.

Just use your imagination! (and, of course, good pattern making techniques!)

To learn more about "hiding" your darts while maintaining the shape and overall fit of your bodice, see my in-depth tutorial, "A Beginner's Guide to Designing with Darts".  It has dozens of pages of illustrated instructions and examples, and more than a dozen videos to guide you.

Step-by-Step: Making and Fitting Your Block

Need More Help with Fitting Issues?

The examples on this site reflect MY fitting issues and how I resolved them.  Your body is likely very different. 

But, since this is a site about the mechanics of making patterns and not specifically about fitting, I'm not going to address other fit issues here. And believe me, there are others who can address this issue better than me.

Any of the books listed below will help you achieve good fit. You can use the techniques on any pattern; but why make the same corrections over an over again?  Apply the principles to your block, and the fit corrections YOU need will be automatically built in to every pattern you make!

I can recommend any of the following books and an online course to help you achieve good fit, no matter what your size or shape.  I own or have used almost all of the books on this list, and have been pleased with how they address fit problems.

Click on the TEXT links below to go to the item in Amazon.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This helps to keep this site free for your use. You are free to search Amazon for these or other similar items without using the affiliate links on this page. 

- Sewing Pattern Alterations: Fixing Fit Issues - This online course from Udemy is essential for creating clothing with a good fit. There's nothing worse than spending time and money on making a garment, only to find it doesn't fit well! Learn how to fix the pattern BEFORE you cut into your fabric! The course covers necklines, sleeves, skirts and pants.

• Pattern Fitting With Confidence - A very useful book written by the late Nancy Zieman, host of the TV series "Sewing with Nancy". She provides a straightforward, down-to-earth approach to sewing and fitting. Very user-friendly.

• The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting - I love this book!!! So wonderfully illustrated with photos, using commercial patterns to demonstrate the pattern alterations. It addresses almost any fit problem you might have. So easy to understand and follow!

Sewing for Plus Sizes - Creating Clothes that Fit and Flatter  - A great book for Plus sizes!  As a woman gets larger, it's not just the measurements that change - our overall proportions shift, too.  This book addresses the different body types and proportions you commonly see in larger women. Truly helpful for larger women.

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