Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sewing Darts in Knits

Most ready to wear knit tops do not have darts.  They are not seen as necessary because knits stretch and give enough to accommodate a bust.  However, if you are full busted, many of these dartless knit tops do not fit properly.  You may find stress lines across the front along the bust line as well as diagonal drag lines on the side from the bust level to the waist/hip level.

For me, there are times where I can get away with sewing a knit top without a dart if the fabric is stretchy enough.  However, not all fabrics are stretchy enough.  This week I made a simple grey T-shirt and the fabric, although a knit, required that I use darts for shaping.  I thought I would share my method of sewing darts in knits.

The primary concern with sewing a dart in a knit is to sew the dart nice and straight without stretching the fabric as you sew the dart.  My solution is to use Solvy Water Soluble Stabilizer.
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First, snip mark the dart legs on the edge of the fabric with very small snips, preferably 1/8 inch or less:



Mark the dart point with chalk.  I push a pin through from the pattern through to the fabric, gently lift the pattern from the fabric and then chalk mark the point:



 I then chalk mark the dart legs from the snips to the point.  (You can use a tracing wheel and tracing paper but it really depends on the fabric.  Do a test on a swatch):


 I then fold the dart and encase it in a piece of Solvy Water Soluble stabilizer and pin the dart.  (Addendum 4/25/17:  if you want to save on stabilizer, you can also cut strips instead of encasing the dart.  Just make sure the strips don't shift out of place.)  Since the stabilizer is see through, you can see your dart.  However, if you want a clearer line, you can chalk mark on top of the stabilizer:





Sew through the stabilizer following the chalk mark.  It's OK if the stabilizer wrinkles a little...just as long as the fabric doesn't:


Wet the darts or wash the finished garment to dissolve the stabilizer.   I then steam press by hovering a steam iron above the dart and patting it down with my hand.  While doing so, I put a piece of paper underneath the dart to prevent a ridge from forming on the right side while I steam press.  Following is a photo of the wrong side of the dart with the stabilizer dissolved:



Darts aren't always necessary in knits but for the more generously endowed, they are often indispensable for a proper fit.

Happy sewing!

15 comments:

  1. Very nice tutorial. Thanks.

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  2. I agree, that is a nice looking dart. I have never used that stabilizer but I am interested in trying when I sew darts into stretch wovens for skirts. I'll add it to my "supplies to buy" list. :)

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    1. I like it because you can see through it and gets the job done.

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  3. Great tutorial! I agree on darts improving the fit of knit tops, just never thought of using water soluble stabilizer for the task!

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    1. Yes, that water soluble stabilizer certainly does the trick!

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  4. I agree that darts gives an outfit more shape as in the black dress I just completed. Thanks for sharing this tutorial.

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    1. Yes, that black ponte dress fit you beautifully! You are welcome.

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  5. This is brilliant! Thanks for the clear tutorial!

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    1. You are welcome. Glad you liked it!

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  6. Great tips! Thanks for taking the time to write a tute :)

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    1. You are welcome! Hope you find it helpful.

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  7. This is wonderful! Can anyone help sewing a double-legged/fisheye dart in the waist of a knit dress/jacket/top?
    I'm a fb 35", hb 30", waist 24", hips 35". I'm a true hourglass shape. More often then not, the waist is too big. Due to my large bust and butt, I end up bagging out at the waist and looking pregnant!
    Oh, and that woman who makes Creative Feet (can't think of the site) has a wonderful product called Stick N Rinse. Check it out, my fellow seamstresses!!! AMAZING!
    Her Creative Feet are cool, but a pain to put on my Pfaff Ambition, but in all seriousness, just at least watch her vids; they're infomercial-like and I love that!

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