Here I am writing another post about darts... My obsession aside, the importance of darts in dressmaking is essential to grasp both as a sewing beginner as well as an advanced dress and pattern maker. While my previous tutorials focused on understanding the structure of darts and how to sew them, today's post will shift its attention to dart logistics. Perhaps, it will answer some questions you've often asked yourself in your own sewing process.
I'll walk you through all the concepts below, but if you landed on this page desperately looking for a detailed tutorial on transferring and sewing darts, check out this oldie but goodie: Everything You Need To Know About Darts In Sewing.
The video tutorial above should give you a better visual on how to correctly pin and sew single pointed darts which go hand-in-hand with some of the concepts discussed below.
The Importance Of Darts In Garment Construction
To understand darts at their core, you have to understand why they are so essential in garment construction. A dart works to convert fabric from flat to 3-dimensional. While darts are very simple triangle-like shapes, the architecture relies on the dart vanishing point- the point where both dart legs and the middle fold line meet. Check out the image below for some visual clarity on these three elements.
So how does such a simple shape mold to the human form? Dart points radiate to some of the highest points on the body. They take in the excess that extends to these points gradually and smoothly. Darts are conventionally added the curviest areas of the body. Naturally, that is the bust, waist and hip areas. The dart's widest part always corresponds to the slimmest portion on the body, while the vanishing point blends into the wider areas. The best example of this concept of course are bust and front waist darts which regardless of how they are positioned on the bodice, will always have vanishing points radiating to the apex- the highest point on the bust.
Keeping this logic in mind, you can shift the dart excess anywhere on the bodice as long as this point of gravity remains the same. Side note: this rule is perhaps the most basic yet widely used in pattern drafting. Following that same logic, back darts, whether single pointed or double pointed (contour darts), gravitate to the highest points on the upper back. Below the waistline, dart vanishing points are aligned with the widest/highest areas of the hip. In the back, dart vanishing points will blend into the highest point on the bottom.
Following a very simple concept, darts are able to adapt to the organic shape of the human form, adjusting to any body type and size in a very simple fashion.
In the design and pattern drafting process, darts are also important landmarks for moving excess around. For example, a basic blouse pattern with darts can be easily converted to princess style by re-directing the dart’s excess to the seams. If darts aren’t present, you wouldn’t know exactly how much excess needs to be taken out at each princess seam. That being said, they are an essential part of basic blocks which are simple sewing patterns used for generating new patterns in a variety of styles and sizes.
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