Darts Are Essential Shaping Tools

Greetings my lovely sew’ist friends – I write this on a Saturday afternoon and I hope that you are able to get in some personal sewing time for yourself over the weekend.

My post today is about my most favourite thing in the world of pattern making – DARTS …. yes I just love them.

And as I have just released a stunning new pattern – the Camelia Draped Jersey Dress – I am going to use the Camelia as an example.

The dress has darts in play to give it the wonderful contour needed to create its gorgeous shape.

The Function of Darts.

Darts are an essential tool for great fitting garments and allow the finished garment to fit and skim over the body without dragging or pulling.

Darts are essential in woven garments as the fabric has no give in it – so darts shape the fabric to your body – but did you know I love a good dart in my jersey/stretch base blocks also ?.

The above image shows you one of my base jersey blocks and you will see that I have both bust darts and waist darts in play. Now you are probably thinking to yourself – “Oh Ann why bother – jersey has a lot of stretch and it can contour itself to the body because of that”.

And my answer – yes it does stretch but it can also drag on itself and I don’t rely on the angled side seam to do all of the shaping for me.

Our body/torso is a somewhat rounded object so to rely on one stress point (side seam) to do all the shaping work can be fraught with fitting problems.

So let me explain further with some rudimentary body silhouettes as an example…..

The Roll of Darts in the Upper Torso.

The Upper Torso : Here is a basic image of my dart distribution. The only difference between the distribution of darts between a woven block and a jersey knit block is the dart value (width) and the back shoulder blade dart.

My darts widths vary slightly in my jersey block (slightly smaller due to negative ease built into the block) and I have also omitted the back shoulder dart in my jersey block – but I retain it in my woven block so I can achieve a nice smooth contour over the back shoulder blades.

As soon as darts are sewn into a garment you are creating contour and shaping in what was essentially a flat object.

Loading all the shaping just into the side seam doesn’t give me the fine tuning of fit that I like, especially when you have to consider you need a great deal of contouring over the front bust mound and down into the lower rib cage and then into the waist.

The Camelia Dress has all darts in play – side bust darts and waist darts.

In the above image you will see that to create the draped right side front I have used the darts to create the draping by folding the darts (as they would be sewn) that then create the folds.

That way I can retain the body contour that the darts give me but I have used their value in a different way.

The Role of Darts in the Lower Torso.

So let us have a look at the lower torso and why darts are also essential.

A garment must contour itself around the buttock, into the back waist – around the side hip curve – and also the front tummy area back into the front waist.

Fabric is essentially a 2D object that we mold into a 3D object with the use of darts.

The back waist generally has a larger combined dart value as it has a greater area to shape itself into – the front waist has a smaller dart value due to its smaller area of shaping back into its waistline.

Darts are easy to work with and are great fitting tools. They add value to your garment by giving you much needed shape and contour to your gorgeous curvy silhouette – I hope that you love darts as much as I do (:>

I trust that you have learnt something new today and you can add this to your fitting repertoire.

And I invite you to see my showcase of amazing pattern roadies that were part of the testing process for the Camellia Draped Jersey Dress. You will see how the Camelia shapes and contours beautifully on each of my gorgeous women.

And the details of Camelia Dress :

The Camelia Dress is for a sewing level of Confident Advanced Beginner and Above.

On Sale for a limited time only – $8.75 (US)
(AU/UK) 6 – 28
(US) 2 – 24
(EU) 34 – 56
Cup Sizes – B, C, D, DD


Lots of love to you.
Cheerio xx
Ann at Designer Stitch,


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