Christine Jonson Fitted Jacket / Blazer Sew Along Part Three: Cutting and Assembling Your Knit Blazer
by Christine Jonson
To me, the simplest way to sew a dart is to turn it into a seam. I first trim the dart out of the pattern tissue, then, on the fabric I chalk the inside of the dart. I cut out inside the dart leaving ¼” seam allowance and serge the new “seam”. I fold the fabric right sides together and put a pin perpendicular to the V at the end of the dart. This allows me to see where the end of the dart is when I am serging. I know I have approx. 1” to run off the dart and make a clean transition when I reach the pin. Just like sewing a dart with a single needle the left needle of the serger needs to run off the fabric. This does take some practice but is well worth the effort with the time it will save in marking. This method also eliminates the dart line from shifting while sewing.
Another great way to finish a dart is from “LizGo” on SewingWorld.com. After she serges the dart closed along the cutting line she single needle machine stitches next to the serging and finishes an inch below the serged end. She then checks the darts to make sure they all the same length.
Be sure of dart placement before using this technique. If you think you may need to adjust the dart after doing some fitting to the garment, especially a jacket, go back to the tried and true method of marking the dart line.
Jane from SewingWorld.com has this to say about serging darts. “At first I chalk marked the dart and sewed as usual on the sewing machine with a long stitch, then went to the serger and used machine stitching as a guide and had needles hit that line. After doing a number of darts this way I gained confidence and can now just serge the dart. Sometimes with slidy fabric such as velvet I now hand baste the dart then serge. The serged dart is very flat and the serging stitches enable the fabric to retain stretch so the character of the fabric is not changed. Now I serge darts on Polar Fleece and other knits as well as on Cotton/LYCRA. At the tip of the dart the serging catches the fabric only on the needle, the rest of the thread goes over air. Pull the thread ends to tighten them and tie off. It is so liberating!”
This technique works well on all types of darts. Concave and convex darts as well as “fancy” darts. French darts, which begin at the side seam and extend diagonally from the hip to the bust and Contour darts which taper upward toward the bust or back and downward toward the hip are both used to shape the waistline with out a waistline seam. Turning these darts into a seam helps maintain their shape and curve, which can get lost in the mark and stitch method. Seam darts also eliminate the need for clipping and reduce bulk.
Try this dart method on your next project and see for yourself how much easier darts are to deal with!