Sewing Darts | a quick and easy Tutorial with no hand sewing

How do you feel about sewing darts?
They've always given me a sort of apprehension so as I began working on the Vintage Simplicity 5882 skirt.....
.....that has 8, count 'em 8!.... darts, I applied a new-to-me technique that I'd like to share with you today.   You can see there's 4 in the front....
.... and 4 in the back.  I'm at the point of putting on the waistband today.
Maybe I should first ask.... how do you sew your darts?  I'd always learned that you begin stitching at the edge of your fabric sewing to the dart point, shortening your stitch length to almost nothing at the dart point to lock it, leaving long tails then hand-stitch/hide the tails into the body of your dart using a hand-sewing needle.  Like this tutorial from Blueprints for Sewing where she also includes the anatomy of a dart, dart set up and her tutorial/technique.  Please know I am absolutely not discounting this method at all, simply wanting to share a new-to-me method I found helpful.
As the dart construction stage of my skirt was rapidly approaching, it was pure serendipity to find a handful of Nancy Zieman's books at my local thrift store, each priced at a mere $1.00.  I snatched them up without even looking at them as I knew these would be great resources to have.  So it was only when, back at home, I was thumbing through the books to see what goodies they held, I came across Nancy's technique of sewing darts using only your sewing machine in "The Best of Sewing with Nancy" book below.   It certainly captured my attention with no hand-stitching/hiding those thread tails.  May I pause for a moment here and say how much I miss Nancy.  She was such a great lady.
She calls her technique "Durable Darts" and teaches you to sew off the dart point 1" to 2", forming a chain thread, then backstitch/lock stitch it back into the body of the dart to secure.  Cut your threads and you are done.  Super easy, super quick and no puckers.  And no hand sewing.
I've modified her technique a bit..... more because I was so excited to put in practice, I neglected to read all the details.  ;)   So here's what I did:  Begin at the fabric edge, stitch toward the dart point and as you near the dart point, narrow your stitch length to the tiniest stitch length for the last few stitches.  Stop as you stitch off the fabric and re-set your machine to a more normal stitch length.  Now stitch maybe 3-5 stitches 'off' the fabric forming the little chain.  Stop, then back-stitch your little chain into the body of the dart and snip the thread tails, as you can see below.  That's it... You are done!
I even put together a little video this morning to show you, using a sample dart.  Hope this makes a little more sense seeing it in 'action'.
And recently I shared a few of these photos and information on Instagram and was surprised at how many folks, even long-time sewists, had never heard of this technique before, so that made me feel it might also interest some of you.  What is wonderful about this hobby of sewing, is that there are many different ways to put a garment together.... but most of all to always embrace a love of learning.
Happy Sewing All!!  :)


  1. Yes, this is a new to me technique. Although some dim memory is stirring that I may have seen this years ago when I was not sewing (too much work). There are just so many methods, often depending on fabric too. I mean this method would not work on chiffon, for instance. And for very robust fabrics I backstitch...sshhh, don't tell anyone!

    1. No worries your little secret is safe with me. And..... only recently on those robust fabrics you speak of, and particularly if it's not a bust dart.... I've been backstitching too. :)


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