Learn how to add back darts to dress for a better fit! This alteration is great to make your dresses fit better and add shaping in the back.
Ready-to-wear clothing is made to fit an average woman that doesn’t really exist. Sometimes you need to make simple alterations to your clothing to make them look like they were made for you.
This simple sewing tutorial teaches how to add back darts to a dress. This is one of the sewing and alterations you can do yourself!
What is a dart?
A dart is a triangle sewn into fabric to take it in and provide shape. It’s a way to take in fabric and keep a sleek and smooth look. It’s commonly used around a bust, waist, and hips.
Why use a dart to pull in fabric?
A dart is a great way to reduce the amaount of fabric in one area. You sew in the fabric to be tighter, but then it’s pressed flat so that it doesn’t create that much bulk in that area. Gathering or elastic pulls fabric in, but it can create bulk where you don’t want it.
Learn all of these alterations you can do to a dress:
- How to add back darts
- How to take the waist of pants
- Cinch a waist with elastic
- Make a dress longer
- Add sleeves to a dress
- Raise the neckline of a dress
How to Add Back Darts to a Dress
- Sewing tools
- safety pins
Put the dress on. Find the smallest part of your middle in the back. This may or may not be your waist. I find it helps if I bend side to side at my middle to help me find where I bend and where I am the smallest.
Safety pin out two equal sections on the back of each dress.
Mark the top and bottom of the dress with a marking tool. Mark where the dart gets kind of smoothed out.
Transfer the markings to the inside of the dress. The amount of the two darts might be slightly different so choose an amount that’s average of the two.
You will be creating two diamond shaped darts with a center line. Your dart might be uneven depending on the dress and your shape.
Fold the dart at the center matching up the outside points of the diamond. Pin the fold in place.
Sew the darts. Start by sewing from the center point of the dart and out towards the bottom point. DO NOT backstitch but leave a long thread tail. Flip the dart over, start sewing from the center point out towards the top point. DO NOT backstitch but leave a long thread tail.
Do the same to the other dart.
Tie the thread tails into square knots. This is how to finish the thread without backstitching.
If your darts are really deep you might need to clip the center part of the dart. This is expecially true for woven fabric.
Press the darts towards the center of the dress.
- Sewing tools
- Marking tool
- Sewing machine
- Put your hand on your thinnest place in the back. It may or may not be where your waist is. I find it helps if I bend side to side at my middle to help me find where I bend and where I am the smallest.
- Using both hands gather the excess fabric into two pinches on both sides of your back center.
- Pin the deepest part of the dart at your waist with safety pins. *Make sure you still have ease and that you can get the shirt on and off.*
- Pin where you want the top and bottom of the darts to end. This is about where the fabric smooths out. My darts ended at my armpit and 3" from my hem.
- Take off the shirt and mark where you pinned. Take the safety pins out.
- Measure the darts and if the amounts are different then find the average.
- Measure the same distance from the side seam for each dart and mark. Draw the fisheye shape.
- Sew the darts, but don't backstitch at the point. Leave thread tails and tie in a knot.
Draw your darts in before sewing.
Don't backstitch at the end of the dart.
Do tie knots with the thread tails at the end of a dart.
Start in the middle of the dart and sew towards the ends.
Press the darts towards the middle or center for the most flattering look.
Use a pressing ham to press the ends of the darts.
If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!