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How to Sew Back Darts

Learn how to sew back darts to get the best fit on your top or dress. It’s a simple way to pull in a waist.

I finished this woven tee in the middle of the summer and liked it except I realized after putting it on that the back was pooling. One way to get rid of the pooling to a woven top that is already finished or a RTW woven top is to add two fisheye darts to the back.

It’s a little tricky to fit yourself, but it’s definitely possible. I’ll do my best to show you how I added back darts to this striped woven tee.

how to sew back darts

The shirt on the left is before the darts were added and the shirt on the right is after the darts were added. Adding darts is definitely a personal preference. Some people like the looser fit or the looser fit is more flattering to their body type.

I am mostly a rectangle so I need the appearance of waist definition for it to be flattering. What I love about the woven tee with a fitted back is that I get bust definition, front tummy skimming, and back waist definition.

adding back darts

This is one of the sewing and alterations you can do yourself! Check out these other ideas:

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.

How to Sew Back Darts

How to sew back darts:

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.

back darts

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.

Tips for sewing fisheye darts:

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 for the most flattering look.

Use a pressing ham to press the ends of the darts.

back darts

One thing I didn’t realize that back darts would do is that it gave me more bust definition without making the top that much tighter.

It made the woven tee fitted just enough to be perfect without it being restricting or too tight. It’s a great thing to add to any woven top you have like a button down shirt!

how to sew back darts

If you make something using this pattern, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

how to sew back darts

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I’m wondering … what to do with the long strings , top an bottom of darts?
Thanks in advance!

Guess what I found!

How to Sew Darts

Perfect reasoning.. I’m sorry I missed your suggestion up there!

This tutorial will be really useful for my whole family’s clothing!

Can I ask you to explain why we don’t backstitch at the end of the darts (where we instead tie a square knot). And also, do we back stitch at the start of each line sewn (the center of each triangle/dart)?

Thank you! I’m new;)

Thank you for providing such useful information. I’m not sure if it’s going to work on my current project but I’m saving all of it!

Thank you for this information! I just completed the darts in my work shirt, and what a difference. I will be doing this with the other 7 shirts, it looks great and very easy!

Does putting back darts in an already constructed garment move the side seams so they are no longer at the sides? My daughter bought a really nice dress and wants me to take up the back a bit, and darts will work, but I’m afraid the side seams will pull towards the back and not be straight up and down?

Thankyou for providing this tutorial – it’s very clear and I love the way your T-shirt looks with the darts! Will be giving this a go.