Fitting

8 Types of Darts You Need to Know

Darts are an essential part of garment construction because they allow flat fabric to take on a shape that will fit the body well. A dart is a folded wedge of fabric that is tapered and stitched down to give shape to a garment.

There are two main components of a dart: the point, also known as the apex, and the legs, which start at the widest part of the dart. The dart legs are the two lines that are brought together to create the fold of fabric that is stitched. Darts need to be sewn in the correct direction, from the widest point of the legs to the apex, to ensure they lay flat and press well.

Darts are found primarily in women’s clothing and are meant to fit the contours of the body in a flattering way. They serve a functional purpose first and foremost, but darts can also create style lines in a garment to accentuate and enhance a design.

8 types of darts you should know

A View of Darts

Suzy Furrer demonstrates the use of darts in a garment in her patternmaking class

1. Plain darts

The plain dart is the most common type of dart that you will see in sewing and is usually found around the bust, waist and hips. This type of dart can be manipulated and altered to make different design elements that still function just like a dart such as princess seams and pleats.

Bust Darts on Blouse - Craftsy

Photo via By Gum, By Golly!

2. Bust darts

Bust darts usually start the side seam of a garment and end near the apex of the bust in order to make the bodice of a garment more formfitting.

French Darts, Drawn and on Blouse
Photo via Colette Patterns

3. French darts

French darts are a type of elongated bust dart that start at the side seam, down near the waistline, and end up near the bust point.

4. Other types of plain darts include shoulder darts and neck darts

These are used to add a feminine shape to a garment that might look boxy without that shaping. Think of the difference between a man and woman’s blazer. Waist darts are also simple darts that are found in pants and un-gathered skirts.

Dart Tucks on Blouse

Photo via Colette Patterns

5. Dart tucks

Dart tucks are a variation of darts that are constructed much like a standard version but the points are left open. The open ends give a pleated appearance, which adds a softer look to billowy pants and blouses.

6. Elbow darts

Elbow darts are seen more in couture, tailored jackets and allow you to have a more fitted sleeve with room to move. When you hang your arms loosely at your sides, you usually keep a slight bend at the elbow, and the elbow dart accommodates that natural bend.

Double-Pointed Darts on Dress

Photo via Colette Patterns

7. Double pointed darts

Double pointed darts are just like having two darts joined together at their widest ends, with one point toward the bust and one toward the waist. Double pointed darts are used to give shaping to the middle of a garment like in a dress or fitted jacket.

Pattern with Curved Darts

Photo via Craftsy Instructor Suzy Furrer

8. Curved darts

Curved darts are used when the straight line of a basic dart does not provide enough contour to fit your shape. Curved darts can be stitched slightly concave or convex depending on the shape you need to fit.

25 Comments

Nikita Ghodawat

awsem due to this page I lernt more…………………

Reply
Linda Lim

Hi, I have a pull up skirt (no zip). There are two darts on the left and right side of the skirt and the other side was plain. May I know which is the front of the skirt, the one with the darts or plain side. Please advise. Thank you.

Reply
novice

If it is a form-fitting skirt, I would guess the darts are there to taper the waist and allow a bit more room at the back for one’s bottom. That would mean the darts go on the back.

Of course, the length of the darts might be a hint–if they are short, they are probably meant for the backside. If they are long, they may be meant for the thigh & hip area. Good luck!

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Linda

I just finished a skirt with 2 darts in back & 2 in front the pattern was confusing (simplicity) because the one set didn’t come to a point on the pattern now I’m not sure they’re done right. Anyway to make matters worse the skirt sits 1″ below the waistline not sure I like that either. On the upside I figured out how to do a blind hem on my huskquvarna sewing machine.

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Ramatu

The plain part is the front of the skirt,while the darts stay behind to enhance or flatter your butt.

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Elizabeth

I would like to see some pictures of cutting in sewing. …

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Anita

i have to ware
Over size men’s collar shirts for work
How do I make them fit?
Wondering if I dart the wast ?
But then the shoulders will look really huge ~ please help

Reply
Sewer

1. It would have been helpful to have had a photo or drawing of every dart that was discussed.
2. The photos should have been placed under the headings, not above them. The article was hard to follow, especially in the absence of an illustration for every dart.
3. The reason for every dart should have been described. For example, what kind of effect does the French dart make? On what kind of body type or in what style of garment is effective?
4. Darts are used extensively in tailored men’s trousers and jackets.
5. Dart legs are referred to as “arms” by some people.

Reply
Darlene

I agree. It would be helpful to know why to use a particular dart. The curved dart looks tricky.

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Linda

I hate darts they’re tricky for me

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MC

Hello Hello I have a jacket I love . I have lost weight and want to put darts in the back of it.
I can’t find any advice online on how to sew darts into an already constructed garment or
in the back .
It is a stretchy velvet jacket , can you help?
thank you! mch

Reply
peaches

Hi MC, please how did you go about your weight loss? I need to shed some weight and burn some calories. Thanks

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Corine Sterling

If the back and front bodice are different length how do I line up the sides to stich; how will the waist line match

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Ene Tijjani

I have one problem with darts,I am always not sure of what measurements to take.Please,I need help on this.

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liana olivier

I had a fairly good pattern that I used to sew my tops and pants, but I now have lost
weight (40kg) and now all my clothes are miles to big for me. I also have quiet a big
tummy. How can I alter my patterns. Your help would be appreciates. Thanks Liana

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blessings maere

This is helpful

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Akosua

what is the importance of the bust dart

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marie

hi. one question about french darts. if i’m going to make a dress using such, is it ideal that there will be a cut at waist or is it ok if the dress if just straight?

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kathy

Peggy Sagers has a show on PBS, also she does youtube videos and a live broadcast every other monday (free). She worked in the sewing industry (High end) and is a huge proponent of darts. She explains them in detail, both the how to and the why. Google “Peggy Sagers, Silhouette Patterns, Inc” You won”t be sorry..

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Ms Mas

Your blog helps me a lot! thank you!!!!

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Aphia

Thanks very helpful

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Hidayah

Thank you for sharing!

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tg

Hi, I bought a shirt with 2 plain darts, and I really don’t like how they look. Is it possible to remove them with a seam ripper, or would that mess the whole thing up?

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Michelle

I really appreciated this blog post. I wanted to give some feedback though- it was very difficult to determine which pictures went with which text, in the entire article. I kept on thinking that the description was for the picture below, and then getting confused because maybe it’s for the one above the dart type title. If you could fix this, that’d be really great. Maybe the pictures could specify in the caption which type of dart that they’re referring to. Since this is written for beginners in dart world, I don’t think that this is unreasonable or a ###### question at all.
Thank you.

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Andrew

I am so lost. I am trying to make a tight fitted safety garment (long story); but my ankle to knee dimensions have small diameter ankles and significant and high calf muscle/volume.

I have a form of the leg piece that I have made out of masking tape; but I need to lay it flat on a transfer material to make a pattern that can be transferred to the final material. I simply don’t have the vocabulary to find directions for what I am trying to do. Everything I can find online turns into 3D software or a discussion like that above; where the 2D plan is already made.

I see that this post has had recent activity; can you please tell me where to begin looking for tutorials on this reverse engineering. I don’t know what to call it; so I have nowhere to know where to begin looking.

Reply

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