Monday, January 16, 2012

Brilliant Basics: Darts

I've heard quite a bit about imperfect darts--how they're puckery and sometimes nippley.  But honestly, darts aren't that hard.  And I had quite a few in my 1950s toddler slip.  Part of that was my decision to line the slip instead of mess with bias tape because even with the darts, it's easier.  I had eight darts to take care of on a slip for a three year old! Darts are, essentially, a way to shape fabric so that it fits closer to the body.  In the case of my project, I really think it's more for show than anything.  Darts are also one of the few things that I insist on ironing before sewing anything else.  I find that you can skip a lot of ironing that sewing manuals say you need (my grandmother was a professional seamstress and rarely ironed anything!).

So you've transferred your marks, and pinned the darts.  The next step is to sew 'em.  I've done it from both directions, and to be absolutely truthful, the results look better if you start from the fatter side of the dart.  ;) But I had two little girls who wanted Aunt Laura to pay attention right then and none of the other four adults that were here would do!

 Be sure to leave long tails of thread on both sides, because you'll need them for the next step.

Once the darts are sewn in, the next step is to tie and clip the thread tails.  I usually go with a square knot, but a surgeons knot works exceptionally well.

After this, you have to iron it.  This will smooth out your seams, and can even help correct the tops of your darts a little if you've messed it up a bit.

 The ironing is really the last step.  I mean, you have to watch when you're sewing to keep everything where you've ironed it, but otherwise, you can move on in constructing your garment.

And after sewing up the rest of the slip, here's the result--a full skirted 1950s slip to go under Bit's dresses! (The 50s half slip, the crinoline slip, and the does-this-make-my-butt-look-big panties are under it in this picture, too.  Evie calls it her "ballerina dress".)

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