Long time, no post! Funny how life gets in the way of things. Between now and my last post (eeek, March!), I passed my Qualifying Exam in school (hooray!), did a bunch of traveling (for work and otherwise), and… I bought a sewing machine!!! And not just any sewing machine, oh no. I got a Bernina. Ohhhhhh Bernina, how do I love thee? It’s an Activa 210, the basic model but quite the robust piece of machinery. I am in love with it. You know how I fall in love with my crafts, ahem. : )
Anyway, I started working on a red polka dot dress right after my exam. At this point it’s all put together, and I’m currently working on fitting and finishing. Today’s post: DARTS! My first-ever darts on my first-ever dress. How exciting! Disclaimer: I have no idea how to sew darts. Really. So, in lieu of actually looking up how to do it properly, I figured out a way that works for me and my perfectionist tendencies. Enjoy!
Step 1: Choose your dart. In the photo below, I’ve already sewn the dart on the top, and I’m getting ready to tackle the lower one. This is the upper back of the dress, by the left armhole. I pinned the dart with safety pins by simply pinching the fabric while wearing the dress (easier said than done with only 2 hands). Note to self: I really need a dress form.
Step 2: Start replacing the safety pins with regular sewing pins. I stuck the pins into the fabric as close to the “fold” of the dart as possible, and I made sure to crease the fabric really well before the pins went in. The crease will turn into my sewing line later, and the pins will hold the dart in place as I remove the safety pins.
Step 3: Turn the dart inside-out. I removed the safety pins and turned down the top piece of fabric from the photo above, exposing the ends of the pins. You can see the crease (sewing line) along the length of the dart.
Step 4: Change the direction of the pins. Ahh, pinning twice! I told you I don’t know how to do this properly, but this method was working pretty well for me. : ) I very carefully pulled out the pins one by one and changed their direction, eliminating some of them along the way. Now the top row of pins (seen below) lies exactly along the sewing line. I used the bottom row of pins to create a flat surface around the dart, reducing any pulling and bulkiness at the sewing machine.
Step 5: Sew the dart! I sewed right along my sewing line, pulling out the pins as I went. Without fail, my pins were facing the wrong direction (heads toward the needle instead of away) in every single dart I sewed tonight. Hahaha, one day I’ll learn, I promise. : )
I must say, sewing these darts tonight was quite a thrilling experience. Good thing this dress needs a lot more fitting, so I have plenty more darts in my future! Next up though: finishing the armhole. I’ve made my own bias tape and will attempt a professional-looking bias-tape armhole… another first for me. So much to learn…
Any ideas on how to actually sew darts the proper way?