How to Sew a Perfect Dart

Darts are used to create shaping in a garment - they are a handy method for transforming two dimensional fabric to fit a three dimensional body!  Darts are commonly used for bust or waist shaping, but can also be used to nip in the back of a top or dress, or even to shape a garment over the shoulder.  

Here, we demonstrate how to add bust darts to the Scenic Top.


  • Pattern pieces (we're using the Scenic Top Front pattern piece)
  • Fabric marking pen/pencil
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Pressing ham (optional - free pattern to make your own here)


Sewing a bust dart

1.  Mark the dart points and the dart leg notches on the wrong side of the fabric.


2.  With right sides together, align the two dart leg notches, and fold the fabric to form the dart.  Press the dart. 

The iron in the photo is a wooden toy - please use a real iron!


3.  Using a washable fabric pen, mark a line between the notches and the point.  This will give you a guide for your stitching. 

4.  Pin the dart and sew along the line.  Here are some tips:

  • Start at the side edge, backtack, and sew towards the bust point. 
  • Do NOT backtack at the point (backtacking creates more bulk in the seam, which can create a lump on the outside of the garment).  
  • Try to sew off the edge of the dart point in a smooth line and leave a long thread tail.
  • Reduce the stitch length when nearing the point. 


5.  Tie a knot in the thread tails at the dart point.  Be careful to avoid pulling the knot too tight, which can cause the fabric to pucker.  

6.  Trim off the excess thread, or use a needle to thread the tails into the dart before trimming off. 


7.  Press the bust darts downwards.

8.  Press the dart on the right side over a tailor's ham gives a beautifully smooth finish.  The dart is so smooth it barely shows up in this photo!

That's it!  Be sure to check out the Twig + Tale blog for more resources about custom-fitting darts to your body (linked below).  

Read more Twig + Tale sewing tutorials here: