Thursday, March 13, 2014

Darting a Confession

I have a confession to make:   I never (actually: no longer) mark darts in any traditional way.

There, I've said it  --  let the guilt of non-compliance and the fear of social reprisal set in.  [You know that neither of those keep me up nights, don't you?]

I, like most sewists, was taught to transfer the darts, and, indeed, all markings from the pattern tissue to the fabric via tracing paper and wheel.  If, like me, you truly mourn the destruction of a pattern that you love and intend to re-use; then, likely you have thought:  "there's got to be a better way."  In fact, there are several.  Here are some that I have considered over the years:
1) Fold back pattern tissue to edge of dart/pleat/tuck/fold/etc. and mark with dressmaker's chalk.
     Well, gee  --  that doesn't sound difficult, time-consuming, or potentially inaccurate at all, huh????
2) Same method with dressmaker's pencil instead of chalk.
    Same comment applies.
3) Trace the pattern, transferring ALL markings to more durable pattern-making material, and mark that up as you please, saving the commercial pattern for re-drafting ad infinitum.
     Many sewists do this.  One of whom I am related to by blood. {and isn't genetics amazing??}.  If there are many alterations to the pattern needed, or design changes desired, or, if the pattern is likely to be shared by several friends/family members, then this is a very good option.  If more than one of the above-mentioned criteria apply, then this is the method I recommend.  I don't do it, mind you  --  but I recommend it.  I find that this gets very expensive very quickly.  Some see the expense of  pattern drafting materials as protecting the investment in commercial patterns wise.  Considering the ever-increasing cost of patterns that nearly always require some alterations, I can see the point.  I, however, abhor the extra expense, and the need to store yet more pattern.  I nearly always hack up, fold down, or otherwise make the commercial pattern work!!
There's another reason I broke with tradition.  Other than basic rebellion, I mean.  Commercial patterns  are designed/engineered primarily by CAD (Computer-Assisted Design).  This means that darts, etc., are marked according to exact mathematical precision.  This is great if your body is proportioned according to exact mathematical precision, but perhaps you are normal?  If so, you might need the back dart on the left side a little deeper than the right.  Or longer.  Or curved.  Transferring those lines off the tissue don't seem such a good idea, now, do they?  Marking (with pins) only the beginning and terminus of the dart allows you to get the precisely the dart you want.  Isn't custom-control part of the reason you sew your own clothes?

4) Don't mark the fabric at all.  Just pin the dart/pleat/tuck you intend to sew.  Here's how:

With the pattern still attached to the fabric, place a pin at the head of each side of the dart (the dotted lines on the pattern).  Place another pin at the bottom of the dart, through the paper and fabric.

Fold back the pattern, and place another pin across the stopping point of the dart.  [BTW:  the very tip of a dart's point on the bodice of a woman's blouse is, professionally referred to as:  'the bust point'.  Why is it, that even women can't admit that breasts have nipples???  I do not understand this.  But, I digress  .  .  .]

Remove the pattern.  Bring the two vertical pins together, and pin the fabric together at this point, removing one pin.

Stitch the dart.

And here, I must make another confession:  I don't sew darts the way I was taught to anymore, either.  (and 6 generations of my family's women just spun in their graves, accompanied by Clothing & Textile teachers from High School and College)

I, like most of you, was taught to stitch darts from largest end to smallest (the point), back-stitching at the beginning, and tying-off the threads at the point.
Firstly, why are you backstitching the stitches that are made into the seam allowance??  Don't waste the time or the thread.  Hold the lose threads at the beginning of your stitching, and have at it!
Second, the point:  okay  --  tying off the threads works, but if the garment's fabric is sheer, they will show through.  ICK!  Here's what I do:
Begin at the wide end, yes, then as you close in on the point (you just pictured a nipple, didn't you?), reduce your stitch length poco a poco, ending with the tightest stitch your machine will do.  That stitch is secure, and you can lop off those threads right at the point.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. I found this kind of some excellent fabrics from Spandex Collection in NYC near me which was a nice weight, not too beefy.