Sewing & Pattern making Terms


Darts are essential elements in the world of garment construction, used by pattern makers to create shape, contour, and a customized fit. They are triangular or diamond-shaped fabric folds that are strategically positioned and stitched to sculpt fabric around curves, providing shape and enhancing the overall silhouette of a garment or clothes.

Purpose and Importance of Darts

Darts serve several purposes in garment construction, including:

  • Shape and Contour: Darts are used to shape and contour fabric around the curves of the body, such as the bust, waist, and hips. They create a three-dimensional form, allowing the fabric to conform to the body’s natural contours and enhance the garment’s fit and style.
  • Tailoring and Fit: By removing excess fabric at specific points, darts help achieve a customized and flattering fit. They allow garments to mold to the body’s individual measurements, minimizing excess fabric and ensuring a more polished appearance.
  • Style and Design Details: Darts can also be utilized as design elements, adding visual interest and unique features to a garment. They can be positioned creatively to create intricate patterns, textures, or directional lines that contribute to the overall aesthetics of the design.

Dart Placement and Design

Dart placement is a crucial consideration when designing a pattern. The location, length, and width of the dart are determined by the desired shape and fit of the garment. Common dart placements include:

  • Bust Darts: Positioned from the side seam or waistline towards the bust point, bust darts shape the fabric to accommodate the contours of the bust area, providing a more tailored fit.
  • Waist Darts: Typically found at the front and/or back of a garment, waist darts create a tapered waistline and define the natural waist, accentuating an hourglass figure.
  • Hip Darts: Placed at the side or back of a garment, hip darts shape the fabric around the hip area, accommodating the curves of the body and ensuring a smoother fit.
  • Shoulder Darts: Occasionally used in garments with shoulder shaping, shoulder darts provide a more tailored fit around the shoulder area, improving overall garment proportions.

Dart Construction

To create darts, follow these steps:

  • Mark the dart: Transfer the dart markings from the pattern onto the fabric using tailor’s chalk or fabric markers. The markings indicate the starting and ending points, as well as the width of the dart.
  • Fold and pin: Fold the fabric right sides together, aligning the dart legs precisely over the marked lines. Secure the fabric layers with pins to ensure they stay in place during sewing.
  • Stitch the dart: Sew along the marked lines, starting from the wide end and tapering down to a point, following the pattern instructions. Maintain even stitch lengths and backstitch at both ends to secure the dart.
  • Press the dart: After sewing, press the dart flat to set the stitches and achieve a smooth finish. Pressing towards the center or towards the side, as indicated in the pattern, helps reduce bulk and creates a clean dart shape.

Darts are versatile tools in garment construction, allowing pattern makers & designers to shape fabric and achieve a customized fit. By strategically placing and constructing darts, garments can be tailored to enhance body contours, provide a flattering silhouette, and showcase unique design details. Understanding and mastering the art of darts empowers creators to achieve professional and personalized results in their garment-making endeavors.

Got Questions?

Melissa Villegas
Pattern Maker &


Melissa Portrait

Villegas Patterns

Recent Patterns

Need A Tutorial?

For detailed and in-depth instructions, watch my pattern tutorials on YouTube