Claire Shaeffer Shares Her Tips to Balance Darts

Recently I wrote about eliminating darts. Sadly, this is not possible for all figures and fabrics. When you cannot eliminate a dart, it will be less noticeable if you balance it. Balancing will eliminate a ridge at the stitched line when the dart is pressed to one side.

This handsome Linton fabric is double faced and would make an attractive unlined coat or jacket.

There are three methods for balancing the dart:

(A) Slash the dart open
(B) Press the dart flat
(C) Use a separate strip


A. Slash the dart open (Dart 1)

The simplest method for balancing the dart is to slash the dart open. This method is frequently used on lined garments in home sewing; and it’s suitable for most fabric weights. The primary disadvantage is that you cannot slash all the way to the dart point.

1. After stitching the dart, press the dart flat.
2. Slash the dart at the centre, stopping about ½” from the point.
3. Press the dart open, pressing the point carefully.
Claire’s Hint: I insert a very small knitting needle into the point when pressing.

B. Use a separate strip (Dart 2)
Use a fabric strip to balance the dart. The strip can be an interfacing fabric or self-fabric. When used on unlined garments, the self-fabric is better.
1. Baste the dart.
2. Cut the strip 1 in. wide and 1 in. longer than the dart; it can be on the bias or straight grain.
3. Mark the centre of the strip.
4. Align the dart stitching line with the marked line on the strip; baste, if needed.
5. Machine stitch the dart; and press it flat.
6. Press the dart to one side and the strip to the other.

C. Centre the dart and press it flat (Dart 3)
This neat method is used in couture on unlined garments.

1. After stitching the dart, thread trace the fold at the centre.
2. Press the stitched line flat; pressing carefully to avoid pressing the fold.
3. Align the thread tracing at the dart centre with the stitched line.
4. Use short basting stitches to sew the dart centre to the stitched line.
5. Press the dart flat.


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