Wednesday, January 29, 2014

TUTORIAL: Balancing a dart



Balanced dart is another couture technique I used in my Gucci-inspired dress. It is not difficult and results in a perfectly flat seam with the bulk distributed equally on both sides of it.

This technique is required only when you work with fabrics that create noticeable bulk in darts. It was described in a few sources, such as Threads magazine, Claire Schaeffer’s books, as well as in a few vintage sewing books. I think, however, that the best method for a balanced dart is demonstrated in Thomas von Nordheim’s Vintage Couture Tailoring.

To do a balanced dart you will need only a bias strip of self-fabric, long enough to extend beyond dart tips by approximately 2.5 cm (1").

Why bias? A strip cut on bias is more (a) flexible and (b) doesn’t ravel as easily

Now, before I demonstrate a step-by-step technique, let’s talk how the dart should be prepared for a flawless result. You can mark the dart using tailor tacks or basting stitch (called tacking in tailoring). I thread-traced the dart because it stabilizes both layers: fashion fabric and underlining.You should also mark both dart ends by thread tracing. This is called balance mark.  


BASTE THE DART

Baste the dart using preferably different color basting thread and using shorter stitches. At this point you can remove thread tracing (it will be easier if it was done in a contrasting color), but leave balance marks.



MACHINE STITCH

Place a bias strip of self-fabric under the dart fold, with the dart width points aligned with the strip center.



Machine stitch the dart  through the strip, starting on the strip, and, then, hitting the dart at the balance mark and following the basting dart. Finish the stitching the same way, stitching through the dart point and finishing on the strip of self-fabric. This method will not only allow you to avoid backstitching, but also makes it easier to get accurate dart points.  


PRESSING

From the wrong side, softly press the fullness of the dart to one side, and the two layers of the self-fabric strip to the other. Now, the dart bulk is distributed equally and there is no bulge on either side of the seam. Don’t press from the right side yet, because the dart needs to be finished


FINISHING




At each dart end, clip into one layer of the bias strip, creating a half-arrow shape ending at the dart end. Fold over the clipped portion over the dart. Trim excess fabric, so the widths of the dart and the strip approximately match, grading the seam allowance of the bias strip, so the width difference of the two edges is about 3mm.



FINAL PRESSING

Give the dart final press from both sides of the fabric. On the right side, press through a self-fabric press cloth to avoid marks. 


The image above shows you the darts pressed over a tailor's ham. That's it. 

21 comments:

  1. hallo Marina,
    wäre es dir möglich, das ins deutsche zu übersetzen.
    einerseits wollte ich das schon immer verstehen, aber nie so richtig verstanden habe.
    andererseits könnte ich auch selbst zu deiner Seite verweisen, da in Deutschland solche Wissensschätze einfach fehlen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ich werde es in den kommenden Tagen versuchen. Schoen von dir zu hören :)

      Delete
  2. Thanks for such a clear tutorial. I see you have basted the darts for pressing but do you then catch- stitch the arrowhead shapes to the underlining?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I removed basting for the final press as in the middle dart. Even though I use silk thread it still leaves an impression, which can be removed by pressing it again. You can tack the arrow head ends loosely to underlining, there is no need for a lot of catch-stitching,

      Delete
  3. Nice tutorial. I am making a collarless coat with back neck darts. Would you balance them with the coating fabric, or something somewhat lighter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nancy, it depends on the fabric you use. I would do a sample, or two, trying different methods: a traditional dart (without balancing), balanced dart, and an eased sample (where you steam out the excess fabric). The latter is the best method for the back neck darts if your fabric allows it, not all wools shrink equally well. If your dart is not deep, you may also combine shrinking with some center back seam shaping... Are you using facing for your neck, or lining it to the edge? For my dress, I eliminated neck darts on the facing to reduce the overall bulk, which adds up to insane thickness on medium and heavy weight woolens.

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post Marina :) I've pinned it here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/154318724705792087/

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