A French dart is a bust dart coming from the side seam pointing upwards, it is not a straight dart but it is shaped one.
This is an example of a French dart sewn in a linen blouse.( you see the inside of course)
Sewing a French dart is not difficult but needs a bit of extra care due to the way the dart is placed because the dart is not on the straight of grain lengthwise or crosswise, it can stretch during sewing and handling like pressing. The dart needs a reinforcing to stay in shape.
A way to prevent stretching this French dart out of shape is to add a lightweight piece of stay-tape to the stitch line.
If you do not have the light weight polyester stay-tape you can also use a piece of lining cut at the cross or lengthwise grain or cut a bias cut piece of lining which you steam press and stretch during the pressing so it will not grow anymore.The advantage of using a bias cut lining it will not fray, like a crosswise or straight of grain will do.
Place the tape for reinforcing the dart at one of the dart stitching lines and sew the dart from the widest point (side seam) towards the end.I did placed the stay tape at the seam allowance which is the one heading towards the center front.
The next step is pressing the dart open till about ½ inch (1 cm) from the top, the point can be pressed open by using a toothpick which you can insert at the point, press the last ½ inch with the toothpick inside the point over a pressing ham or the end of the ironing board.
It will depend if the garment will be lined or not and what kind of fabric you use to decide how the seams are going to be finished.
For example if your garment is a blouse or dress and will be unlined and your fabric is a light to medium weight you can finish the seams by serging both seam allowances together.Press the dart downwards.
If your garment will be lined no finishing is needed, or if your fabric does fray easy using your pinking shears to stop the fraying.
To my dear sewing friends,
I told the Sewing Divas earlier this week, but I want to announce it here as well. Many of you may be aware that I have signed on with BeSewStylish.com as Contributing Editor, which is a thrilling assignment, and I’m honored to have been offered the job. Because of that, I realized that I can only blog so much, and I have to give up something. Alas, my membership in The Sewing Divas is what I must curtail. I will still be blogging actively, both at Gorgeous Things, as well as BeSewStylish. But I will bid my sister Divas a fond adieu, and I will join the ranks of avid readers. Please, keep on sewing, and always chant to yourself, “La Sewing Diva, C’est Moi!”
Diva Ann inspired me to do this dress. Notice Ann’s version (scroll down a tad on her blog) has black-white-turquoise-orange zizag points going up on the center front panel, whereas mine are going down - does this mean anything? I have no clue. But that’s what I love about sewing; two sewists can use the same fabric, and the same pattern, and do two completely different things with it.
I know I’m really late to the party with this pattern – there are 25+ reviews on Pattern Review - but now that I’ve made it I really have to say that you should run right out and buy it; it’s a classic. The drafting is excellent and the style is universally flattering; my only quible (which I repeated on PR – Big 4, R U listening?) is that I wish pattern companies would mark the waist on every pattern piece - it’s SO annoying - changing the waist length is the most basic of all pattern alterations (especially for a petite like me) and I hated having to plot the waist on a style like this that has four bodice pattern pieces.
The fabric is a polyester knit from Gorgeous Fabrics, it’s light as a feather and skims the body perfectly. This is the black-white-brown-green-yellow colorway and I love it because it reminds me of mint chocolate chip ice cream (my favorite!) I’ll be taking this dress with me when we go on our vacation later this sumer – it doesn’t wrinkle, and the rolls up into a shape so small it fits in my hand.
The lines of this style provide a fun opportunity to play with the intersecting pattern pieces on a directional printed fabric such as this, but because of the way the pattern is designed, I knew I’d never get the pieces perfectly matched matched all the way around the dress.
So I had to make a decision to use the fabric design to either showcase the back or the front. I chose the back, and as for the front – all I did there was decide how I wanted the zigzag of the fabric to fall down the center panel from the waist down. I didn’t worry about the upper front bodice. As you can also see, the gathered side drape will cause the upper bodice to be off-grain, so the design emphasis was all in the back and the lower part of the front panel.
Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy and cold, but hopefully I can wear this to work sometime this week!