Misc Pattern Tip: trim darts

On an entirely unrelated note other than that this is a blog and I therefore must post the obligatory cat-picture, below you’ll see an impediment to my productivity. Actually, his name is Right (his littermate’s name is Left). Right likes to help with pattern projects. Colita is my usual helper but she only does sewing.


If you’ve ever thought to look at the darts -especially bodice darts- on better quality ready-to-wear, you’ll notice the darts are sewn and the excess fabric (from the fold line of the dart) has been removed. Contrary to the statements of others, the sewers do not sew the seams and then trim the fabric away to match. If a stitcher did that -or had to do that- either the stitcher or the pattern maker should be fired, the latter preferably. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh but you get the idea. Stitchers aren’t allowed to trim anything. They are only allowed to clip seams and corners. They shouldn’t have to do it either, they’re not paid for cutting when that could have been done most accurately by the cutting department. The trimming of that dart best serves everyone’s interests if the pattern was cut with the excess removed from the outset. If the pattern has not been trimmed accordingly, the fabric subsequently then the darts are not trimmed away after completion by the stitchers either. That’s why lower value goods don’t have darts trimmed out. If the pattern maker didn’t do it beforehand, it certainly is not done later.


Many darts are merely prefunctory; these days they rarely seem to be shaped at all. However, if you’re making better quality goods, those dart lines are following the contour of the body. You may think it doesn’t matter much either way but I recommend trimming away shaped darts because the shaped seam line ends up being significantly longer than the line of restriction -in other words- the uncut folded edge -being shorter- is restricting the expansion to shape of the sewn curved lines. The seam allowance on darts should be 3/8″.

On a somewhat related note -sewing and what not- a customer sent a parcel of materials to be used in her project and unfortunately, I did not recall the mention of these stim toys


and consequently, disarmed by their magical appearance, I spent entirely too much time wearing them, playing with them and making them clink against each other over and over and over. These are lightweight hollow aluminum, 3″ in diameter. While these are nice noise-toys, you’d think she’d have marked the package with a shipping warning plastered all over the carton: Danger, Stim Toys!

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  1. Gigi says:

    Kathleen, I assume you mean excess fabric is removed in lined garments only. If I’m mistaken, is the raw edge of the dart serge-finished in unlined garments?

  2. kathleen says:

    Hi Gigi
    Yeah, serge that edge off but still, the line is shaped. For the serge to follow the curvier line, it’d have to be trimmed out at the outset.

  3. Gigi says:

    Thanks, Kathleen. That’s what I’ve done on washable fitted dresses and such. I guess I never noticed it in RTW because I don’t do much RTW shopping. I really should because it’s so educational. BTW, I love your “helpers”. I often wonder why creative people and felines gravitate toward one another. I have four – sometimes it’s hard to accomplish anything, as you know.

  4. Theresa says:

    How does a cutter trim out a dart like this when cutting the stack? If it is a two ended dart that is within the garment it would seem impossible to do. Is it done by hand after the marker is cut and before bundling?

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