Making Darts
(printout 3 pages)

The tiny darts we work with for doll clothes can be hard to sew exactly the same length on both sides of a garment. I believe my method does help make that a little easier. I have given you plenty of darts on the skirt to practice on, but the main reason for all the darts is because the hip shape of the 22" Am. Model doll causes the hips to stick out slightly at the top and the double darts make the skirt fit smoother over the hips than a single dart on each side. The natural waistline of the doll is slightly below the waist articulation line.

The waistband of the skirt is made to fit the natural waistline of the doll with just enough give to be able to tuck in a blouse when the skirt is finished.

Start by cutting out the pattern then pinning it to fabric. Cut out a skirt front following the cutting lines exactly, even a small amount of difference in cutting can affect the fit when working with a pattern that is made to fit perfectly. Before removing the pattern, make small clip marks through the pattern and fabric at the top of all four darts on the dart side lines. The dart center line will be your fold line leading you from the clip marks down to the point of the dart which will be precisely marked with a pin.

Once you have clipped the darts you may remove the pattern from the cut piece.

Now we come to a problem that occurs when working with fabric that looks exactly the same on both side such as the bleached muslin we are using for this learning exercise, or lining fabrics. Which is the right side and which is the wrong? You will want to determine that before going on to sewing in the darts.

Using a square hem corner pull the corner gently on the bias. The fabric corner will curl over to point at the wrong side of the fabric. Mark that side with a pin so you know which side of the fabric to sew the darts. The reason it is important to determine the front from the back is that that fabric yarns have a 'memory' which always makes it want to naturally curl towards the wrong side. It makes it a lot easier to sew and especially to hem fabric if all or part of it isn't fighting to curl the wrong way.

Mark the wrong side of all the skirt pieces with pins so you have no trouble later on.

* 1. Sew all the darts in the skirt front and back. Press the darts towards the side seams.

To sew the darts, the point of each dart needs to be marked.
The easiest way to do that is to make a pin hole in the pattern at the point of each dart.
Lay the skirt front wrong side up on top of the pattern and line up all the edges precisely. Pick up both the skirt and pattern and hold them up to a light. You should be able to see the light shining through the pinholes you made in the pattern and can then mark them on the skirt front with the point of a pin. Your sewing machine light is bright enough to use for this step. You can push the pin through until the head of the pin is up against the fabric. That makes sure the rest of the pins stay in place until you sew the darts.
Fold each dart at the pin point and match up the two clips at the top of the dart. Sight an imaginary line from the clips to the pin. That will be your sewing line. If you think you may have trouble sighting that imaginary line at first, use a ruler and draw in a pencil line from the clip to the pin after you fold the dart. After sewing a few of the darts you will have the correct angle in your mind and you won't ever have to draw in another line.
This may all sound a little complicated, but it takes much less time to actually do than to read the instructions.
Clip and mark the skirt back darts the same way, not forgetting to mark the wrong sides of each piece with a pin.