Darling Ranges sewalong: how to add darts to the back bodice

This is a last minute addition – but as I was making my samples for the sewalong I realised this might be an interesting and super easy variation.

As people have been making their Darling Ranges dresses I’ve noticed a couple have been leaving off the ties at the back so they can more easily belt the dress. The downside, is that the dress is designed to be used with ties, so it was created with a lot of easy in the back – which means leaving out the ties can result in a less fitted – bordering on baggy – dress.

So i thought why not show you all how to add darts to the back of your dress to make it more fitted if you decide to leave off the ties? Awesome right? I think so.

Please keep in mind that  the exact measurements and position of the dart i show here can’t be taken too literally. The specifics will probably differ for different sizes and body shapes – so this like anything, is intended as a guide. Those closer to the higher end of their size bracket will need to smaller darts – those closer to the lower end of their size bracket will need larger darts. Each dart will probably be somewhere between 1-2 inches wide at the base.

The first thing you want to do is consult the finished garment measurements on the back of your envelope or instruction booklet. Take the finished waistline measurement and minus your body waistline measurement. This is how much ease is built into the pattern. I decided I wanted my dress snug around the waist, so I eliminated all but 1/2″ of ease. I wear a size Small and have a 28″ waist – so for me that left 2″ of extra ease that needed to be eliminated with darts – two 1″ darts at the waistline.

I placed the first dart leg 2.5″ from the centre back of my pattern, and extended up so that my finished dart would be 6″ long.

Add extra pattern paper

Fold the dart, and true the waistline by trimming in a straight line

And here is your final pattern piece with the back dart!

  • Don’t forget that this dart placement is based on my body and personal preferences. You may not like darts as long as this and also for sizes larger than S you will more than likely want to place your dart further along towards the side seam.
  • Also, please keep in mind that this method is only intended for the Darling Ranges, since it has so much ease built into the back piece – if you are wanting to add darts to a different pattern, you will need to slash and spread your pattern to add in the dart.

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  1. Cheryl says

    If we opt to take darts in the back bodice, should we reduce the width of the back skirt to cut down on bulkiness, or will easing it into gathers be sufficient?

    • MegMeg says

      Hi Cheryl!

      Nope, no need to reduce the width of the back skirt – easing it into gathers will be perfect.

      If you left the bodice as is and followed the pattern in it’s current form then the back of the skirt would end up with less gathers than the front – this is intentional, as then you can use the ties to tighten up the back and that gathers the skirt more.

      So if you leave out the ties and remove the ease in the back of the bodice – then you only need to gather the skirt more in the back to match the width of the new bodice. You should end up with a gather ratio similar to that of the front of the skirt.

      i hope that helps!


  1. […] Back darts! I absolutely love and adore the ties at the back of this pattern…it’s one of the things that drew me to it in the first place. But…they just don’t work for my lifestyle I wear my dress mostly either to church or to university, and at both of those places I spend a lot of time sitting down. I find that the knot on the ties really digs into my back whenever I lean against the back of a chair, and that gets seriously uncomfortable seriously quickly. It was even worse the one time (I learn fast ) I took a backpack to uni. So, no more back ties for me . […]