I love french darts. I think they are so flattering and add some visual interest beyond the standard side dart we see in most blouses. But I know the French darts can be a little intimidating as the construction is slightly different than your standard dart – and includes cutting. Does anyone else get a little nervous about cutting sometimes? It has a feeling of permanency to it – like if you make a mistake you can’t come back from it.
But honesty – it’s not as scary as all that. I promise. After this tutorial you should feel super confident to tackle your own french darts, like those in my Dove blouse sewing pattern.
Even though we are talking about French darts today – i think it’s worth mentioning, that for any V neck blouse like Dove, the very first thing you should do is stabilize the neckline to prevent it stretching out whilst you sew. I actually forgot to do this right away (tisk tisk!) so half some of the photos in this tutorial will including staystitching, and some won’t. So first up – staystitch just under ¼” (0.6cm) from the raw edge around the Front neckline and Back neckline to prevent them stretching out during sewing.
After cutting out the blouse and along the dart cut lines on the pattern, I recommend marking the dart point with a pencil or washable fabric marker. An easy way to do this is to use an Awl or pointy pencil to push through the dart point marked on the paper pattern. Then lay the paper pattern on the wrong side of the cut fabric and mark the dart point with a pencil or washable fabric marker.
Line up the raw edges of the darts on the front of the blouse and pin carefully along the length of the dart all the way to the dart point which you previously marked with a pencil. Sew ¼” (0.6cm) from the raw edge along the dart tapering in to the dart point. Leave your threads loose at the dart point and tie them off rather than backstitching.
Finish the raw edges of the darts by your preferred method. This may include overlocking, zig zagging, or hand overcasting.
For this blouse i used a narrow and short zig zag stitch. That is my preferred method as it’s easier to control how much fabric you take in the stitches.
Press the darts down towards the waistline and you’re ready to sew the rest of the blouse!
Here’s the full list of Dove tutorials:
- How to sew French darts (covered in this tutorial!)
- Side seams and centre front seam
- How to sew Neckline facings
- Three ways to sew finish the raw edges of a facing
- How to sew flared cuffs
- How to set sleeves
- How to hem flared sleeves
- How to sew a hemline facing
Don’t have the Dove sewing pattern yet? Get it in store here! We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNdove and @megannielsenpatterns if sharing on social media.