Double French Darts: How to create them

Naomi is getting into the flattering effects French darts create.  She recently made a top using single French darts at the side seams.  Encouraged by the results, she asked me how double French darts are created.

The pattern transformations that follow are from “The Custom Touch” by Mary J. Wadlington, published in 1981 by Gem Publications.

I recommend practicing on 1/2 or 1/4 scale pattern diagrams first.




Note:  In some of the diagrams Mary leaves the vertical bodice dart and the skirt dart open.  I have not used her system so I’m not in a position to say if this is good practice or not.  My own experience has taught me that if a dart intake is not closed and integrated into the style line there will be a bubble or excess fabric looking awkward when the toile is created.

In the patternmaking system I learned, the vertical waist dart is closed and integrated into the bodice style line.  The skirt dart is closed first and the flare created.  Then the skirt is taped to the bodice with the vertical dart closed.  The style line is created and then the paper pattern is cut.






12 thoughts on “Double French Darts: How to create them

  1. I’ve made French darts (although I didn’t know they were called that) but I’ve never used two and it looks really interesting. I like the way it integrates skirt and bodice in your example. So much to learn..

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    • I’d love to make a simple A-line dress with these side French darts. In the 1970s there was a trend for such dresses in the early part of the decade. They were often sleeveless and worn with gorgeous silk scarves that sometimes were held in place with a large, gold tone jewelry pin.

      I think the style fell out of favor because after some time late 1960s and early 1970s clothing looked too much like “cookie cutter” clothes. Meaning a bit too fitted and requiring undergarments that shaped the body like girdles and padded bras.


  2. This is really interesting. I have sewn French darts before (although I didn’t know that’s what they’re called until I just googled it!) but I didn’t know you can sew a double one like this. I am intrigued how it would look on an item of clothing, I bet it gives a great look!

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    • It does! No matter what your shape it is very flattering. What I do recommend is experimenting by using a toile. You have to figure out the best height up from the waist, as well as how much space between the darts.


  3. I recently made a blouse from an original 1930s that had these as a feature. I had no idea what they were called but they looked lovely, even though they were a bit lost in the busy print.

    Liked by 1 person

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