Dakota Sewalong - Sewing Darts, Centre Back & Side Seams

This is the moment you've all been waiting for Dakota Sewalong-ers. Today, we actually start stitching...eeeeep! Needles and thread at the ready please, because we're going to tackle the bodice!

First, we're going to sew all six of our darts - one on each front bodice piece and two on each back bodice piece. For this, I'm going to direct you to Tilly's excellent tutorial on sewing darts the 'correct' way. As always, I'm going to show you my way...which could be considered technically 'incorrect', but works well for me. Just don't use this 'method' if you're working with particularly unstable fabrics as they may pucker.

Anyway, begin by lining up your dart legs and pinning into place. Mark the tip of you dart with a pin, making sure you go through both layers of fabric.
Pin the rest of your dart making sure the middle (white) line is central and that your pins run through your dart leg (pink) markings on both sides of your fabric.
Now this is where I go off-piste and do things a little backwards. I like to start stitching from the tip of my dart, because I can get nice and close to the edge of the fabric. I leave my pin marking the tip in, manually lower my machine needle, take said pin out and then make the first few stitches. At this point I also backstitch to secure the tip of my dart. I know this is considered a huge 'NO-NO', but my darts never feel robust enough if I just tie the ends off...so sue me ;o)

Once you've stitched all six darts using your preferred method, give them a good press on both sides. Press your front bodice darts towards the centre front and your back bodice darts towards the centre back.

Onto the constructing the bodice next! Lay your back bodice pieces next to each other, right sides up. Flip the right bodice piece onto the left one, so they are right sides together. Pin and stitch the centre back seam.
We now need to finish the centre back seam - Sunni has a great roundup of basic seam finishes and Tilly beautifully explains French seams. Because I'm a little lazy, I favour the overlocker for finishing most of my seams. To avoid bulky seams later down the line, press your seam open and serge each side separately. Then give it all a nice press again. 
Your back bodice should now look like this. Pretty!

Our final step today is to sew the side seams. Lay your back and front bodice pieces down just like below, right sides up. Now flip the front bodice pieces onto your back bodice, right sides together. Pin and sew your side seams, finishing them with your preferred method and giving everything another good press.

And we're all done for today! Below is what the wrong side and the front of your bodice should now look like.

I hope this has been easy and clear to follow, but if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! And tune into Rachel's blog tomorrow and Friday, for a comprehensive look into constructing the shawl collar...exciting times!


  1. That fabric is bloody gorgeous!!!! You have me gripped and I'm not even sewing along. If Vicki hasn't sold out of this heavenly fabric I'm going to get some too!

    1. Thank you SO much Amy, really appreciate your kind words! Hopefully people will find these posts helpful in the future too! And honestly, this fabric is THE BEST! So, so beautiful and such lovely quality and feel. I honestly can't recommend it enough and I'm not usually even a crepe fan ;o)

  2. I think you can manage to sew a dart whit no 6 The Marie if you take a little scrappiece and starting to sew through that and whitout cuting the thread continuing to the tip of the dart! But you maybe tried that already...