Bows into Darts. A Mini How-to

In the post before this one Holly commented that she’d love to know how I put the bows into the darts on the skirt I made for myself a few weeks ago (and as I’m always ready to avoid what I am really meant to be doing)  here is a mini how-to do just that.

1940’s style silk crepe Bow Skirt

-Basically the ‘bows’ are sewn into pair of parallel darts creating a centre strap effect. If you only have one front dart divide it into two darts. They can be very shallow. (when I do a more in-depth tutorial on drafting the complete skirt, I’ll show how to divide one dart into two) The darts on my skirt are 2cm apart and finish parallel to the centre front skirt seam.

– Stay-stitch a fraction inside the dart ‘legs’ and iron on a 2.5cm strip of light weight interfacing from the top edge to  2/3rds of the way down in the ‘strap’ area between each pair of darts. It will cover the stay-stitching you just did and be caught in with the final dart stitching.

– Make 2 pairs of bow ’ears’. These are simply strips of fabric bagged-out into a tube. No interfacing was used as they would probably have been too thick. The finished  dimensions of my ‘ears’ are 4cm wide and 4.5cm extending out from the darts. I coaxed each into a centre box pleat with some hand stitching.

– To insert: cut down the centre of each dart a few cms beyond where the bottom of the bows will be and carefully mark the planned top and bottom of the bow space. I found it much easier to insert the bows with the dart cut open so you can see how the ends of the bows are lining up with the dart.

– Fold each dart in half, wrong sides together as for sewing and sandwich an ‘ear’ in place matching up the stay-stitched dart legs very carefully. Baste and check how they look from the outside. I had to re-do them a few times to get them all level! Machine the dart closed as you normally would.

-Press the dart and bow seam allowances towards each other, grade the seam allowances as necessary. It didn’t look very nice on the inside… so I hand sewed a straight strip of fabric to the dart seam lines so all the messy bit are hidden and more importantly it keeps all the seam allowances facing the correct way and helps give a more defined ‘strap’ effect between the bow. I would still do that step even if I had lined the skirt.

you can just about see where the interfacing ended

Lastly I tacked the back half of the bows in place to the skirt so they didn’t flop or bend which was happening because of the heavy silk crepe this skirt is made in.

And there you have darts with inserted bows.

I made a little Dart&Bow how-to  for keeping if you’d like.

Later in Sept/October, after the French Knicker sew-along (I’m aiming for the second weekend in September for that but will announce it ‘officially’ very soon) when I do some skirt tutorials I’ll show more in-progress pictures of construction details like this one.

tack at back of bow

7 thoughts on “Bows into Darts. A Mini How-to

  1. Simply a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw great design .

  2. The bows are lovely. Do you have more pics of the process? I’m not sure how to proceed.

    1. No more pics at the moment I’m afraid….It wasn’t something I even planned on posting yet but in the post before this one a commenter had asked about how I’d done the bows. Those pics and the pdf instructions are all I could put together for now.

      Later in the autumn I intend doing a full tutorials, drafting and sewing on all three skirts.

      But if you can tell me where in my text description you are unsure of how to proceed perhaps I can clarify further?

  3. This skirt is just so gorgeous and I love the bows.I will have to have a go at this too!

  4. Thanks so much for that tutorial. I’ll definitely be doing this to a skirt soon.

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