Sewing 101

RDP #39 – Dart


Middle English: from Old French, accusative of darzdars, from a West Germanic word meaning ‘spear, lance.’


There are so many meanings to this word.  However, my mind went to junior high home economics class.  Back in the olden days ( 1960-61) Home Ec, as we called it, was for girls only.  The guys took shop. I think they had more fun.

We were to learn to sew, cook, bake, and to do other home-related tasks. My mom had already taught my sister and me to cook and bake. We could both put a full meal on the table before we were 12. And no, it wasn’t child abuse or any thing close t it. We enjoyed it.  It made us feel useful and an integral part of the functioning of the family which, by the way, is  now referred to as self-esteem. I’ve had something to say about that whole concept over on my other blog.  In my counseling experience, I’ve observed that “poor self-esteem” often means that we don’t think other people think as highly of us as they should.

Anyway, back to Home Ec.  I wanted to learn to sew.  My mom was an outstanding seamstress, and was still doing work for people into her 70’s until her vision disallowed the fine work that was sometimes required.

So I was excited about actually making a skirt and blouse.  Just purchasing the fabric was wonderful!  All those pretty prints, and delicate whites for the blouse, were hard to choose from.  Finally I settled on a floral pink for the skirt and an embossed light white for the blouse.  Pattern, thread, buttons, zipper–good to go!

We did the skirts first, learning how to make box pleats.  Most of us actually came up with a wearable garment, and I was very pleased with my own.

Image result for box-pleated skirts

The blouses were harder.  We had to learn about facings, button holes, collars, sleeves, and darts.  You don’t see a lot of darts these days, in the age of tee shirts and other knitted tops.  Back in that time, though, a blouse needed to be shaped to fit the curves of a girl’s figure, and that’s what darts were for.

We made our darts along the sides of the blouse, more like this:

Image result for making darts in a blouse

I was quite pleased with the way my outfit turned out, but I suspected my mother had a few time-saving tricks I could learn.  She did, and I sewed my own clothes for many years, along with making a lot of the clothes my daughter wore.  I found it relaxing, and it also was a great money-saver at the time.

Darts were a normal part of the sewing routine. They are used anywhere you want shaping, and are used in pants as well as tops.  And that, my friends, is your sewing lesson for today 🙂

Sewing 101

10 thoughts on “Sewing 101

  1. Ronnie

    Oh God bless you, Linda! I admire and yet look in wonder and confusion at those of you who can sew! I’m pretty sure it was created by Satan. I hated Home Ec. with every fiber of my being and it didn’t help that I had a mean, nasty home ec. teacher who had no use for me (and several other girls) and made made it abundantly clear! I remember when we had to make our first real “garment” – we could do whatever – I picked a sundress. I struggled, but really tried. I was really struggling with the bottom hem. My Gram, who could show, talked me through it, but I did the whole thing. When my teacher graded it, she wrote an A on my paper, but then wrote in the side, “Did you really do this yourself?” Talk about discouraging a person! Ugh! God bless you gifted seamstresses!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My teacher was a sweet, feminine, lady-like woman who always spoke in a gentle tone and never lost her cool. I really like her, but I just didn’t identify with her 🙂


  2. I was so thankful when elastic waists and gathered yokes replaced darts! “Fitted” was “out” so we didn’t have to fuss with them anymore. But almost twenty years ago more fitted styles came back in. Easy enough if you’re slim. 😦
    These days fashions are all over the place. Looking through a pattern catalogue a few months back, I think I saw every fashion I’ve ever worn at any time. 🙂 I’m doing a “princess line” bodice on the dress I’m sewing now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I was in jr high, we too had Home Ec and Industrial arts, and I took and enjoyed both, and that is where I learned to sew, where I would have never been taught elsewhere. Looking back now though, I think it was useless that we learned to make ash trays in IA, though I loved the wood working part and making shelves. I learned how to draft in IA which I could still apply to other things in life today. Sadly, schools are lacking in teaching kids life skills, such as cooking, and they are going out into the world not knowing how to make even a basic meal, unless they get into culinary arts!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed your post so much, thank you! My mom taught me how to sew, I mean, even Barbie doll clothes use to have darts. I stopped sewing when fabric became more expensive than “ready to wear” clothes

    Liked by 1 person

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