Darting a Shirt by Tapered Menswear. Arrows showing where darts are on the back of a mens dress shirt

Darting a Shirt

Darts in the back of a mens shirt is a contentious debate. Many insist on them while others wouldn’t go near them.

In this blog we look at everything on darting a shirt - what darts are, why they’re useful and the real solution on helping your shirt fit before exploring the need for darts.

Shirt darts

When it comes to slim fit shirts they are made in a more subtle way, they're cleverly shaped than a regular dress shirt allowing for a closer fit around the body.

Those who oppose the dart in the dress shirt argue that it makes the shirt look like a women's blouse.

The folding of the fabric can look effeminate. Not only this some don’t like the difficulty it can cause to iron. But whether you like them or not, darts serve a purpose - to create a better fitting shirt 

White Tapered Fit Shirt

Darting a Shirt:

What are Darts

Darts are seams that are sewn into the back of a shirt. Typically 2 darts of .75” are added together to remove a total of 1.5” of fabric.

Darts are similar to a crescent shape. They start small at the top, gradually become wider then decreases to more narrow again.

The placement of the dart is just below the armpit down to the bottom of the shirt. They are their widest point around the midsection. 

What do Darts do?

The main purpose for darts is to remove excess fabric from the lower back of a shirt. The lower back of most men curves inwards. Therefore, removing this portion of the shirt fabric can help the shirt follow the body shape more naturally.

Darts are perfect for those frustrated at excess fabric pooling around the midsection. Sick of excess fabric around the waist? Check out our collection of  shirts that are fitted to the waist right here.

How to get a shirt to fit in the waist. Darting a shirt floral shirt

Pictured is our White Tapered Fit Shirt. Our signature TAPERED Fit has enhanced darting creating a perfect fit.

Click Here to Shop Better Fitting Shirts

When Should a Shirt Have Darts?

Essentially, shirts need to have a dart to enhance the fit of a shirt, particularly around the waist and lower back.

Whether you are skinny, muscular or heavyset, you may need to succumb to the dart. But depending on your body shape may affect your decision.

For a slender individual having a larger shirt will warrant having dress shirt darts put in. The dart will enhance the fit around the body.

On the other hand if you are heavyset with a larger sternum and the shirt doesn’t have darts, it might not be a great idea to get darts to enhance the fit. But if there are darts in the shirt already, they can be removed for a more relaxed fit

How Do I Use Darts?

Adding darts won’t necessarily make the shirt slimmer. It keeps the midsection the same width when measured flat. To achieve a closer fit using darts, you need to lower the width of the midsection with darts.

It is recommended that to reduce fabric around the lower back, to lower the midsection dart width by .5”. 

Shirt Tailoring 

Darting a shirt, DIY tailoring

How to Dart a Shirt

Traditionally darts are used or altered by a tailor when enhancing the fit of a shirt. But it is possible to do this yourself. 

Check out our other article on how to alter a shirt to slim fit. Learning this skill not only saves tailoring costs and time but it can be a satisfying accomplishment when it’s mastered.

Here is a step by step guide:

How to Sew Darts in a Shirt

  1. Lay your shirt flat, preferably an ironing board as it’s sturdy and you can position the shirt easier to construct the darts. Pinch the material in two places. First where your waist will be and second a couple of inches from the seam. Start with folding a couple of centimetres and iron that patch flat. The fold should be folded out towards the seam. When you pull the material it will start to form a small crescent shape. For best results start your dart 7 inches from the seam.
  2. Keep the folds in place using two or three pins.
  3. Try the shirt on to see how the shirt fits, if it’s reasonably more fitted around the waist area. Be careful with the pins that they aren't pointing inwards.
  4. If any adjustments are required, simply lay the shirt flat again, fold the material to your desired fit, this can be more or less. You can even adjust the crescent below or above to narrow the body of the shirt.
  5. Once you are happy with your folds in your darted shirt you can start to stitch them in place. Make sure the stitching is the same colour as the shirt and the stitching is done on the inside so that the stitches aren’t shown visibly on the shirt. 

Pros and Cons of Darts

Although darts do serve a purpose, there can also be some disadvantages with having darts put into your shirt. 


  • It simply helps your shirts fit better. Having to shop around for better fitted shirts isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s just easier to take your shirt to a tailor and have them make it fit better for you.
  • After washing and wearing for a while clothes start to show hang and pull lines. Darts help to remove these marks by pulling the fabric tighter.
  • Darts can be easily removed. So if you find yourself fluctuating in weight, you can simply remove the darts to adjust better for your body.


  • Darts can be applied to every shirt. But some are more difficult than others. If you have a patterned shirt this can be particularly challenging as it may disrupt the pattern. So much so that it might not look like a mistake in the original manufacturing.
  • Ironing becomes more difficult. Once your darts are sewed in the folding on the inside can take a while to iron perfectly.


Click Here to Shop Better Fitting Shirts

Shirt Darts vs Side Seams - What's the Difference?

Shirt darts and side seams both provide shape to a shirt, but differ in their application and function.

Darts are folds sewn into the fabric, typically located in the bust and waist area to provide a fitted silhouette. They are more prevalent in women's clothing, providing space for curves.

Side seams, running vertically along the shirt's sides, essentially hold the front and back pieces together. Their shape can be straight or contoured to provide fit.

While both contribute to fit, darts offer a more tailored, body-hugging shape, and side seams define the shirt's basic structure.



So now we know everything there is to know about darting a shirt. The main purpose of darting a shirt is to enhance the fit of the shirt and rid away that frustrating bagginess around the midsection.

But what about a shirt with enhanced darting providing en even better fit?

Navy Tapered Fit Shirt

With the introduction of TAPERED fit shirts, men now have the option for shirts that are fitted, but have enough stretch to provide comfort for all day wear. A perfect fit for a V taper physique

Our TAPERED™ fit has been developed by leading Tailors and industry experts to provide you with a revolutionary fit, you won’t ever need to take your shirt to a tailor again or give lots of different measurements.

Perfect for those seeking a muscular fit, or bespoke tailoring - ready to wear! Designed for athletes looking for a perfect muscle fit shirt, considered the best shirts for a muscular build. 

Our Tapered collection also includes muscle fit t-shirts and muscle fit polos.

Our revolutionary cut provides a 10" drop from chest to waist.

Fully fitted in chest and shoulders whilst tapering sharply down, giving a tailored look. No more bagginess in the waist.

Enhanced Darts

Expertly tailored darts at the back, for the perfect fit.

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Stretch Cotton

Super soft, breathable and allows complete freedom of movement.

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Perfect for the office. 

With our non obtrusive logo stitched subtly on the wrist makes our TAPERED Fit Shirt ideal for formal occasions.

Tapered Fit Shirts are the true solution to your shirt fitting problem. If you want a shirt that fits your body like it should, check out or best selling shirt here