I hate making tailor tacks or marking my fabric with chalk/texta so here’s the ‘minimal effort’ way…
1. Whilst cutting out
Whilst cutting pattern pieces out, snip halfway in to the seam allowance at each dart leg. Be careful not to cut too far, or you will have a hole in your garment when you stitch it.
2. After cutting out
Use an awl or (as I have here) an unpicker to poke a hole 2-3mm from the end of the dart. You want something that will push the fibres aside, not break them otherwise you will pull threads and things will get ugly.
3. Making up
Fold the dart with right sides together, matching the snips. Stitch dart from the raw end, finishing just after the small hole you made. Back stitch to hold in place. Make sure you finish after the hole and that the hole is enclosed.
4. Checking it out
Open up the dart and see if it looks smooth to you. If you want to re-do it, do it now. You may wish to make it slightly curved to get a better effect. The idea is so it fits your body curves.
Only when you are happy with the shape of the dart, should you then press the stitching. Press either side and then press out on the right side. Remember pressing is not ironing, it means holding the iron in one place. Pressing melds the stitching which makes it harder to unravel and unpick – hence, check the fit/shape before this stage. Finally press dart from the wrong side, putting the folded fabric where it will make the least impact.
If you’d like to learn more or see other methods: