My foolproof way to baste a dart ensures that the dart legs are aligned when I sew them. I first mark the darts and then baste from the wrong side of the fabric starting at the point of the dart. I take the first basting stitch and then cross under the dart and take the next stitch up through the opposite leg, and continue stitching back and forth as shown in the drawing at right. A ladder of stitches forms on the right side of the fabric. When I'm finished basting, I close the dart by pulling the two ends of thread at the same time.
-- Leona Butchart
Adapted from Tips department, Threads magazine, April/May 2005 (#118), p. 14; Drawing: Carol Ruzicka.