Sewing Slow

 

I’d hoped by now we’d have announced our fall line release — we’ve got big dreams for these new dresses, and we’re trying a few new things we’re really excited about! That said, the new techniques mean new challenges for us. So, instead of rushing through, we’re going to take the time to Do it Right.

Take these collars, for example. We’ve done collars before, but not many — and silk charmeuse is a critter with its own ideas. And, since white is not a terribly good color for hiding what’s underneath, I suspected that the seam allowances hiding inside the collar would show through (which is just sloppy form!) So I whipped up a quick practice collar to see if I was right or not. Sure enough, there they were.

To help hide the seam allowances, I added an interlining (an extra layer of fabric, which you never see in the finished garment). In this case, the interlined collar not only hides the seam allowances, but also makes the collar smoother and more stable (silk charmeuse can be very slippery). If you could feel these two collars, I’m sure you could tell the difference! Interlining is also called ‘flatlining’, and people often interline for stability or to change the way the fabric behaves. It’s rarely used in home sewing, but it’s one of the techniques that makes professional and couture level sewing so distinctive.

Clipping and grading also take more time, but they’re essential techniques in controlling multiple layers of fabric. Here you can see the edges ‘graded’ — trimmed away in varying amounts to reduce bulk. Grading makes an edge smoother and flatter, reducing the dreaded ‘lumpy edge’ effect!

Clipping is especially important on curved edges, since you’re trying to make the seam allowance either expand (as in a concave curve) or shrink (a convex curve, as in this case) when you turn the item right side out. If you don’t clip, whatever you’re making will buckle or pull — and, needless to say, look terrible! Here I’ve cut notches out of the seam allowance because it’ll have to fit into a smaller space, once the collar is turned. Of course, cutting into a seam allowance does compromise its strength — but if you clip or notch the multiple layers at slightly different points, it’s stronger than you might think.

 

Whew. Hope that wasn’t too technical for you! Anyway, we’re taking the extra time to do the job right — and I think you’ll see it when we present the finished dresses =)

 

Melinda

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