Basic sewing terms Sewing seams by monkey6


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									SW Sewing Basics



Page 85

sewing basics



The recommended fabrics – use fabrics listed as they have been tested. The amount of fabric needed for each size, including any contrasting fabrics Any ‘notions’ or haberdashery required Finished garment measurements (sometimes on the tissue pieces); these can help you decide which size to make. Some patterns have a lot of ‘ease’ built in, so will appear quite big, others are close fitting and have little ease allowed. The different views (garment styles) – including line drawings that show placement of zips, buttons, seams and darts etc. Again, an indication of simplicity of construction. Read the instructions – read through the instructions from start to finish before you begin. Highlight the pattern cutting layout you need to follow (so you don’t inadvertently start following another if interrupted). Follow the layout carefully, folding fabric as shown and placing pattern pieces as shown.

are to be placed on the fold of fabric will have a line with angled arrow heads and ‘place on fold’ along it. Again, ensure the fabric is folded with selvedges parallel so that the straight of grain is still true. Ham – a pressing ham is literally a firmly stuffed ham shape with curved edges. It is useful for pressing shaped curved edges and darts. Similarly a sleeve roll is used to press sleeves without leaving creases along upper arm. Interfacing – a layer of fabric or specialist material that is put between fabric layers to add support, strength and stability at waistbands, collars, cuffs, facings etc. Use an interfacing that corresponds with the main fabric, lightweight with lightweight etc. There are fusible and sew-in interfacings. If using fusible, PRESS, not iron – place hot iron on interfaced piece, hold for min of 10 secs, lift and reposition. Allow to cool completely before stitching again. Pattern notches – these are the triangular markings on the pattern edges that are used to match up fronts to back, collars to necklines, waistbands to waist edge etc. Cut OUT around notches rather than into the seam allowance to prevent unnecessary fraying. Follow the guidelines and cut double or single notches as shown as these all help with matching pieces together accurately. Pressing – this differs from ironing in that you don’t glide the iron back and forth. Instead it is lowered onto the fabric, held, lifted and lowered again. Press seams from the WRONG side. Only press from the right side when the fabric is protected by a press cloth. Press cloth – any cloth that is used to protect the main fabric from the iron. An organza is a very good press cloth – it withstands a hot iron and is transparent so you can still see what you are pressing. TIP: ALWAYS press a seam before stitching over it again. Failure to do so can result in bulky seams that never lay flat. Pressing will flatten the seam, embedding the stitching. Seam allowance – the fabric between the stitching line and the raw edge. This is used to prevent the seams splitting open as the fabric is pulled and stressed. The seam allowance must be neatened to prevent fraying. To do this either pink with pinking shears, overcast/zigzag stitch, turn edges under and straight stitch or cover with a binding.


TIP: If pattern instructions seem to jump from view to view, highlight all the steps you need to follow for the view you are making so you don’t miss any.

Basic sewing terms
Basting or tacking – big straight, running stitches used to temporarily hold fabric layers together. These can be done by hand or machine. If hand stitching, use a contrast colour thread, so it can be removed easily later. If machine stitching, select the largest stitch length possible. Bias – the bias or bias cut is the most stretchable part of the fabric. It is 45 degrees to the straight grain. Fabrics cut on the bias hang nicely, swing and drape beautifully. However, they may also stretch unevenly, thus hemlines can drop. Seams stitched on the bias may ripple. Try stretching the seam very slightly as you stitch and then press carefully to iron out any ripples. Clipping and notching – seam allowances (see oposite) are clipped or notched at curved areas so that when they are turned through, they will lay flat. Clip inner curves by snipping up to, not through stitching, with diagonal snips. Notch outer curves by taking little wedge shaped cuts from the seam allowance (see diagram opposite).

Sewing seams
Straight seams – choose a stitch length to suit fabric 2-2.5 for lightweight; 2.5-3 for medium; 3-3.5 for heavier fabric. ALWAYS test on fabric sample, with same interfacing and layers. Zigzag seams – use a small zigzag (or stretch stitch) on stretchy fabrics so that the seam stitching can ‘give’ with the fabric. Darts – these are used to shape garments to the contours of the body. Sew carefully from widest part, tapering to point and then fix or lock the stitch – do NOT back stitch. Press to set stitches, pressing over a HAM if possible (curved edge) so the dart is pressed in shape. Grain line – this is very important. The grain line is printed on the tissue pieces as a straight line with arrow heads either end. This line MUST be parallel to the selvedge of the fabric so that the piece will be cut on straight of grain. Pieces that French seams – this is particularly good for transparent fabric where the seam allowance will show through if an ordinary straight seam is used. Start by stitching fabric WRONG sides together, taking a 1 cm (3⁄8") seam allowance. Trim to 3 mm (1⁄8") then turn through so RIGHT sides are together and press with seam on edge. Restitch, in the same direction, taking a 6 mm (1⁄4") seam allowance which encases the trimmed raw edges. A French seam is the perfect choice for transparent fabrics or those where the inside will show

Make sure the straight grain line is parallel to the selvedge

March 2007 85

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