Tag Archives: quality control

how to bind curves Stitching Rules

How to Bind a Curve

At some point in your sewing journey you’re going to want to know how to bind a curve – be it a neckline, armhole, quilt edge or even a seam. Curves can either be concave (like a neckline or armhole) or convex (like a corner or round item) Binding a curve differs from binding a straight edge in that the binding itself needs to be cut on the bias to flex enough to sit flat once finished. If you try to bind a curve with a binding cut on the straight of the grain it will not sit flat and you’ll hate it so much you’ll vow never to try binding again.

Here’s how to do it for a great result every time.  Start by finding the true bias of your fabric.finding true bias

Determine how wide your binding needs to be – keeping in mind that once you cut it the weave will cause the binding to become more narrow than you intended. Some fabrics will be worse than others for this – fabrics with a lot of movement in the weave such as chiffon, rayon or with a lot of drape will need to be cut wider to compensate. The black and white fabric below shows how much a bias strip will stretch once cut.bias stretch

It’s a good idea to trial a short length of bias to make sure its not too wide or narrow for your item. You can use the table below as a guide.

Bias Binding Cutting Guide

How wide to cut your bias strips to achieve a certain binding finish.
Finished width of bindingSturdy fabric
- little movement on bias
Fluid fabric
- lots of stretch on bias
Bulky edges
- when you have many layers creating a thick edge
 
6mm2.5cm3cm3cm
1cm4.5cm5cm5cm
1.5cm6.5cm7cm7cm

Join your binding, if needed, on the straight of the grain to distribute the bulk and to create a stronger seam.joining bias

Binding a rounded corner (below) – pin the bias strip along the edge of your work with NO stretching.  The main thing to remember here is to ease the binding onto the edge of the garment – this gives the binding room to stretch over the outer edge.rounded corner

Binding a concave curve (below) – slightly stretch the bias strip onto the edge of your curve. This will help the curve hold its shape and stop it from stretching and distorting.joining to front

There are a few ways you can finish your binding.

Hand stitching – best for when the binding is sewn on the front and turned to the back of the item. Will give a clean finish with no visible stitching.

Top stitched (below) – best for items that will be washed a lot as it’s the strongest finish. Sew the bias strip to the back of the item and fold to the front twice to top stitch. finishing a rounded corner

Stitching in the ditch (below) – no visible stitching on the front, while being a strong finish for washing.stitch in the ditch

Once you’re done a good pressing will get rid of any wrinkles and you’ll be left with beautiful flat binding.

Pop back next week and I’ll show you how I mitre the corners and join ends to create an invisible finish.

Sewing to sell How to be better than store bought

Sewing to Sell – How to Be Better Than Store Bought

Sewing to sell your creations at markets or online is tough and you need something to set yourself apart from the rest – especially from store bought clothing. Basically you should be aiming to be better than store bought. Consumers want to know why they should pay more than what they do at a department store – why is handmade better than mass produced?
To be cost effective, mass produced clothing has to be constructed in the shortest time possible. This often means certain steps are skipped, which can mean a less than perfect garment.
Here are a few of the common flaws seen in store bought clothing and ways for you to improve on that and make handmade the best it can be.Sew to sell   excess threads
An obvious thing like loose threads is something everyone has encountered in a store bought garment and is the first way you can improve. Get into the habit of going over your finished garments to clip all those threads.Sew to sell correct grain
Correct grain – take the time to ensure you’re cutting on the correct grain or you will run the risk of your finished garment warping – either as you finish or worse, after the customer has washed it. Pre-washing your fabric is good for removing the dressing from manufacturing, but make sure you hang it on the clothes line straight or you could be creating another warp.Sew to sell pocket facings
Pocket facings are used when manufacturers want to save cost on the main fabric, but sometimes they skimp too much and the pocket lining peeks out. If you want to do better – make sure your facings are deeper.Sew to sell twisted hems
Narrow hems are fine in the right application, but take care not to let them twist and ripple when ironing. If you keep a mini ruler at your sewing machine you can watch that your turning up stays parallel to the edge. For sheer and light weight fabrics, consider folding the edge twice and eliminating the overlocking all together.Sew to sell matching stripes
Matching stripes can be frustrating but is well worth the effort. The side seams of a top or dress will look so much better if the stripes line up. And don’t forget repeating patterns form stripes too.Sew to Sell centering
Check the direction of the print too. For example, if a fabric has a row of boats finishing just above the hem on a pair of shorts, it’s going to look odd if the other leg doesn’t match. The superman logo on these shorts has been centered in the width of the panel and sits at the same spot on the hems.Sew to Sell  coverstitch
If you’re using a cover stitch in your sewing, practice getting the stitch to cover the raw edge exactly. Store bought t-shirts are a common place for this flaw.
If you really want to get fussy with your sewing you could look at how you finish your belt loops. Sometimes you’ll see belt loops that have frayed after washing because the ends have been left raw. While it’s not convenient to overlock them, you can try turning them under a second time to conceal the raw edge. Or even try enclosing them within the waistband at the top edge and where the band joins the shorts.
Have a think about any pet peeves you have about store bought clothing – surely if you notice something your customers will too. Taking the time to do some quality control once your items are finished could make all the difference to your work and will go a long way towards lifting the standards of what consumers expect and deserve.

This article first appeared in Issue 5 of One Thimble magazine and can be purchased here (affiliate link)

production cutting

Tips for Production Line Cutting

When you’re set to do a load of cutting, you’ll work more efficiently if you have a system in place. There are a few techniques for this and the aim is to find the best solution for you. Now I say this because not everyone is going to have the same steps or work flow. Factors such as work space, the type of items you’re cutting and the materials you use all contribute to how your system is going to pan out.

For example, someone cutting a bulk lot of kids shorts is going to need space to stack the shorts in bundles as they are cut. Their workflow flow for cutting may look something like this –

  1. unroll and check meterage. Check for flaws in the fabric and mark them with a safety pin at the selvedge
  2. place pattern pieces in the most economical way taking care to follow grain lines, pattern matching and avoiding any flaws
  3. mark shapes, sizes and notches onto fabric. I generally trace pattern pieces onto the fabric with a soft pencil or biro and mark sizes within a seam or hem
  4. cut shorts and stack each garment as a complete bundle (ie the front pair and back pairs stacked together)
  5. discard scraps as you go (a tall laundry hamper or plastic bin is good for this)
  6. keep a tally of what sizes and how many of each you’ve cut as you go
  7. slide the fabric up the table and arrange ready to trace and cut the next lot.

I use a table like the one pictured below where it has a space for you to add fabric swatches, the sizes you’re cutting, the number you need and a spot to keep a tally of what you’ve cut as you go. If you keep one of these sheets for each garment you cut, you’ll have a way to go back and check any discrepancies at a later date.

You can download the Exel file here.  Cutting Sheet example

production cutting materials

This process can be repeated till you’ve cut as many as you need. Once you’ve done with the fabric, move onto any other fabrics needed for the item. If any pieces require interfacing, keep these separate and cut all together.

Cut elastics all in one go. Make a mark on your cutting table or ruler to save yourself measuring every single piece.

Once all your pieces and trims are cut you may need to fuse interfacing. Always use a pressing cloth to save your iron or steam press from any excess glue. Remember this is the iron you’re going to be using to press the finished garments.

Count out your labels and keep them in a little shallow container to sit beside your sewing machine. This is a way to double check you’ve cut and sewn the correct number and sizes. If you get to the end of your sewing pile and have a set of labels left over then something’s gone wrong!

Now you’re ready to prepare the sewing machines which I’ll be covering in a future post. To be sure not to miss out why not subscribe and have it sent your inbox. Just enter your preferred email address in the subscribe box on the right and it will come automatically.

Shared on Weekend Crafts Creative Spark Linky Party.

how to line a skirt

How to Line a Skirt

There are a few reasons why you might like to line a skirt – for modesty if the main fabric is a bit see through, to help the fabric sit smoothly and not cling to your legs when wearing stockings/leggings, or perhaps to make the skirt feel thicker if the main fabric is too light. The type of lining you choose needs to complement the main fabric so it doesn’t interfere with the main fabric and because you are going to be washing them together.
The most common fabric labelled as lining is thin, plain coloured and has a slippery/slinky feel. It can be made from polyester, acetate or silk and would be suitable for lining most garments. If you wanted a cotton lining – say for breath-ability – you could use cotton voile or any other light weight plain weave cotton.
The two simplest ways to line a skirt is to either sew the lining with the main fabric as one, or to sew the lining separately and joined only at the waist. Here I’m going to show you how to use a separate lining attached at the waist and around the zip.
Firstly cut your skirt pieces from the main fabric. For the lining you’ll use the same pattern piece but shorten the length by 2.5cm.
1
Sew the main fabric side seams, centre back and zip as normal.
2
Sew the lining side seams and centre back the same way.
3
Press all seams flat – do not press the opening for the zip on the lining.

Arrange the main skirt (right side out) with the lining inside (inside out) matching up the zip and zip opening in the lining.
4
Pin the lining to the zip tape on both sides.
5

6

Sew the fabrics together as close to the zip as you can get. You may need to use your zip foot/half foot to get close enough on the flap side.

7

Leave some room for the fabric to move around the end of the zip. Having the lining caught too close might cause your zip to become distorted.
8

Another option is to hand sew the lining around the zip. A slip stitch with matching thread will work best here.
Press the lining away from the zip teeth.
Hem the lining and the main skirt using the same hem allowance – remember you’ve already trimmed the lining so it will sit 2.5cm shorter than the main skirt.
9
Attach the waistband with the main skirt and lining as one.
10
And you’re done. A lined skirt does feel luxurious and is well worth the effort.
13
The skirt pattern used is the women’s A-line skirt available at Very Debra on Etsy.

This article first appeared in One Thimble Issue 4 .