Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday's Quote

Quote of the week:

"When the grain of one seam is being attached to another seam of a different grain, the couture rule is to stitch with the weakest grain on top. The weakest grain is bias, then crossgrain; lengthwise grain is strongest. .....On the princess seam, therefore, you'll sew from the waist to the shoulder on one side and from shoulder to waist on the other side."......Roberta Carr from her book, "Couture, the art of fine sewing".




19 comments:

  1. Makes sense! I'll try this the next time I sew a princess seam.

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    1. It does, but there are those who swear by "directional sewing" and would not do it this way. My choice is this way. I once heard Nancy Zieman poo poo the whole directional sewing concept. I tried it for a while and never found it made a difference for me. I would be interested to hear what others have to say.

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  2. I sew with the most stable on top and bias or loose on the bottom. If you get used to pinning that way, then you will sew that way. There is no directional sewing in factories, things are sewn "in the round" so there is always fabric under the presser foot being fed in so sewing is done from side seam to shoulder, other shoulder, back down the other side seam in a circle, then threads are clipped at the joins. But when I worked in the bridal factory, the princess seams front and back were sewn with the bias on the bottom as the feed dogs will "gather" them into the straight grain edges on top.

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    1. Thanks for your imput, Jo. When I do sleeves it's always with the sleeve toward the throat plate so ease can be gathered in by the machine, just as you describe. I've noticed many patterns will show stay stitching done directionally. Wish I could remember which ones. Thanks for your points about what happens in the factories.

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  3. I tend to use the "magical feed dog" method with the bias on the bottom as Mrs Mole describes. Although I was taught not to do that (don't remember why, maybe the delicate bias theory). I utilize directional sewing in some instances, such as topstitched seams, and wide skirts (wide to narrow).

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  4. I do pay attention when I topstitch to run my seams in the same direction. I find not doing so can make the edge bubble. The wide to narrow thing I honestly don't do. I am not sure I understand the reasoning behind that one. Maybe someone can share what they know about that.

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    1. Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics wrote about sewing from wide to narrow here http://blog.gorgeousfabrics.com/2011/12/06/there-are-no-hard-and-fast-rules-in-sewing/

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  5. love that book. I bought it on your recommendation and turn to it all the time.

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    1. The fashions were dated when I bought back in the early nineties but the information is so CLEAR and well explained. Nothing seems difficult to do in that book. And every technique and concept has so many illustrations you can't fail to get what she means. Because of the illustrations I think it really is timeless. It's a great sewing reference and should be in everyone's library.

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  6. I have mostly been a top to bottom sewer as it is just more comfortable that way for me. Why? ??? Recently, when making some maxi skirts, I've been sewing from bottom to top, ostensibly because I do not want to stretch the long length. ??? When I stay-stitch neck and armholes I layout my pattern then insert two pieces of excess tissue, or tissue on the fold (Note: any paper will do usually. Take the usual care.), and after cutting, I'll lay out the pattern piece and pin the tissue to the the garment edge, and topstitch through the paper shy of the stitching line. The stitching is exact, the garment is top-stitched precisely, and it does not matter from which direction I stitch.

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  7. Love your Wednesday quotes Bunny!

    I'm another who sews with the unstable layer on the bottom. Even if there is no added ease, a bias layer will 'feel' longer, and the action of the feed dogs assist easing it in. I also like to get my fingers between the layers and manipulate the ease that way - no pins needed!

    I believe the wide to narrow idea is to prevent separation of the weave as it passes under the foot. I suppose sewing an A-line skirt top down in a loosely woven fabric could result in a stretched seam, but I've never had an issue. Except when doing topstitching as you mentioned!

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  8. a nice tip to keep in mind especially for those tricky seams - I tend to sew the same direction now out of habit, but the sewing I do is also rather simple, and thinking about the last few items I have made the direction depends on the garment and fabric. I know I sewed a wool coat top down, and I know I would have been in big trouble if I started changing directions (I dont use a walking foot either and dont use pins on straight seams like sherry above)

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    1. I use my walking foot, built in on my machine, engaged nearly all the time. Maybe that's why I haven't had issues regarding directional sewing. Thanks for pointing that out.

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  9. I explain it to my students as being like a cats fur. If you stroke it the wrong way, it bites! You an see the difference by holding up an angled seam in a finer fabric (organza is ideal as it is crisp but light) and gently pinching the fabric between thumb finger of the other hand, draw the fabric through and down. It opens up the weave and causes a wave. If you do it the other way you don't get anywhere near as much of a stretch happening.
    I'm not surprised to hear that RTW is sewn in the round. How many times have I seen the left lapel of a jacket with a wavy edge, or a neckline that gapes on one side? Nasty!

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  10. I am going to add here that, as I learned with Claire Shaeffer, couture sewing bastes everything before sewing so the fabric is controlled at that point. Steam is then heavily used after to get areas into submission. Of course this requires natural fabrics.

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  11. Lovely quote, and I love the book too. As you say, instructions and diagrams are so terrific, you can't fail to grasp what we are being told by Roberta.
    I have the notes on directional sewing etc etc, but I have to admit to sticking to what I was taught at school; pin and tack everything before using the sewing machine. It has only been in recent years having followed online courses that I have just pinned in some cases. I seem to always double check my books when sewing in sleeves,princess seams to ensure that I am following the correct procedure. Yes, laugh here, as the more books you have the more you find conflicting information.............confused, yes sometimes!! Sometimes I follow the directional stitching rules, other times I don't and if I am honest on the number of projects I work on, I haven't noticed any difference so far.........
    I find that if in doubt, I rely on tacking to ensure accuracy.
    Interesting comments from everyone, ensuring a lively debate.

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  12. Oh my, so much to learn. One thing is certain, I must purchase that book! I will be starting a skirt next week, quite long, with two godets on one side. Fingers crossed it all works out. :o [Jen]

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  13. I found this discussion so very interesting. And a big 'thank you' to you Bunny for giving us a place to talk about these things! Due to illness in my family I haven't been able to do much sewing, but I can still get a bit of a sewing fix by reading your blog, and I am very grateful for this. ... When I baste areas such as a neck edge, and especially if the fabric is one that really wants to stretch out of shape, I stay stitch by hand. One author (this was one of the couture sewing book authors...can't remember who now) suggested that machine stitching goes against the purpose of stay stitching because by nature it wants to stretch the fabric. This made sense to me, so now I stay stitch by hand. It doesn't really take much longer in small areas than doing it by machine. For longer seams one could do this by machine with care. Thanks to this discussion today, I'll pay attention to directional sewing and putting bias fabric nearer the presser foot. I just love all the tips I pick up here! Linda S.

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Engaging commentary: