Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wednesday Words

 courtesy Bishop Clothing Construction book




"Directional staystitching is rarely used in couture, and never on necklines as is often recommended nor on armholes. If you are concerned about stretch, fold a bias strip of silk organza over the edge and hand baste. The thread itself will prevent stretch.                

As to directional stitching, if a seam is hand basted, as it is assumed to be in couture, you can sew it in any direction and retain control if the seams are of like grain. If they are of mixed grain, follow the weakest grain on top and handbaste, then machine baste. ".........................................Roberta Carr in "Couture, the Fine Art of Sewing"  ( bolded words as originally written)

Do you stay stitch? Do you do it directionally? 

courtesy weallsew.com


29 comments:

  1. I stay stitch. I don't directionally stay stitch, but I try to follow the same direction for seams when I can.

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  2. Always, on necklines and other areas and edges prone to stretching. If I am basting I might skip it but really, it is easier, and can be done independent of the joining on of the facing, or similar.
    I do always baste when sewing on the bias too. I love basting actually - it is soothing and gives one so much control. :)

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  3. It is so helpful to see two opposing points of view, if only to drive home the message that there are very few hard and fast rules. I almost never sew directionally, if only because the walking foot (IDT) on my Pfaff feeds everything through so evenly. And I only staystitch if I am going to be clipping the seam allowance really close to the stitching - then I think it can sometimes add a bit of security against the fabric pulling apart at that point. But I do tack (handbaste) a great deal. I think those who spurn it (because factories don't do it) are missing out on one of the ways that we can make garments that are not just as good as but much better than factory-made goods.

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    1. I'm in your camp, Anne. I stay stitch when I run the risk of snipping too far into a seam and it's necessary to cut into the seam to turn corners, make a v neck, etc.

      At one time I always stay stitched and for a lot of that it was directionally. But I acquired three frames of reference. One was watching Nancy Zieman, who always makes such good old fashioned sense, say she never did directional sewing and basically thought it was hooey. The other was taking a class from the person reputed to be the best dressmaker in the state of New Hampshire at the time. She never stay stitched and advised not to and instead to handle the fabric carefully to prevent stretching. Thirdly, in class with Claire Shaeffer, queen of couture, we were advised to hand baste and steam steam steam the fabric into the needed shape. Every step of the way the fabric is steamed to follow the shape of the pattern.

      For myself, if you've read here for a while, you know I check and re check the shape of pattern pieces, after cutting, and before sewing, and make any needed adjustments, whether with steam or scissors. But I am open to try whatever in sewing so if I were making a peau de soie wedding gown or a silk charmeuse bias dress, I would do whatever possible to promote a clean unpuckered seam. Those fabrics gleam and their reflection of light shows the tiniest of imperfection. So maybe this is more dependent on the fabric one is sewing.

      There are so many ways to do so much in sewing and one of the reasons I started "Wednesday Words" was to promote discussion on these topics. It's great to hear the differing viewpoints and then try new things to see how they work for each of us. Thanks for the input so far, everyone.

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    2. I'm sorry but I don't get it. I handle a helluv lot of silk chiffon and crepe and sewing that crazy stuff int eh wrong direction is a one way ticket to Ripplesville. And who hasn't observed the infamous "one pael is slightly rippled" rtw jacket? Absolutey there are ways and ways of handling fabric that mean it feeds hapily hrough the sewing machine, but sewing directionally is a great way for the non-ninja sewist to manage their delicate fabrics. I teach a Mad Skills class for experienced sewists who want to really up their game, and it blows my mind how few sewists really have command of their sewing machine. I find it challenging as I know my darlings like my own DNA and can make them do anything I want. If you haven't got that level (or you don't own a decent sewing machine) then directional sewing is a must xo

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    3. Oh my goodness, sorry about all the typos! A pael is a lapel. :) New laptop, different shaped keyboard.

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  4. I'm a staystitcher, if the piece has a lot of bias area. And I do sew directionally - which I find to be particularly helpful with knits. Interesting post, I enjoyed it.

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    1. I never thought of this in regard to knits. I will try that out, Coco.

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  5. I stay stitch and I'm a believer in directional stitching.

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  6. I don't do too much stay stitching and I never have done directional stitching. I am also one that thinks that's kind of an odd concept. I tried it once and it didn't seem to make any difference. I also have the benefit of the IDT of my Pfaff - maybe that's why I haven't been too big into either of these. I definitely believe that there are places where stay stitching is beneficial though and will do it then.

    Interesting topic. :) I like to hear the differing views as well - always something new to learn.

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    1. I have a Pfaff with IDT and that may be why it is not such an issue for me as well. I know your sewing is impeccable, Kathy.

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  7. I'm a stay stitcher, but don't directionally stitch. Dual feed solves that problem for me. Between using a rotary cutter instead of shears and stay stitching, garment pieces almost always assemble as they should, provided there isn't a glitch in the pattern drafting.

    Bunny, you've gotten me checking those pieces with the pattern. That's a great tip that's saved me many a headache!
    ,

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    1. It's amazing how off they are by the time we are ready to stitch them, isn't it? It took me a long time to figure that out but now I do it without even thinking. Glad that idea helped you.

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  8. I directional stitch, but never stay stitch. Like, ever. I'll reinforce with tape and such. But, I don't stay stitch.

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  9. I love hearing discussions like this one! I stay stitch areas like the neck edge, and do it by hand using stab stitching rather than a sewing motion. I do it this way because handling and the action of machine stitching itself can stretch those areas out of shape and especially if the fabric is prone to stretching. And when using a plaid for example, it can be important to me that the pattern remain just where I positioned it initially....stab stitching helps with this too. Not all fabric needs to be handled this way. Linda S.

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  10. I directional stitch especially when I need to match plaids, prints or directional prints...to me the matching is more accurate when you stitch directionally. I stay stitch sometimes...mostly for the reasons stated above and sometimes to retain shape.

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  11. I staystich sometimes, usually on necklines if the fabric weave seems a bit loose. I directional stitch most of the time. I started doing that after making a shirt collar that refused to lie flat, and I do think it helps.
    I love your blog, Bunny.
    Anne in Alabama

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  12. I stay stitch only if I'm not using fusible interfacing or if I use a strip of selvedge on the shoulder seam of something that stretches easily. I do stitch directionally, not because I believe it makes a difference, but because I am very symmetrically oriented. If I stitch say, from the waist to the hem, I'll turn the garment around and stitch the other side the same way.

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  13. As with many "rules", I think it just depends on the fabric, the machine, the expertise of the one sewing. I stay stitch directionally a good deal of the time. As far as general directional sewing, I rarely do it. If top stitching, I do it. With a very wide skirt I do it. I hand baste a lot of things, especially if trying to match a plaid or stripe. There are times when I hold a delicate crepe or knit and think to myself that I run the risk of ruining the neckline by running it through the machine to stay stitch, so I do it by hand.

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    1. I forgot about this. I do make sure I topstitch directionally. I find otherwise, I will get those nasty slanted ripples. Thanks for the reminder!

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  14. Echoing other comments...

    I rarely stay stitch (depends on the fabric) and will do directional to match patterns or when I'm doing a graduated seam allowance. Which I sometimes do on fitted knit dresses...

    e.g., I'll sew a 5/8" seam through bust and waist and go to a 3/8" seam at the hip. I do this directionally to try to keep it as even as possible on each side.

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  15. Interesting debate.
    I do staystich, try to remember to stitch directionally too, but was taught to tack ( baste) before sewing. Only in recent years have I been a rebel (!) and pinned and then gone straight to the machine as shown in some on line classes. I have to admit to fearing all would go wrong having had the pin, tack, machine stitch drummed into me at school.

    I would therefore say that I probably adapt to what the fabric tells me to do. If I have tricky seams etc to work on, then I always tack first and try and stitch directionally.

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  16. Staystitch yes, absolutely. V-necklines are notorious for changing shape so stay stitching is necessary. Also where I am needing to clip curves. I also check using the pattern pieces to make sure things are still the right shape/size. If I am super concerned about a pattern piece stretching, I will sew on a piece of silk organza via stay stitching to be sure that it retains its shape. Also I do stay stitch on knits when I think it is necessary, a lot of knits get droopy or stretch and the stitching keeps the shape. As for directional, not so much but I can sew without stretching the fabric - I think it is a lot of practice.

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  17. I practice (do) both. Saves time in the long run. Those rules were made for a reason. .....Lydia

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  18. I do staystitch especially, as stated by other posters, when clipping is necessary so as to prevent clipping too far and reinforce that clipped area.

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  19. I staystitch around necklines and bias sections. I've become a fan of directional stitching lately and find it to be more accurate than not. Since I teach young girls to sew I advise on staystitching but, more importantly, to handle the cut pieces with care to prevent stretching and distortion. It's interesting that some people do this instinctively while others handle fabric with rough movements. Karen

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  20. Staystitching is something I don't often do. Usually I baste when it's critical.

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  21. A really good tip I learnt from Paco Peralta is to cut bias strips of lightweight fusible interfacing and run a line of stitching down the centre of the strip. When stabilising areas prone to stretching out like necklines and armholes I just fuse these pre made strips. It works so well, stabilises the area beautifully and there is no concerns about the area getting stretched when sewing as I can double check the pattern piece against the fabric piece as I fuse. Only works for medium weight and up fabric not sheer lightweight fabric of course. Nothing beats careful handling, I agree with others about that. Sometimes I will do a standard staystitch on something like a v neckline or a raglan sleeve section. I've done directional staystitching mainly on skirts and I do think it helps the fabric feed better through the machine. It's been very interesting reading how everyone approaches this issue!

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Engaging commentary: