Thursday, November 11, 2010

{french seams}

It's been a long journey, but we are getting very close to finishing up this lesson series! First and foremost I want you to know that I most certainly don't think of myself as a professional. I love to sew and I love to share what I know with others. My hope is that you can gain a little something from what I have taught in my tutorials and apply it to your sewing. If you are new to my blog, please click on the tab at the top of this blog to go to the Smocked Bishop Tutorials - all the lessons are there.
Before I continue with my french seam tutorial, I wanted to revisit the neck binding for a third time. Sometimes it's very difficult to gauge size when you are looking at a picture on a blog. In my past two journal entries, I have demonstrated two different ways to sew the bias neck binding. I want you to know that I try to keep my neck binding as small as possible - no more than 1/4 of an inch wide. Below are two pictures of both of the ways that I showed how to do a neck binding - one on the machine and the other using a serger. I have included a seam gauge in the picture so that you can better see how small my neck bindings are.
As you can see, my neck binding is smaller than 1/4" on the traditionally sewn bias neck binding of my smocked bishop dress.


My serged neck binding on the smocked bishop collar is right at 1/4" wide. I would not make a neck binding any wider than 1/4" whichever way that you decide to attach your bias neck binding.
Ok, so now we are ready to continue with the lesson in sewing the side seams of our Smocked Bishop Dress. For this lesson we are going to do serged french seams. I prefer to do french seams on most anything I sew, and particularly in heirloom sewing. I find it a little quicker to do them when I use my serger, but it isn't necessary to do so.
To sew a french seam, you will bring wrong sides of the fabric together as shown above.

If you don't have a serger, sew a narrow side seam. If you have a serger, set it up for a 3-thread narrow overlock stitch. Start stitching at the hem edge of the side seams and work up to the armhole. The reason I start at the hem edge, is because you don't want that beautiful lace to get caught up in the feed dogs of your machine - there is less chance of that happening if you start at the hem edge and work up.

See that little tail off the top edge of the lace? Do not cut it off flush with the lace, instead fold it back onto itself on the side seam and zig zag it into the seam. If you cut it off flush with the lace, it could unravel or it might pop out of the end of your finished seam and you really don't want that to happen.
If you don't have a serger and you straight stitched the side seams, you now need to trim the seam allowance to 1/8th of an inch or less than 1/4 of an inch, and continue with my instructions.

Next step is to open out the serged hem and press it to one side, then flip fabric over and press side seam as shown below.

You will now stitch on your sewing machine a scant 1/4" seam.

I like to use my clear foot and using the red line in the center of the foot, I offset my needle to the left by one dot, then use the inside edge of my foot to follow the edge of the folded seam - this makes sure that I stitch just outside that serged seam on the inside don't end up with any little fuzzies that stick out of my seam when finished.
As you can see, I have ended up with a beautiful 
french seam that is not quite 1/4" wide.
The last lesson of my Smocked Bishop Tutorial will be buttonholes and the hem, then our Sweet Petite Posies dress will be complete! As always, I love your comments and questions, so please post them here or click the contact tab at the top of the page and contact me by email. 










1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This tutorial is excellnent. Again, what you are teaching can be applied to adult garments, especially blouses as well. Your years of experience has made you a professional. Thank you for your tutorials they are a great help.

Marie

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