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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sewing Techniques - Staystitching


Sewing Friends:

When I use a pattern, I rarely read the sewing instruction guidesheet. I just sew using my common sense techniques. I usually tell my students to throw away the guidesheets, too. Often, the guidesheets just get the students into trouble. I would rather that they didn't even read them, let alone follow them.

There is an order to sewing and many of the same techniques apply from garment to garment. Learn good techniques and use them for all your sewing to achieve greater sewing success.

In a recent email, someone asked me about "staystitching". I had mentioned it in something I wrote and she didn't see it in her pattern sewing instructions. She wanted to know if it was necessary and why.

That question made me go look at my newest patterns. I was amazed at what I found!

What happened to the staystitching instructions on sewing pattern guidesheets? They were in some of the older patterns!

I suppose the sewing pattern companies think that by eliminating some of the instructions, the pattern purchaser will think their garments are easier to sew and thus, they will sell more patterns.

You know what I mean. They promote fewer pattern pieces, 1,2, 3 easy steps and Bam! You have a garment. Quick, fast and easy are the words of the day for everything in our lives!

I am teaching some sewing classes and am very disappointed that the sewing pattern instruction sheet does not show or say anything about staystitching.

Are all sewing pattern companies eliminating this important step now or is it just true for a few?

I don't buy a lot of patterns any more, so I need your input to let me know what you are seeing in your new pattern selections from various pattern companies.

Is staystitching missing from all pattern company guidesheets now? What else is missing?

My current classes are working with Kwik Sew patterns as that is what the store owner carries. I am finding some well designed patterns there with some pretty good, easy to follow instructions, but no staystitching. I do have some other issues, but I will address those later.

I am a firm believer in staystitching to help prevent the garment from stretching during construction.

If you want to know what staystitching is or where you should use it and why, see this article, called, "Staystitching," from the Home Sewing Association Sewing Guidelines:

You will often hear staystitching referred to as "directional staystitching". That is just another term for it. "Directional" means that is done "with the grain" of the fabric. All staystitching should be done directionally.

Directional staystitching (row of stitching through one layer of fabric 1/2" from the edge) and directional stitching (row of stitching joining 2 layers of fabric 5/8" from the edge) are both done "with the grain."

You should use directional cutting, stitching and pressing when constructing a garment to end up with the most professional look when it is finished. It really does make a difference between that "homemade look" and a "custom made garment."

When undecided about which way you should cut, stitch, or press, an easy sewing rule to remember is that you should go from the wide to the narrow. Then you are cutting, stitching, and pressing "with the grain."

Another helpful hint to help you know which direction to cut, sew or press is:

When you are going "with the grain," the fabric threads lay down along the edge when you run your fingers along it. When you go "against the grain", the threads poke out.

If you aren't staystitching your garments now, I suggest that you start. You will see a definite difference that will help you achieve sewing success in sewing higher quality-looking clothing that will have that "custom made" look because it is well constructed and fits you well.

Aim for good quality construction sewing techniques in everything you sew. Sewing with these "custom" techniques is no more difficult or time consuming that sewing the "homemade look." Why not use the best?

Work on getting a good fit, add good sewing techniques and get ready for the compliments! You will love hearing, "You made that? Wow! It doesn't look homemade!" You tell them, it's not "homemade." It is "custom made". . . by your personal designer - you!

Start staystitching today!

It just makes sense!

To Your Sewing Success,


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