Use­ful stitches, seams and seam fin­ishes for silk gar­ments

Panay News - - NATION - By Cludin P. Fa­jader, Ivisan, Capiz

ONE more l es­sons that stu­dents can be in­tro­duced onto and learn from Tech­nol­ogy and Liveli­hood Ed­u­ca­tion (TLE) is gar­ments specif­i­cally silk, equally one of the in-de­mand type. As I have al­ready pointed out in my other ar­ti­cle, gar­ment re­tail is one among in­dus­tries that con­stantly gen­er­ates in­come. Here I will dis­cuss how to sew silk gar­ments us­ing stitches, seams and seam fin­ishes.

Bast­ing and pin­ning are two not very pop­u­lar sewing tech­niques that work best with many types of silk fab­ric. If you do not want to screw up a Php 2,500 a yard piece of silk try­ing to make some­thing nice out of it the faster way, it makes per­fect sense to baste and pin. There are ac­tu­ally sev­eral types of bast­ing: bast­ing pat­tern pieces, bast­ing hems, pleats, gath­ers, set-in sleeves, po­si­tion­ing pock­ets, and more. For first fit­ting, bast­ing is a must-do. Most of the time, baste can be done by hand es­pe­cially when sewing “slip­pery” types of silk such as charmeuse, chif­fon, or­ganza and geor­gette. Bast­ing pre­vents slip­pery fab­ric from shift­ing when stitch by ma­chine. But here is an im­por­tant tip, baste only with a very fine, sharp hand-sewing nee­dle so it doesn’t leave any holes in the del­i­cate fab­ric af­ter bast­ing thread is re­moved. Bast­ing stitches should be se­cured from be­gin­ning till end.

When it comes to seam al­lowances and their fin­ish­ing, seam al­lowances should be ex­actly the same width on all pat­tern pieces. Use the edge guide of your ma­chine, (the marked on the nee­dle plate) so that you al­ways stitch the same dis­tance from the fab­ric edge. Some­times you will need to mark notches on the edges of your pat­tern pieces. For this make a small cut (5mm) into the seam al­lowance with sharp scis­sors. If you sew trans­par­ent silk fab­ric like chif­fon, or­ganza, mesh then you have to be very care­ful with seams – they will be vis­i­ble through the fab­ric. So seams have to be the same width all over. Un­fin­ished edges of silk fab­ric of­ten fray eas­ily so choose very fine threads to fin­ish the raw edges.

How to stitch silk fab­ric? Stitches must be straight, even and pass ex­actly along the seam line. Un­even curved stitches cre­ate bumps, dis­tor­tions and im­per­fec­tions of the seams. It is very im­por­tant to ad­just a stitch length for light­weight silk. It should be small – 1.5 -2mm. When sewing silk fab­ric es­pe­cially light­weight charmeuse, chif­fon, or­ganza, geor­gette, gauze, we use quite of­ten spe­cial seams called French seams in which the al­lowances are hid­den in­side the seams them­selves. This kind of seams very neat but they are mostly used for straight pat­tern lines while sewing bed­ding or for ex­am­ple side seams of cloth­ing. French seams can be used only for light­weight or medium-weight silk. On heavy fab­rics it would look bulky. The width of the fin­ished seams should be 5 to 7 mm. What to do is to press it to­ward the back of the gar­ment.

Now in sewing hems for silk gar­ments, the last on this topic, are some of the amaz­ing tech­niques that are com­monly used. It’s a lit­tle bit time con­sum­ing be­cause hems are sewn by hand in this case but the re­sult is re­ally fan­tas­tic – on the front side of the gar­ment there is ab­so­lutely no hint of vis­i­ble stitches. Some­times it feels like it is sim­ply im­pos­si­ble to spoil an ex­quis­ite del­i­cate silk blouse or dress with a line of stitches along the hem. Reg­u­lar hem fin­ishes just don’t fit the style of the gar­ment. But this method is good only for straight hems.

So, what are the steps? First is to make sure that you cut the hem­line straight. Sec­ond is to mark a straight line 1.5 to 2 cm from the edge with a spe­cial mark­ing pen. Third is to ap­ply a piece of thinnest knit fusible web­bing 1.5 cm wide with an iron. Fourth is to fold the fab­ric edge to the bot­tom line of the fusible tape, baste and press. Fifth is to fold the hem again but now to the up­per line of the fusible tape. You can use pins to do it then baste and press again. Sixth is to sew the hem by hand with in­vis­i­ble stitches in­sert­ing the nee­dle only into the fusible tape. Be care­ful not to grab some threads from the silk fab­ric. Lastly, take out the bast­ing thread and press. ( Paid ar­ti­cle)

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