Unequal Seam Lengths
Posted: 06 September 2011 05:05 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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While making my Kinsman, I’ve found that a couple of times, pieces with matching seams which should have been the same length (sleeve/armpit, collar/neckline) are not quite the same by 1/2” or so (inaccurate cutting? Searing edges?), making it hard to get a nice smooth seam between the two pieces.

If this happens, is it better to “scrunch” the longer of the two pieces to make it fit the shorter side (ie, easing), or match the shorter piece seam length and then just cut the extra fabric at the joined seam from the longer one?

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Posted: 06 September 2011 05:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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This is typically the result of stretching of insulation under the presser foot, follwed by contraction afterwards.  Don’t ease—trim (or do nothing and leave the small amount of extra which ends up on the inside of the finished item).

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Posted: 06 September 2011 07:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Interesting…

I tried to stretch/flatten the the liner/insulation layer near the needle as I was sewing it together. This seemed to help in being able to stitch straighter seams but did that also contribute to the stretching problem?

I also seemed to experience this problem when sewing the outer shell panels together (no insulation involved). At one point, I pinned AND hand-basted the two fabrics together to prevent them from pulling apart but they still seemed to want to stretch apart. Any ideas on that?

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Posted: 06 September 2011 07:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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totalnewbie - 06 September 2011 07:23 PM

Interesting…

I tried to stretch/flatten the the liner/insulation layer near the needle as I was sewing it together. This seemed to help in being able to stitch straighter seams but did that also contribute to the stretching problem?

Yes

I also seemed to experience this problem when sewing the outer shell panels together (no insulation involved). At one point, I pinned AND hand-basted the two fabrics together to prevent them from pulling apart but they still seemed to want to stretch apart. Any ideas on that?

This is usually caused by presser foot causing one layer of fabric to slide.  The more you do this kind of work, the less these kinds of problems get your goat.  You might try using a walking foot (aka “even feed”) attachment for your machine if one is available.  Or, use many pins which will prevent the accumulation and propagation of the error down the seam.

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Posted: 07 September 2011 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Stretching the fabric seems like it does help in guiding the fabric through. But besides the stretching issues it can cause, it also seems to make fixing mistakes harder because the stitches get tight and very tiny and hard to get the seam ripper in there…

Is there any kind of a basic rule about when or when not to stretch either nylon or a nylon/insulation layer?

Letting it go through loose seems like a recipe for chaos…

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Posted: 07 September 2011 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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This is the kind of thing that experience teaches best.  It’s not recommended to stretch things when you sew them because they will contract when you’re done, unless it’s something that’s supposed to contract like an elastic wrist.  You intentionally stretch wrist elastic when you sew so that it scrunches when you release the tension.

Some people use things like basting sprays to temporarily attach insulations and reduce stretch, use a machine with an even feed foot, or use a layer of scrim.  I use a stiletto tool and lots of pins to keep the insulation from stretching, and pay careful attention to the amount of pressure of the presser foot of my machine.

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Posted: 07 September 2011 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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AYCE - 07 September 2011 04:40 PM

Some people use things like basting sprays to temporarily attach insulations and reduce stretch, use a machine with an even feed foot, or use a layer of scrim.  I use a stiletto tool and lots of pins to keep the insulation from stretching, and pay careful attention to the amount of pressure of the presser foot of my machine.

I think I will take a look at the pressure foot adjustment - that’s one thing I have not tried yet.

I remember reading somewhere about putting newspaper or tissue in between the two layers - I might try that too.

What exactly does the stiletto tool do?

I agree - experience (and experimentation) is what’ll help the most. It helps that it’s fun!

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Posted: 07 September 2011 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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There are tear-away scrim type materials that work like scrim, but I wouldn’t use (news)paper as it’ll dull your needle too quickly.  Check the notions aisle of your local fabric store. 

The stiletto tool helps to keep the layer that is prone to stretch from stretching as it moves under the presser foot, kind of like a pin.  You can also use it for other things.  Bamboo skewers for kabobs from the grocery store work well for this.  Great tool—very useful in controlling feed.

You would find the even-feed attachment very helpful.  Not expensive.

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