Thursday, February 18, 2010

Making Continuous Bias

Have you ever heard of continuous bias? I first learned about it from a customer at Fabricville where I no longer work.(But I really enjoyed my 6 years as a part-time worker).

I also have to acknowledge Sandra Betzina and Ron Collins because their Web TV Show clarified the process for me.

1. You start with a square of fabric.This one was 15"square.

2. Draw a line to join two corners on the diagonal.

3.Cut the square in two along the diagonal.

4. Bring the two triangles together right sides of fabric facing each other.

There should be two little triangles sticking out at each side.

5. Sew with an exact 1/4" seam.

6. Open up the piece and it should look like this. Press open the seam.

7. Draw lines 2' deep.(You can make them wider if you want but you'll end up with less product.Don't worry if your last strip is a little more than the 2".Just trim off the excess.

8. Fold your piece so it looks like this and your lines are lined up.It took me some time to figure this part out.

Now this step is a little hard to explain but bear with me.

9. Move the bottom half over to the left until the first bottom strip lines up with the second strip in the top half.

10. Now you're going to pin the two halves together from this point. When you pin, stick the pins in so you will have a 1/4" seam but your bottom and top lines half to intersect so stick the pin through the bottom line at 1/4" and then through the top line at 1/4" like this.

Notice the shape of your fabric now.

11. Now sew the 1/4" seam across the joined lines. Press the seam open.

Notice how the lines of each half line up nicely.

12. Begin to cut along the lines being sure to cut only one layer at a time until you reach the end of your fabric.

Believe it or not,but that little 15"square of fabric will yield you about 96" of bias strips.

Now you can go ahead and prepare your strips in whatever way you prefer. This is what I do.

I truly hope this is clearly explained and that somebody can use this in their sewing projects.Please let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

#11.Fusible Stay Tape

If you're like me, you don't always have access to all the latest sewing gadgets or notions.

I've often heard Sandra Betzina talk about using fusible stay tape but have never been able to find it in fabric stores. Well,let me tell you ,if you use fusible interfacing,you can make your own.Just cut strips (I cut mine about 1/4" or 3/8") along the grain or along the most stable direction of your interfacing.

I do this most often from scraps,but I've also done larger quantities from bigger pieces too.

I've used these strips at waistlines, roll lines of jackets,necklines,shoulder seams,and I'm sure you can think of other places to use them as well.

Just a note here. When you are using these strips along a curved seam,you may have to clip the strip a little to make it conform to the curve.

So there.I hope this hint is a useful one and that you'll try it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What is Understitching and Why is it Important

When you sew facings to a garment at the neckline and/or the armholes understitching is a very important step .This stitching is also often used when you add a contoured waistband to a skirt or pant.

The instructions for the facings on the dress I just sewed for my daughter read:

To understitch,press facings away from garment;press seam toward
facing.Facing side up,stitch close to seam through facing and seam

Now what does that mean? Here are the steps:

1.Sew the facing to the garment (neckline or armhole for example.)

2.Press the seam away from the garment and toward the facing.

3. Trim and grade your seam down to about 3/8 inch.(To grade a seam you trim the two sections of the seam allowance separately and make one narrower than the other by about 1/8 of an inch.)

4.With the outside of the garment facing you,sew a line of stitching on the facing and through the seam allowances very close to the seamline joining it to the garment.

5. Turn the facing toward the inside of the garment. Notice how the facing wants to turn in .You'll notice that a little bit of the outside has turned toward the inside. This is a good thing. Now the facing won't show from the outside.
This is why understitching is so important and this step should never be skipped.

You'll want to attach at least part of the facing to the inside of the garment. Sometimes it's enough to stitch in the ditch at the underarm and/or the shoulder seams.
If that isn't enough ,you can use Steam-a-Seam around the facing and fuse it to the garment.If your garment will not be laundered very often,fusible thread is another option.(See here for details on sewing with fusible thread).)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Making a Bias Garment

First of all, I want to acknowledge that the techniques I'll share with you in this tutorial were learned from Sandra Betzina when I attended her Fitting Workshop in Halifax in 2006.I have to say that I was reluctant to make bias garments until I learned these steps from her.

1. After your fabric is preshrunk,iron it while stretching it in all directions. Spend a bit of time doing this as it will be worth it in the end.

2.Be sure to cut each piece of your garment on the true bias or it will not hang properly.

3.Instead of using 5/8" seams,cut the side seams to have a seam allowance of 1.5".Wider seams will give you better control as you sew.(Also it will give you extra room at the side seams if you need it).

4. After cutting out your garment, go back to the ironing board and press and stretch again but this time, each individual piece .

5.Next,lay your pattern pieces over the pressed pieces and if they've "grown", trim to size.

All that pressing and stretching means you don't have to hang your garment up to stretch because that's already done.

Be very careful not to stretch as you sew or handle the garment from this point on.

If you are adding a zipper, stabilise the seam allowance for the zipper with fusible interfacing before you start to sew.

To avoid shoulders from stretching,stabilise them as well.(I use clear elastic or narrow strips of interfacing)

6.Sew your seams using a small zigzag stitch. (I use 1.5 wide and 2.0 long).

7.Press your seams open carefully without stretching. Trim away some of the excess seam.(I trim only 1/2" and leave the seam one inch wide.)

8.To hem your garment, sew wide bias tape with a 5/8 " seam to the hem. ( I make my own but you can use the wide one available in retail ).Turn the seam and press and hem using your preferred method. The bias tape will conform easily to make hemming easier


To make this bias skirt

I had to put in a little extra effort because the fabric was plaid. The skirt had only one main pattern piece which was used for both front and back. After cutting the front. I laid it on the fabric so that I could match the plaid perfectly.I pinned at the beginning of each new row of plaid to make sure the fabric would not move as I cut.As for the waistband, I didn't manage to match it perfectly because it was contoured but I can live with that.

So that's it. I really think you'll find these steps useful if you 'd like to try sewing bias garments.