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July 2010
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Seam Techniques – Part B

Working on the actual seam lines – cross seams, bias to bias seams and bias to straight seams can sometimes cause a problem.  This post addresses those types of seams and how to handle them.

          Cross Seams:  Seams that cross, such as at the waistline, shoulder or underarm, should be pressed and seam finished before joining.  To make sure that the seam lines of cross seams will align after they are joined and that all of the seam allowances will be caught flat in the stitching process, pin through both seam lines with a fine needle, then pin through both seam allowances on each side of the matched seam lines.  When the seam is stitched, trim the seam allowances diagonally as shown above, to reduce the bulkiness of the seam.

          Bias to Bias:  When joining two bias edges, first baste and then stitch, being careful not to stretch the fabric.  To reduce the risk of stitches breaking under the strain of normal wear, it is recommended that you use a shorter than usual stitch and a type of thread that has “give”.

          Bias to Straight:  When joining a bias edge to a straight edge, take special care not to stretch the edge that is bias, or the seam will not lie smooth.  Handle the bias edge gently and pin baste it to the straight edge, placing pins perpendicular to the seam  line at intervals of about every 3 to 4 inches, as indicated in the illustration above.  Stitch the seam with the bias edge on top, removing the pins as you stitch.  Remember that plaids cannot be matched if one fabric edge is bias and the other straight. 

          These “how to” tutorials are an excerpt from our book “Basic Clothing Construction”.   This book is a handy addition to have in your sewing room, so you can refer to the various sewing tips and tutorials at any time

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author


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