Thursday, December 10, 2009

How to sew tight curves

Making sure your garment is well pressed is the number one most important key to achieving clothes that look well made. Trimming the seams to make them lie as flat as possible is the number two. I'll demonstrate with a pocket flat from my current project, another jacket.

1. Sew the two pieces together, right sides facing in.

2. This is called "grading the seams". Or at least, that is what my mother calls it. You want to neatly trim at least one side of your seam allowance a shorter width then the other. I always trim them both.
***I grade all seams that are sewn and then turned to the inside, like facings, collars, sleeve tabs, pocket flaps, lapels, etc. Anywhere there are two or more layers side by side and not pressed open.

3. Now, clip the curves. I use to just put a single clip in, but have discovered in the last 6 months that if you cut notches in tight curves, they lay a lot flatter. The tighter the curve, the more notches it needs.

4. Now turn to the outside and pin. I am a crazy pinning machine.
***Oops, after you pin, then you give it a good pressing.
*****You pin to get a crisp outer edge to what you're working on.

5. Ta da!

I want to do more tutorial type posts but don't know if you find them interesting or have any requests. I think Angie asked me recently about inserting linings in skirts, and the next time I sew one I plan to take pictures of the process. Is there anything else you'd like to see a tutorial on?

33 comments:

  1. I have no specific request, I just find it very useful to see how some things are done, so please post any tutorial you find interesting. The more photos you post with it - the better! Your sewing is always so neat, impeccable work, and it's a pleasure to learn from such a teacher!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I would love to see some details on your impressive seam finishing techniques. (:

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it is always helpful to see how another sewist does something. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Amanda,

    I would love to see a tutorial on a skirt lining, and specifically how you attach the lining to the facing and the zipper. I am a returning to sewing after many years, and I love reading and seeing pictures of your impeccable sewing. Thanks, Mitzi

    ReplyDelete
  5. I second the seam finishing techniques! Your blog, more than any other, has completely inspired me to clean up and prettify the insides of my garments. Specifically, any tips on cleaning up seams in knit garments for those of us without overlock machines? :(

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love tutorials and did not know about cutting notches into curves. I will do that. I would love to see a tutorial on welt pockets. I have never made a successful welt pocket and stay away from making pants as a result.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I always like tutorials. Even if I already know how to do something, I like seeing how someone else does it. Your pocket flap looks great - makes me curious to see the rest of the jacket!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I fear this is a very obvious question, but I'm wondering about the relationship between step 4 and step 5. (Yes, I am new to sewing). You pinned, and then the next photo showed it all flat and nice. Were you referring to pinning it to the garment and then sewing? Sorry, I just feel very dense right now.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love it!!! I discovered the clips in the curves while working on Tori's little jacket...but the seam grading is something new. I always cut mine the same length. Need to try something new. Do you grade all seams? or just the ones on curved areas? Off the top of my head, I don't know of any tutorials; however, I agree with others that it is always nice to see how others sew. We all have our own quirks and ways of doing things. Sometimes it's nice to find that there is an easier way to do things.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes, I would like to see your French Seam technique - I'm working on a 70s era tunic and guess what? I was inspired by you and did french seams:) I don't have a serger (I want to concentrate on machine type of sewing) but every now and then I've been rethinking this . . . . .

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think I recognize this fabric. Also, you may have to move to a colder climate just so you'll have an opportunity to wear all your jackets!

    I like the tutorials, and I think you're good at writing them. Even though I'm not sewing clothes right now, I like to think I might sometime in the future, and I'll know right where to go for expert advice!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love the tutorial idea. I'm sure everything you could think of would be helpful!

    Lol. I have the same question as Auragone. What was the pinning part of the step for?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Amanda, My name is Leslie and I have been viewing your blog for a few months now. I love your projects and your sewing skills are to be admired. I would like to see a tutorial on how you put a zipper in a skirt and also how do you put hems in skirts that have linings. This tutorial was actually very helpful. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. A great tutorial. I will be watching for more helpful tips.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think it would be good to see all of your binding techniques - seam finishes etc.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I thinkg it's a great idea to include tutorials. They will help others with garment constraction.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My mom showed me a technique way back in the day for grading seam allowances that involves holding your scissors more or less at a 30-45 degree angle as you trim the seam allowance. So instead of holding the scissors in sort of handshake or straight perpendicular position, you move it over to the left so that it is kind of hovering over the fabric being trimmed. That way, you can trim the seam allowance in one step instead of two, and the top seam allowance is trimmed slightly shorter than the underside. Try it on a scrap first though until you get the hang of it!. It leaves about a 1/16th to 1/8 inch difference in the two layers of the seam allowance, but that seems to be adequate for most purposes.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Amanda, thanks for the tutorial, you always make such nice picture-filled ones that are easy to understand. :-)

    P. Thanks for your comment, that will be very useful to me when I gather up the courage to start my jacket!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi Amanda,
    I second the motion about moving to a colder climate...lol!

    This is an important tutorial... stressing to always press your garment as you go. It makes all the difference in a professional looking finish.

    I would just like to mention that it is important that the wider seam allowance is against the outside of the flap, and the narrower SA is the inside. Otherwise the narrower part could show and it won't lay smoothly. I know this is what you do.

    Also pressing should always be done on the wrong side and not the outside, because otherwise the press marks from the iron could show. As I am pressing I always slightly roll the seam to the under side.

    ReplyDelete
  20. In the sewing world there are often several ways to accomplish the same end. I love seeing tutes on blogs as they show me the many different ways to approach a technique. Any tute of yours would be appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love tutorials and depend on them a lot. It would be so nice of you to take you time to share what ever you'd like.

    ReplyDelete
  22. There is nothing in particular I would request but I love tutorials and your sewing rocks, so please post tutorials.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Yes, more tutorials please! Particularly linings. How to attach the lining to a zipper, how to make the final hem with a lining in place. I'm trying to gather enough courage to make a lined garment.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This was great. I'd be interested in seeing just about anything.

    Seeing how you line a skirt would be good. I'd like to see how to insert a zipper without making a mess!

    ReplyDelete
  25. This is a great tutorial. I do grade my seams and clip about a million times around the edges but never thought about doing notches. Thanks. It's always nice to see how others do things. I love tutorials!! Anything would be appreciated. Love your work.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have an insatiable appetite for seeing how other people do things - especially if it's from somebody like yourself who makes such beautifully constructed garments - so keep the tutorials coming. I'm definitely going to try notches rather than clips next time!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thank you so much Amanda, your sewing skill is superb and I enjoy learning from your blog. If you have time, It'll be great to see tutorial on lining and pattern fitting. Again, many thanks

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Amanda,

    Can you do a tutorial for installing an invisible zipper to a skirt with facing and lining?

    When I install my invisible zipper, I always get peaks on my waistband instead of a crisp straight line.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Your tutorials are AWESOME - they get me a teeny bit closer to learning how to finish things as beautifully as you do! More please!

    PS - 'I am a crazy pinning machine' made me laugh... HEH

    ReplyDelete
  30. I would love to see a tute on using tracing Burda patterns from the magazine and if you have any helpful tips to share as far as understanding their instructions or other helpful tips.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you for your tut. Since you asked: Please do tut's on all things "lining" esp jackets! And how about a fly zip...I've seen several books and just can't get it, and collars, and cuffs with plackets, oh my so many tuts you could do!
    Merry CHRISTmas to you too!

    ReplyDelete
  32. I love your tutorials, especially since they have many pictures. I find that very helpful. Do you use a dress form? If so, what kind - what do you like/dislike about it?

    ReplyDelete
  33. You sew so beautifully that I think any tutorial you post will be helpful to all of us. Really battling with getting seam allowance the correct size when doing french seams. My 1.5cm seam allowance seems to grow in size making my garments too small. I first sew a 0.5cm seam on the right side and press the seam open. I then flip the seam back on itself on the wrong side, press again, and stitch a 1cm seam. This should give a 1.5cm allowance right? Well, something is off on mine because the first item I made using the serger and a 1.5cm fits perfectly, second item is a bit tight. Put them together and the one with the french seams is about 2 cm narrower!

    ReplyDelete