Friday, October 5, 2012

Facings; some inner workings

I took a few photos while constructing the waistband of my new capri pants to illustrate a few of my own finishing methods, but first...
Online sewing tutorials.
Since starting my blog I have penned a few of my own sewing tutorials; snapping photos and writing happily and freely about my methods... but lately hesitation has crept in...
why? because scathing criticisms of online amateur sewing tutorials have popped up in the previously harmonious bloggy sewing world.  Some people out there loathe and detest them....  on the other hand, some people find satisfaction in seeing the inner workings of other people's sewing projects.  Personally I do too... when they are done well.  I don't enjoy seeing close-ups of snafu's or obvious stuff ups.  If I have made a glaring mistake I prefer to unpick it, take it apart or do whatever possible to fix it up, not take a photo and show it off!
But I do really enjoy seeing beautiful finishes and inner workings; I strive to make my own the best I can and I like reading about how others achieve the same.
So.  
Finishing a facing, on an edge with an invisible zip closure.

The zip is in, and I've attached the interfaced waistband facing.
The next step is to trim and clip the seam allowances.  My own approach to trimming the seam allowances I have been doing for years, with no concrete memory of where I learnt it: the layers closest to the inside, or closest to your skin are trimmed away the most, graduating from a narrowest layer out to the wider-most layer closest to the outside of the garment, which are trimmed the least.  So, the wider allowances are always against the outside of the garment, the narrower ones to the inside.
I rarely trim the stitching of the seam itself away, but trim out to the edge, so as to preserve intact the backwards/forwards securing stitches at the beginning of the seam.

When clipping curves, and especially if the fabric is thick, I sometimes take the precaution of clipping in an offset pattern of clips, like so.  This lessens the likelihood of the seam allowances showing up like a little row of "teeth" in embossed shadows around the edge after pressing.

Below is the opening edge, with the facing folded back on itself (wrong sides together), and the zip edge with the garment seam allowance (with overlocked raw edge) folded over it, right sides together; and stitched.  I never ever ever (ever ever) diagonally clip away the corner of that fold, but leave it intact, just like this.  With care, when you turn it out you should be able to get a nice square point at the corner of facing/waistband just like below right.  If the corner does seem a tad too bulky with layers of fabric, turn it back out wrong side out and right on the very corner, just inside the seam allowance at the starting point of that stitching, give it a few good sharp whacks with a heavy wooden spoon to flatten it; then try turning it out again.  I promise you, this does work!!  Just be super careful not to whack the top of the zip....  This is an old "couture" trick which I read in the Vogue 8333 instructions.

Under-stitching.  When I was a younger slapdash thing I sometimes used to lazily skip this step.  So foolish!  It makes all the difference to a neatly turned faced edge.  Do it!

btw, a note on the different coloured threads I have used in this project...
this is not a tip really, but an economical thing; I save my matching coloured thread for any stitching that is going to be visible either inside or outside the garment.  I use either black or white whichever is the closest in shade, in this case white, for any stitching that is hidden away inside the folds of fabric.  This is because I buy matching colour threads for a project in the smaller and more expensive 100m reels; and I buy black and white thread in the cheaper 1000m reels.  I have a black and a white bobbin permanently threaded up, and wind a bobbin in my matching thread before a project, as well as the reels for the top of the machine in white/black and my matching thread: and interchange them depending on whether the thread is going to be visible or not.  I know this means extra fiddling about and is not a tip everyone wants to bother with, but it does save money, which can be spent on other things  :)  This is why you can see some stitching, the visible stitching, is in the matching beige thread, and some stitching is in white.  I'm Ok with that because the white stitching is in the hidden spots, and will invisible both inside and outside of the finished garment.

Fold the facing opening edge in smoothly to an even width against the zip tape.  I nearly always have to adjust my waistbands, so it is not a given that this will be the same as the allowance dictated by the pattern piece.
It is only at this point that I finish the lower edge of the facing, all in one go.  This time I opted to use the overlocker for a flatter finish, but HongKong seams look real nice. I overlock the opening edge fold down in place as they are pinned above, and also the facing seam allowances down to the facing at this point.  Neat and tidy!
The facing edge is hand stitched to the zip tape using fell stitches.
The facing at the centre back and the other side seam is stitched to the seam allowances.  It can be seen clearly here how the seam allowances of the facing have been overlocked down to the the facing in just one pass of the overlocker.
Finito!

36 comments:

  1. Thanks for the great tutorial.

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  2. I always read your tutes/explanations of how you achieve such great pieces. That's why I read your blog.
    I still have to try the limoncello recipe:)

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  3. Please continue posting your tutorials - I am learning a lot from such tutorials. Yesterday I wanted to learn how to do a welt pocket as I couldn't follow the Burda instructions. I found a really great one on Gorgeous Things Blog. I think I will start to collect all these wonderful tutorials - I wonder, Is pinterest the best way? Any better suggestions for a collection of other people's tutorials and hints?

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  4. Great tutorial. Love the photos! Thank you. I pinned this on my Pinterest Sewing Tutorial board. :)

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  5. I always enjoy reading tutorials, even when it's for for something I already know. You never know what little tip you might come across.

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  6. Thank you very much for this great tutorial. Please continue with your tutorials - I learn so much! Normally I'm only a quiet reader of your blog. But today it was a need for my to write this short comment. I admire your sewing techniques and I like also your style. (I apologize for all errors in this text, but english is not my mother tongue).

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  7. I find tutorials handy as well. Just because I have always done something one way doesn't mean I can't do it better...old dogs can learn new tricks!

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  8. I always enjoy your tutorials, please keep doing them! Your corners are beautifully square. I'll have to try that wooden spoon trick.

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  9. I LOVE! your tutorials and would be very sad if you didn't keep on posting them! I always learn something and it is always interesting to see how someone else does it.


    I'm quite certain that only a small group of people are offended by online tutorials (and certainly never by tutorials such as yours!), but maybe they bark the loudest.
    If I don't like someone's work or think it's sloppy, well, then I just go on and don't read the tutorial (or the blog). My choice. Some "newbies" maybe just don't know any better. As long as people don't try to make money out of bad tutorials, I shrug my shoulders.

    Thank you for posting yours. I think this (and not ugly discussions about who does what) - learning from each other and sharing - makes the online sewing community such a nice place to be.

    How could I ever try to make my corners as nice as yours, if you didn't show us how? :)
    (I've got a long way to go...sometimes lazy gets the better of me, but it doesn't pay.)

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  10. Thanks for sharing. It is perfect.

    I felt the same about posting tutorials. And came to the conclusion that if people don't like them, they just can go to another blog. I will continue writing a tutorial now and then and hope you do the same.

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  11. So professional! My motto is that should anyone pick up a handmade garment, they shouldn't have raised eyebrows when viewing the inside of the garment.
    Thanks for the tip on the wooden mallet - my next acquisition for my sewing room!

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  12. I learn so much with your posts! I just finished a pair of brown capris, but the fabric is a bit thick, like jeans-thick. I did all the understitch, but then I had to topstitch the whole waist band. The bulk was great at some the seam, now I know how can I reduce it! Thank you!

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  13. It makes me sad that people get nasty about things like that. I read blogs because it's real people with home sewing machines and I enjoy the reality of their experiences. If I want perfection, sometimes beyond my skills I will buy a couture book.
    I've learnt stacks from your blog and think this is a great post!
    And those nasty people? Well they should listen to my mum - if you can't say anything nice - don't say anything at all. Trolls are for Facebook and twitter, not the lovely supportive world of sewing blogs.

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  14. Every tutorial is a possible chance to learn something new. If I don't like what I see - no-one is making me follow those instructions. I do like seeing the inner workings of projects made by others.

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  15. A well done tutorial is worth its weight in gold. Yours are all of that, so please don't stop - I'm learning so much from them!

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  16. Great post and I love to see the inner workings. I am with you - proper trimming can make or break a garment. As for tutorials, I figure readers can judge by the quality of the work whether to follow or not. I do write a lot of the "how I sewed it" posts but I figure it is a sewing blog after all, and I don't know what else to write sometimes. Also, I have learned so much from reading blogs, despite sewing for many years. Keep 'em coming.

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  17. Wow, very pretty and lots of great tips! I really love how you finish the inside of your garments to perfection. :)

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  18. Thanks for sharing your tips! As usual, the pictures are great and really help me to understand.

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  19. Please carry on posting your tips, showing inner workings and so on. It's so useful - it's one of the things that gets me looking at sewing blogs. Your tips are always really good.

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  20. Thanks Carolyn for your blog and your tutes, I always find them useful and fun. I too will try the wooden spoon trick now and agree that understitching is key (which of course I haven't always done!! :()

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  21. Thanks Carolyn for your post. Definitely keep on writing those tutes - very informative. I always learn from them so don't worry about anyone else's opinion - it's Your Blog after all.

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  22. Great tutorial! Love your perfect finish!

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  23. Thank you for your great tutorial. The vogue pattern you mentioned (8333) for your invisible zipper facing: which one is that?

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  24. Glad to find another white/black hidden thread cheater...I do the same thing!

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  25. Beautiful finish. Thank you for the tutorial.

    I too have read the comments about amateur tutorials and I must admit to being a bit sceptical about the points they raise. The people writing these tutorials are clearly writing about a technique that works for them. It may not be the traditional way or doing something or even the best way of doing something but if it works it really doesn't matter.

    As a newbie I'm keen to learn all I can and if I see a tutorial I think will be useful I save it for future reference. I know what sort of finish I want on my garments and if I see something I think doesn't match that standard I will ignore it.

    The standard of finish on a garment is a personal preference some people will be less fussy than others and there is nothing wrong with this.

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  26. Do not let negative comments from the "SEWING GODS" have any influence on posting your sewing tutorials. There are sewist at all levels. If a newbie sewist post a tutorial that is not perfect the sewing community should embrace it and not critize it, because given time the newbie sewist will become an advance/expert sewist. Thank you for taking the time to post your tutorial.

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  27. Thank you! Anonymous asking about Vogue 8333: it is a jacket pattern with some terrific tips for achieving a very high standard of finish.
    The pattern I used to make these capri pants is Vogue 1115, and did not contain any of these tips.

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  28. ozviking: Pinterest is an excellent place to gather great ideas together! Thank you for those kind words :)

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  29. Your work is so beautiful, and something we can all aspire towards :) As for negative people - to me I see it as this: we are bloggers, not professionals. Each of us posts our own personal journey, and if it helps someone then, all the better. Blogging for me is like a journal; I never claim to be an expert - far from it! I just like to share my journey :)

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  30. Genius tip with offsetting the clips in a curved seam! So simple yet so effective. Thank you.

    I love blog tutorials, they are generally better explained than the pattern instructions (who draws those weird diagrams??). Keep up the most excellent work :)

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  31. Thanks for all the tips. I'll need to try the thing with the wooden spoon because I don't think my corners are ever as square as yours there. About the matching thread: do you apply those principles for the overlocker as well?

    Kathleen

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  32. Symon makes a great point about blogging being a journey. We're learning; it just happens to be on a public platform! And as Beth says, a reader can quickly judge the quality of content. So, you know, pays your money (except you don't, this is all free stuff!), takes your choice. Personally, I always make it clear that I am not preaching from on high, only from my modest little foothills of sewing learning. I encourage readers to add their own better-informed opinions. Please don't stop your tutorials! They're amazing and inspiring. With under stitching - I completely agree that this is a very important step. I can hardly ever get my under stitching line right to each end, though, because of zips and the like getting in the way of my foot. Any tips or hints? Thank you!

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  33. Thanks ladies!
    Kathleen; no, I stick to just one set of overlocker threads for a project.
    Karen; I agree, it is impossible to stitch right up into that corner, you can only go so far because of the foot. It helps to clip the seam allowance right at that furthest point you think you can go, usually at about 2cm in :)

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  34. Wow! that's a very neat finishing! Thanks for sharing all this information, I really appreciate your tutorials. I have also seen discredit thrown on online tutorials and I don't really understand why: just as in real life, there are some very good ones and some very bad ones. But with just a little pratice it's easy to make the difference between the two. I hope the current trend will no stop sewists offering tutorials!

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  35. You are a good teacher and it would be a loss if you didn't continue sharing your knowledge.

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  36. You are a good teacher and it would be a loss if you didn't continue sharing your knowledge.

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