Friday, January 18, 2013

Hollyburn Sew-along - Choices to make before starting to sew

Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt Sew-Along

Welcome to the next post in the Hollyburn Sew-Along! Incase you've missed any, here are the posts we've had so far:
Inspiration (Part 1)
Inspiration (Part 2)
Choosing a view
Choosing and Buying Fabric
Changing the Length
An Interview with Tasia
Pattern Alteration - Removing the Pockets
Prewash and Prepare Fabric
Thoughts on Grading Up in Size

Today is the last preparation post before we start sewing on Monday. I've covered many of the choices you need to make already, but there are just some last few little things that you need to think about before actually starting the sewing steps.

Seam Finishes
The main thing to think about is how you're planning on finishing the seams. Just to recap the basics on seam finishes - the function is to stop your fabric from unravelling at the edges, that's it, nice and simple. However, there are quite a lot of different options, and which you choose depends on both your fabric and your preferences. If you'd like to learn more about seam finishes, Sunni has done a great series of posts on the topic, which you can see here.

When deciding on which seam finish to use, I like to think through the following questions:
  • How prone to unravelling is the fabric? If it isn't really going to unravel your seam finish can be less serious than if it's fabric that unravels just from you looking at it.
  • How thick is the fabric? some seam finishes are more bulky than others, and thus you'll want to avoid them with thicker fabrics and go for a seam finish with less bulk. 
  • Will you be able to see the seam allowances through the fabric? If your fabric is see-through at all you'll want to make sure that you're happy with how the seam allowances look through the fabric. For example, with chiffon fabric you'll be able to see the seam allowances - I talked about this a bit when I made my first Chiffon Pendrell blouse.
  • What do you want the insides to look like? A lot of the time the final choice purely comes down to what you want your garment to look like on the inside. Are you happy with a zig-zagged edge or do you want to go to town and do bound/french seams so there's not a raw edge to be found?
  • How much will the seams need to withstand? Seams in some spots will require more protection than others with regards to finishing. For example, seams within a lined bodice would require less thorough finishing than the seams of a skirt or unlined garment, as they're protected by the lining.
As part of the sew-along I will be finishing the seams on my black skirt with a zig-zag finish, and the pink linen skirt will have a combination of french seams and hong-kong bound seams (so there's not a raw edge in sight!). So I'll be running through how to do those three ways as part of the tutorials.

What I suggest doing is to use some of your scraps after you've cut out your pattern pieces to practice/try out some seam finishes - I pretty much always do this before I start sewing to check that my machine is set up correctly and behaving itself, even if I already know which seam finishes I'm going to do.

Have you got everything?
Ok, so one last check before we get going! Have you:

  • Got the pattern, worked out your size, and made any necessary/desired alterations?
  • Chosen your fabric (and lining if applicable) and pre-washed and pressed it?
  • Gathered the required notions - Zip, matching thread, interfacing?
  • Gathered the required tools - pins, scissors, un-pick, marking pencil/pen/chalk, sewing machine...
If you answered yes to all of the above, you're ready for Monday when we start sewing! If not, there's still a few days before we get going, and you can always catch up (the posts will still be here even after the sew-along has finished.

Does anybody have any other thoughts about choosing a seam finish? Are you ready (and raring) to go?

Missed any of the sew-along posts, or just want to re-read them? You can find the full list here.

1 comment:

  1. Ok - I'm all ready for tomorrow - I've cut my fabric and lining and interfaced the pieces that needed it. Excited!


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