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Thread tracing
How do you do it?
drsue
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drsue
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Date: 4/3/04 7:44 PM

I'm making a Claire Shaeffer pattern that uses couture techniques.  You are supposed to thread trace the grain lines.  I understand how to do the stitching itself.  What I don't understand is how you do this accurately.  Do you use tracing paper first to transfer from the pattern piece and then thread trace?  Or do you fold the pattern back and sew along side the folded pattern.  Or is there some magic way to sew through the pattern piece yet not destroy it?

Stitchology

Stitchology
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Date: 4/3/04 8:08 PM

You are supposed to do this before or after you cut out the pieces? Maybe she wants a really accurate grain line for laying out. I think she wants you to stitch along one vertical (warp) thread with a contrast to clearly mark the grain. You can then put your pattern marking over it or carefully place it parallel. Sometimes even a small deviation from the grain can cause warping and distort the fit.

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Georgene
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Georgene
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Date: 4/3/04 8:32 PM

For any sewing, not just couture, the grain line of the fabric is of primary importance.  It's just that we are more casual about respecting the grain lines if we are not following couture techniques.

For cutting a couture garment, you need to have the grain line of the fabric established before you can even begin to lay the pattern down on the cloth.

To establish the grain line you have to first find the grain line.  This is a lot easier on some fabrics than on others.

If there is an obvious vertical grain line, you can follow it with your needle and contrast thread.  If it is not so obvious, then sometimes the only way is to measure from the selvedge edge to the point where you want to pass your thread.
Pulling a weft thread or tearing along the cross grain can establish the horizontal grain.

Needless to say, you won't spend the time doing this with $1.00/yd fabric from Walmart.  Putting in the time to make a couture garment pays off with your fine fabrics.  It permits you to cut your silhouette with confidence and allows you to make adjustments to the fit from right side to left side with exactitude.

I would probably give myself bigger seam allowances than are usually called for when cutting a couture garment.  It gives you the freedom to alter a garment, even years later.  No 3/8" seam allowances for me!

I made a grey pinstripe suit that I called my "banker's drag" years ago when I was about 3 sizes smaller than I am now.  I was able to alter the garment that had many hours of work in it to fit me in my new 'queen' size, due to bigger seam allowances in most of the lengthwise seams.

drsue
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drsue
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Date: 4/3/04 11:11 PM

This pattern (and there seems to be a whole series of them through Vogue) goes into a lot of instructional detail about these techniques.  In addition to the grain line you are supposed to thread trace all the pattern markings, including seam lines!  I was just wanting to thread trace the line for a crease (along the front of the pant legs.)  Based on the instructions you are supposed to do this after cutting out the fabric.  Maybe a few pins to mark a few points of the line, followed by chalk, followed by the thread?    I am using nice fabric but not awesome fabric.  I have an old sewing book and it to gives instructions on making thread tracings (on cut out fabric) but doesn't say how your are supposed to be able to transfer it accurately from the pattern piece.  

All of your suggestions are gratefully appreciated.

KathleenS
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KathleenS  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/4/04 0:36 AM

The last time I used thread tracing I marked the lines with tracing/carbon paper first then thread traced.  But I know what you mean, I'm not sure what Claire Shaeffer wants you to do.  I'll have to check her book.

Asa Hagstrom
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Asa Hagstrom
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Date: 4/4/04 5:21 AM

Docsew, since the crease line should be straight, how about leaving the pattern piece pinned to the fabric only on one side of the crease line (either the left or the right side, whichever). Then you can fold the pattern carefully on the crease line. This exposes the fabric underneath, and you can thread trace right beneath the fold.

This is a method I often use to place pattern pieces on the straight grain, assuming that there is a clear grainline to be followed in the fabric (woven stripes or similar), basically it's the same method but the other way around. Hope it makes sense.

drsue
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drsue
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Date: 4/4/04 2:09 PM

As suggested I checked Shaefer's book, no luck.  She barely mentions thread tracing except to say it's suitable for fine fabrics.  I think I will fold the pattern and mark with chalk, then thread trace.  The only advantage I can see to thread tracing is that it marks both sides.  (This is actually a big advantage for some things.)  Thanks for all the input.

KathleenS
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Date: 4/5/04 4:56 AM

I had a look in the book (Couture Sewing Techniques) and I'm not sure whether I was looking in a different place or what, but she says to either use dressmaker's carbon paper or to do exactly what Asa says (fold the pattern back and stitch right under the fold line).

Thread tracing is visible on both sides, and is more durable than chalk marks (but you can always take it out when you want to).

Good luck with it!

Kathleen

drsue
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drsue
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Date: 4/5/04 8:56 PM

Kathleen:  I guess I was looking at the wrong book!  I have Fabric Sewing Guide but not Couture Sewing (as I don't plan to do much couture sewing and the first book has more information that I know what to do with!!!;)  I did end up doing what Åsa suggested and it turned out pretty well.  This pattern is very interesting in terms of its instructions.  Completely unlike any other pattern I have ever made.  I'll review it when I'm done, hopefully it will turn out well.

PhyllisC
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Date: 4/6/04 10:12 AM

Susan Khalje has an interesting technique that I’ve used successfully.  First, you have to make muslin.  Add a 2 inch seam allowance, and a trace each seam, grain line and other marks with pattern marking paper and a smooth tracing wheel.  Then, after the muslin is cut out, each seam and mark is sew once again on the machine (use a high contrast thread color such as red).  Sew up the muslin with a different color thread (like black) and begin to fit.

Essentially, as you work with the muslin, you’ll never loose track of your original seams and marks, and it’s much easier to make alterations.   After alteration, the muslin becomes the pattern for cutting the fashion fabric.  Now the grain line thread traced by hand, and then the pattern pieces placed and cut.

The seams and marks from the muslin are marked as before with a smooth tracing wheel ad pattern marking paper that is as close as possible to the base color of the fashion fabric.

After this, the final garment is constructed.  This may seem like a ton of work, but it really maintains the integrity of the original pattern, and the once you’ve made the muslin you basically have already constructed the garment, so there are no surprises, and you’ll know where every seam is because you’ve marked it.

Fro complete details, check out her very excellent book: “Bridal Couture: Fine Sewing Techniques for Wedding Gowns and Evening Wear”, which has been reviewed here on PR.

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