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French & flat fell seams for silk garments
I'm too curvey!!!
meanjean
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meanjean  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Texas USA
Member since 5/4/05
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Date: 4/1/12 8:09 PM

Everything I read tells me that if I'm going to make tops in lightweight silk (charmeuse, jacquard, etc.), then for finishing seams I should use French or flat fell seams.

That would be fine if I weren't so curvey! I'm not a lithe, lean 25-ear-old anymore. I was a naturally curvey gal to begin with, but now am a "padded" 53-year-old, and all my padding just exacerbates the curves. For instance, my cup size is now in the G-H-I range. I've worked out that the most flattering style of top for me requires princess seams, front and back, with rather deep curves in the lines.

So, I want to make some tops out of lightweight silk, but I can't imagine using French or flat fell seams. No way would it work! Has anyone encountered this dilemma? What do you do?

Thanks!
Jean

------
Jean

"A woman of valor, who can find? ... She seeks out wool and linen, and her hands work willingly ..." Proverbs 3:13-18

Heidi Cooper
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Heidi Cooper  Friend of PR
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In reply to meanjean <<
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Date: 4/1/12 8:25 PM

Here is a Threads article on seam-finishes-for-silks it includes some, like a Hong Kong finish, that will work on curves.

I am also busty and work with silk a lot :-) on princess seams I like to do a version of the 'Pinked and stitched' method, but I use a longer stitch length for the 'stitched' part and slightly gather it up on the curved piece, which makes it lay flat when you press it open.

I hope that makes sense...

heidi

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“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” -Mahatma Gandhi
“ Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Now Blogging at http://sewexotic.blogspot.com/

meanjean
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meanjean  Friend of PR
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In reply to Heidi Cooper <<


Date: 4/1/12 9:21 PM

Thanks, Heidi. That does make sense. What depth do you trim to before you pink? Any issues with fraying? I'm thinking I will probably handwash sometimes, dry clean sometimes.
-- Edited on 4/1/12 9:21 PM --

------
Jean

"A woman of valor, who can find? ... She seeks out wool and linen, and her hands work willingly ..." Proverbs 3:13-18

Heidi Cooper
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Heidi Cooper  Friend of PR
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In reply to meanjean <<
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Date: 4/2/12 1:16 AM

I usually just do the trimming with the pinking shears, or most often with the pinking blade of my rotary cutter. Though trimming an already sewn curved seam with a rotary cutter is not for the faint of heart

Since much of the curve is on the bias and you are pinking it, there really should be only minimal fraying, if any, unless it is a VERY loose weave.

I always wash my silks prior to sewing, with the exception of taffeta, and wash the finished garment gently in cold water, hang dry.

HTH
heidi

------
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” -Mahatma Gandhi
“ Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Now Blogging at http://sewexotic.blogspot.com/

jenleeC
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jenleeC  Friend of PR
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In reply to meanjean <<


Date: 4/2/12 3:27 AM

I have just finished V1247 in a very fine silk charmeuse. I used french seams throughout with no problems at all. The underarm seam on this pattern is quite curved. Straight seams are obviously easier, but where the seam is curved the french seams were fine provided I did not make them too wide. I sewed 3/8" seams first, then trimmed, turned and sew 2/8" seams. On straight seams I will sometimes do it the other way round so I don't have to bother trimming - 2/8 first, then turn and 3/8 seams.

With a slippery silk charmeuse, be prepared to do a little hand basting where achieving a nice seam line would be hard to do with just pins, such as along a princess seam line.

I like flat felled seams for more stable shirting fabrics such as cotton and linen, but not so much for fine silks and chiffon.

If you are really not comfortable with french seams on your fine fabric you could do a false flat felled seam - sew a normal 5/8" seam, trim just a little (or use pinking shears if you have them), press both seam allowances to one side and top-stitch from the right side of the fabric. HTH

------
Jenny, Perth, WA

DreinPA
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DreinPA  Friend of PR
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In reply to meanjean <<


Date: 4/15/12 9:47 AM

I've recently done a curved french seam where after completing the seam I still clipped it to lie flat. There was no issue in completing the seam itself, only in pressing. Clip on an angle and your edges will be close to bias. It might reduce rather than eliminate fraying, but overall still presents a nicer finish.
I did 3/8 first, trim, then 1/4. HTH.

Andrea

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Don't confuse accessibility with ease; just because anybody can pick up a needle and thread doesn't mean sewing quality garments is easy.

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