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Forum > Beginner's Forum > zig zag seam finishing ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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zig zag seam finishing
It's OK if it looks like chenille?
Minnesota USA
Member since 2/16/12
Posts: 366
Skill: Beginner
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                                                     2 Replies

Date: 6/13/12 5:43 PM

I guess it's not surprising that I can find NO photos of zig-zag finished seams after they've been washed. But I was kind of surprised to find chenille on my seams. Plus, I spend quite a bit of time cleaning up escaped threads with my scissors. I read that one should experiment with the length and width of the zig zag stitch depending on the material, but does that mean you do a bunch of samples and then wash them a couple times? Because that sounds excessive.

I bought a rotary pinking blade, but I imagine that will be even worse over time.

Just let me know if this is normal, and also that it appears to be normal to re-press all the seams open again each time you iron it???

tourist  Friend of PR
British Columbia CANADA
Member since 7/23/07
Posts: 6793
Skill: Intermediate
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In reply to solveg

Date: 6/13/12 8:27 PM

Totally normal. It all depends on how fussy you are about how the inside of the garment looks. You can always zig zag the seam allowances together to avoid the temptation to press them open again every wear. I never, ever was inclined that way myself.

------ to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

tinflutterby  Friend of PR
California USA
Member since 8/9/11
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Date: 6/14/12 3:41 AM

I think if I were inclined to this I would underline everything and catch stitch the allowances to the underlining like I do for fine sewing. Over time it would save much more time.
Marie367  Friend of PR
Ohio USA
Member since 5/28/11
Posts: 5762
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In reply to solveg

Date: 6/14/12 8:46 AM

That sounds normal depending on the fabric. Before I had a serger I either pinked the edges or zigzagged. I used a medium length and width zigzag about 1/4" from the the seam and trimmed. Sometimes I did the seam together rather than opening the seam especially long length wise seams. I have not heard of a rotary pinking blade-I use Fiskars pinking sheers. Even with my serger, I still pink some edges. You can expect some raveling but that will settle down after a wash or two.
fourkid  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/15/12 9:00 AM

I vary my seam finishes based on the fabric, garment use, and the look I want.

Projects that aren't heavily used or are something kids will grow out of quickly - I might just pink.

Projects that need a bit more SA stability, I might do just a zig-zag (I always do test strips to see how it will look and to make sure it isn't puckering.)

Projects that I don't want the extra weight of all the zig-zag thread, but it still isn't a top of the line piece, I will pink the edge and add a straight seam along the pinked edge.

If I don't want a pinked edge to show through on the right side of the fabric then I might just do a straight line of stitching at the edge.

Sometimes I have done a hand overstitch where nothing else would work or look right.

For my finer garments, I have recently bought some rayon seam binding and plan to learn to bind the SA's and I also plan to learn to do hong kong finishes.

My personal preference is I don't care for serger seams, but I recently got a serger and plan to learn to use it for some projects - sometime soon

I am always learning and testing. It is totally reasonable to do up swatches and toss them in the wash to see how they react. It depends on the project and its worth to you. An investment in expensive fabric and planning for long term use deserves a lot of testing. Most of my other projects I learn through experience of how I want something to look.


Member since 5/4/11
Posts: 835
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Date: 6/15/12 9:37 AM

Yes, that's what happens. And it's why I don't bother with zig zag. It doesn't really bind the edge of the fabric at all, which is what you need to do to stop fraying completely. You get the same result with pinking the seam allowances, but pinkie is faster and I think neater than zig zag. If you're fussy about the insides, or your kids are the kind who are sensitive to every little itch, you could use French seams, flat felled seams or bound seams. I'm very fussy and lean toward clean finishes, but if it's a very casual thing for the kids and the fabric doesn't fray too much I pink.


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