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Question about pattern instructions
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heathergwo
heathergwo
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Date: 7/1/12 5:56 PM

Ok... so I've encountered this step in my current pattern and I've seen it many times before. It says to "baste a certain stitch" and "then topstitch as basted".

I'm not quite sure why one would need to baste something first and then topstitch over it. Why is this?

In the past, I've just stitched the one time in a regular stitch size and that's it. Is there a benefit or real purpose for stitching twice?

Just curious... thanks!

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Elona
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In reply to heathergwo <<
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Date: 7/1/12 6:32 PM

In my experience, it's just to stabilize things and make sure the alignment is correct before proceeding with the final stitching. Sometimes there's tension or puckers, twisting, or rolling that won't show up until after you do the final stitching--at which point you curse yourself, rip out, re-press and so on, and ask yourself why the heck you didn't take the time to baste!

CM_Sews
CM_Sews
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Date: 7/1/12 7:01 PM

Elona explained it very well.

Also, "baste" can mean pin basting or hand basting or machine basting.

I agree, though, that running a basting stitch on top of the final stitching line has never made much sense to me, especially when the final stitching line is going to show. In the case of top stitching, I put my basting stitching near, but not ON the top stitching line.

I used to think that hand basting was "hard" and took too much time. I've come to realize that it is actually very quick (the stitches need not be small, nor even especially careful - it's all coming out later), and it can hold everything just perfectly - no slipping - while I do the tricky part. And no pins piercing my fingertips every 20 seconds.

On the other hand, when attaching a gathered piece (skirt to bodice, for instance), one method I use it to pin everrything in place, then run a line of machine basting (very long stitch) right on the final stitching line, using matching thread. Then I can check for folds or uneven gathering, remove a few machine basting stitches, fix the problem, and re-baste with the machine. Then I'll do the final line of stitching right on top of the basting stitching, and leave the basting in place (it matches, after all).

CMC
-- Edited on 7/1/12 7:05 PM --

Vintage Joan
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In reply to heathergwo <<


Date: 7/1/12 7:15 PM

I would take this to mean hand-baste it first -- to hold things snugly in place right where you plan to topstitch. I couldn't topstitch without hand-basting first. Fabric can shift and pucker while you're machine stitching -- I like to be sure.

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heathergwo
heathergwo
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Date: 7/1/12 8:32 PM

Thanks for the explantion!

In this particular case, it really doesn't make sense to me. I'm folding under a short facing on the neckline of a dress. It's asking you to first baste the facing down and then topstitch over the basting. I honestly can't see a reason in this particular instance, so I think I'm just gonna do what I usually do which is skip the basting and go for it!

So far, when I've skipped the basting step, I've never had to rip out my topstitching and start with the basting again, so I hope this won't be the first time :-)

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NhiHuynh
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In reply to heathergwo <<


Date: 7/1/12 9:54 PM

I think you're on the right track. Patterns aren't always right nor do they have the best way to do something. Your noodle is a way better judge. Even if it goes badly, you can pick out the topstitch. Not the end of the world and imagine all the time you will save on future projects if it works just fine without basting.

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LynnRowe
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Date: 7/3/12 11:05 PM

I hand-baste just about every seam; it's relaxing for me, I enjoy it, can do it very quickly, it eliminates any rippling, tunneling and/or slippage, and it makes the permanent sewing easy and perfect.

I also press any joined seams (such as facing to garment) and hems before permanently sewing, and you need to have temporary basting in first to do that.

My sewing began with tailoring and couture...so now I even do temporary hand-basting with my "snack" sewing of knit tops.

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hilaryjade
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In reply to CM_Sews <<
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Date: 7/4/12 1:25 PM

Quote: CM_Sews
I used to think that hand basting was "hard" and took too much time. I've come to realize that it is actually very quick (the stitches need not be small, nor even especially careful - it's all coming out later), and it can hold everything just perfectly - no slipping - while I do the tricky part. And no pins piercing my fingertips every 20 seconds.

Thank you so much for pointing this out. I was struggling with getting a fly facing arranged just so for topstitching today, thought of this, grabbed a needle & some hot pink thread (the shorts I'm making are brown) and stitched around the fly facing from the inside - just a fast baste. Took a look, saw it was about right on the outside, topstitched and was done in a blink. Turns out a bit of hand basting was a much faster way to go!
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