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Forum > Beginner's Forum > Question about lining up edges to sew ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Question about lining up edges to sew
marymary86
marymary86
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Date: 8/1/12 6:44 PM

I'm sewing Shelly by StyleArc. I buzzed a muslin together quickly to check fit (using some old DH t-shirts and now I'm using a good knit fabric.

I'm trying to use my best sewing techniques that I learned from the knit sew along led by Lynn Rowe (Lynn I really was paying attention!)

All that to say - I'm ready to sew the shoulder seams together and it seems like if I line them up so that the armhole sides match, the neck seems like it will be a little wonky.

My question is this - when you sew - do you take time to line up the intersecting lines exactly (in my case not just the shoulder seams but also where they will meet on the neck's edge and on the armhole edge?) If you do, exactly how do you do this?

I'm not really a beginner but this is a place I feel like I've been sloppy and I want to learn how to do it correctly.

eta - if I'm overthinking this - just say so!!


-- Edited on 8/1/12 6:44 PM --

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Mary


CM_Sews
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Date: 8/1/12 7:03 PM

I can't see your pattern pieces, so I may be misinterpreting your question.

Even though we line up the outer edges of the seam allowances to sew a seam, remember that what we really want to line up are the seam lines themselves, which are generally 5/8-inch (or whatever the seam allowance is for your pattern) away from the outer edge of the seam allowances. Using the outer edges of the fabric is a handy guideline for most seams. However, on some seams, the pieces will fit together in such a way that the seam line is NOT an exact "copy" of the edge of the fabric.

I've worked with patterns where there seem to be little "ears" that stick out a the neckline end of a shoulder seam. However, if you remember that the seam lines themselves must match up, when you sew the seam and then press the seam allowances open, those little ears fold over to lay flat and line up with the neckline.

For example, in this drawing, you can see the seam allowances pressed open. At the neckline, note how the ends of the seam allowances have different shapes. If you can, imagine that you fold those seam allowances flat against each other, the way they would be positioned when the seam was sewn. The top seam allowance of the sleeve would have a little "ear" that extends beyond the edge of the neckline. However, at the point where the actual seam lines are matched up, there's no extra seam allowance.

Gosh, I hope this makes sense.

CMC
-- Edited on 8/1/12 7:04 PM --

JEF
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JEF  Friend of PR
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In reply to marymary86 <<


Date: 8/1/12 7:06 PM

Sometimes back shoulder seems need to be eased to the front seam. At the neck edge, check that you are matching seam lines, which may have the cut edges form a little triangle that works out fine when you press the seam. style arc has different Seam allowances in different places so double check what the seam allowance is.

HTH,

JEF

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"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine." --Abraham Lincoln

marymary86
marymary86
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In reply to CM_Sews <<


Date: 8/1/12 7:10 PM

You are making perfect sense!

My seam allowance is only 1/4". I did figure out how to do this *I think* though you or others may have some good tips.

I slid the two pieces together pinning along the seam line and then opening up to check how the seam would look once it was sewn. I found the sweet spot but then the other side was off slightly. I decided I could ease that 1/8" in if I lined the other side correctly too.

I'm guessing I wasn't an accurate as I should have been when tracing off the pattern (I used a crayon!)

------
Mary


marymary86
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In reply to JEF <<


Date: 8/1/12 7:12 PM

That's a good point too JEF.

Thank you both - your comments are very helpful!

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Mary


LynnRowe
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In reply to marymary86 <<


Date: 8/1/12 7:44 PM

I do line them up exactly, and I then do a quick running-stitch handbaste to ensure they remain lined up exactly. The one I'm really ana...fus...particular about is the underarm intersection.

For the wonky neck part, the fabric edges on the sides of the neckline seam allowance won't line up exactly with each other, or shouldn't. Just ensure that the stitching lines are stacked one exactly on top of the other, and the top shoulder edges of fabric edges are even; ignore the little triangular overlap you'll get on the upper side area of the neckline.

As you've already seen, once sewn and with the seam pressed towards the back, your neckline curve will be smooth and even through the shoulder seam line, and the triangular bit of fabric follows the neckline curve.

Edit; if this is tough to visualize, I can do up a sample and take pics.

The bottom line is, you need to match the stitching (seam) lines at the neck, as that seam will form the smooth neckline curve.
-- Edited on 8/1/12 7:47 PM --

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I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

LynnRowe
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In reply to marymary86 <<


Date: 8/1/12 8:06 PM

That's perfect, you got it! The back seam should be the one that's just a touch longer when you have the stitching lines at the neckline matched up; then when you're feeding the fabric thru the machine, just hold the to fabric edges at the armhole together, which will mean you're very slightly stretchig the shorter front shoulder seam to fit the longer back.

That wee bit of extra length in the back is to fit over the shoulder blade.

Looking forward to seeing your new top and review!

------
I heart Panzy, Pfaff Creative Performance, the sewing machine love of my life!
And Baby (Enlighten serger), Victor (BLCS), Rupert (Pfaff 2023-knits expert) Ash (B350SE-Artwork), Kee (B750QEE-Panzy's BFF), Georgie (B560-Kee's baby sister) and the Feather-Flock!

Most of all, I heart Woo (HimmyCat). Until we meet again, my beautiful little boy. I love you.

marymary86
marymary86
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Georgia USA
Member since 7/20/08
Posts: 3154
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Date: 8/1/12 8:41 PM

It did work! The back eased in without a single pucker (I'm using a serger and also a strip of something nylon looking I bought long ago to use to stabilize shoulder seams). Thank you Lynn. It's good to know even the great ones take this much time. Part of me was feeling so dumb that it was taking so long!

Your description made perfect sense to me Lynn but I'm sitting here working with two seams exactly as you described. Pictures would be awesome for newbs - I know people still talk about the knit sewalong and I see the thread is often linked to.

I read a blog post from Kathleen F. recently describing how she walks a pattern after she drafts it. She has a you tube video demonstrating and that's what got me thinking about this as I started to stitch tonight. I'll come back with a link.

I'm also working with a knit that does what I tell it to do. I wish I had written down its name after I ordered it. It was a while ago. It has almost a crepe like feel to it and it's making a huge difference as I sew.


-- Edited on 8/1/12 8:43 PM --

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Mary


marymary86
marymary86
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Date: 8/1/12 8:51 PM

How to walk a pattern (Kathleen Fasanella )

This helped me see that just butting the edges of the fabric may not be enough when getting ready to stitch a seam.

Please note - I'm not saying the pattern wasn't drafted correctly. I just learned from reading and watching the video clip in the link above that simply butting two edges of fabric together isn't enough. I needed to match the seam allowances!

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Mary


stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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In reply to marymary86 <<


Date: 8/1/12 10:23 PM

Quote: marymary86
I'm not really a beginner but this is a place I feel like I've been sloppy and I want to learn how to do it correctly.

Mary, I am so glad you asked this question! I have thought about posting the same thing, several times! I'm not a beginner either, and I know you're supposed to match seam lines, not fabric edges--but I've never really heard before exactly *how* you're supposed to go about it. It sounds like it should just be intuitive... but that's not always so.

So thanks for asking! You're definitely not the only non-newbie who's wondered about this!

------
~Gem in the prairie

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