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Message Board > Bridal and Formalwear Sewing > pucker free seams ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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pucker free seams
anyone have any tips for getting smooth seams?
dmariecouture
dmariecouture
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Date: 10/15/11 12:28 PM

In my pursuit of perfection, I am continually frustrated by puckery seams, especially in princess lines and the curved part over the bust. I am usually working in heavy-weight silks such as satin or mikado, underlined with silk organza. I've tried adjusting the settings on my machine or using different machines, but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. I've read that there are specialty threads that produce "pucker-free" seams - has anyone tried using them? If so, does it make a difference and where can I buy it? Any other tips would be greatly appreciated!

koo104
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Date: 10/15/11 7:50 PM

I use a microtex needle and a straight stitch throat plate with a presser foot that is flat on the bottom. Then go over each side of the seam flat with a iron to smooth out the stitches. When I press the seams open I like to use a dowel so I am only pressing at the crease and not leaving marks from the seam allowance edges. The other option is paper strips under the seam allowance to mask the edges. Princess seam curves, use a smaller stitch length and press over a ham to create the same shape as body.
There is a book on Bridal sewing by Susan Kahlje, that is a useful resource.
-- Edited on 10/15/11 7:51 PM --

Peter in NYC
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Date: 10/15/11 11:03 PM

Puckering suggests that your thread tension is too tight. And yes, definitely press a princess seam over a ham. Have you tried loosening your tension? Also: are you trimming your seam allowances and snipping all the way to the stitching? If you don't, the seam won't lie flat and will look puckered. Here's a photo I made of a princess seamed bodice (albeit in cotton, which has some give).

Photo 1

Photo 2

From the right side:

Photo 3

I'd try loosening the tension, pressing over a ham, and clipping those seam allowances closer to the seam, if you're not already.

Good luck!
-- Edited on 10/15/11 11:07 PM --
-- Edited on 10/16/11 11:52 AM --

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You'll be in stitches at malepatternboldness.com!

petro
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Date: 10/16/11 2:08 AM

How are you underlining? Are you cutting the two fabrics together and stitching them as one?

rmusic1
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Date: 10/16/11 5:48 AM

in my experience it does depend on the fabric you are using. Chiffon and silk lining for example even when hand basted have given me nightmares. So don't be too hard on yourself.

Alice Wang
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Date: 10/16/11 9:42 AM

I had a nightmare working with silk habotai lining as it would not stop puckering... after a few attempts with scrap material, I found that although the puckering still occurred, it was eased by:

1) using a very sharp needle;
2) loosening the thread tension (both upper and bobbin); and
3) lengthening stitching sizes.

I second clipping the seam allowances, but I would imagine that you're already doing that.

HTH

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Follow the progress of my wedding dress in the making and other distracting projects at: http://smoonbeam.blogspot.com/

clotheshorse
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In reply to dmariecouture


Date: 10/16/11 10:29 AM

I haven't used it on heavy weight silk but on light weight silk, fine machine embroidery thread and a microtex needle works like a charm.

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Viking D1, 1+, Pfaff 7570, Singer 503 Rocketeer, 66, 15-91, 301, Featherweight 6 Flock, Babylock Enlighten & CS and Pfaff Creative Performance

Anne Frances
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Date: 10/16/11 11:47 AM

Quote:
I've read that there are specialty threads that produce "pucker-free" seams - has anyone tried using them?

I think the thread you are thinking of is Alterfil - Sewing diva Els and Tany of Couture et Tricot both speak well of it. It's a German thread made mostly for industry but with what is said to be an anti-pucker coating that works particularly when ironed. I haven't found it easy to get hold of, and for a long time the company, who were very helpful, said they could only take payment by bank transfer, which would have been complex and expensive from outside Germany. Now they have an online ordering facility (alterfil-shop.de) which looks as if it might take a credit card I really must try again, although I haven't yet got around to it. I would be very interested to know if anyone else has experience of it. The other problem is that the website seems to be entirely in German and I can't see that they have an English version. An online translation facility might help.
koo104
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Date: 10/16/11 12:24 PM

I have forgotten to mention thread. I use a finer thread, either silk or mercerized cotton. The straight stitch throat plate and straight stitch presser foot, really help a lot! It keeps the fabric taut when going through the feed dogs. Stay away from Gutterman poly, it is to thick and stiff.

dmariecouture
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Date: 10/17/11 12:28 PM

Thanks for all the feedback! The puckering isn't terrible, and if it was just for me I wouldn't worry about it. However, I'm trying to get my designs into a high end bridal boutique, and the owner wants it PERFECT!

Yes, I am clipping and pressing the seams, sewing the underlining as one piece with the fashion fabric, and have been using the longest stitch length possible. The tension might be the problem, as my sewing machine is a WWII era industriual singer 101-W that I have an intense love hate relationship with. I have to keep the tension pretty tight or else it doesn't work. However, I've tried using a different machine and didn't notice much of the difference. Also, I have been using gutterman poly thread, so perhaps that is my problem! I will try ordering that german alterfil or using embroidery thread in the meantime with a microtex needle and see if that helps. Thanks again!

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