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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Sewing a corner seam ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Sewing a corner seam
Member since 5/2/11
Posts: 36
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Date: 10/27/12 2:34 AM

I've recently wrapped up working on a muslin for Vest "B" from the Vogue 7488 pattern.

Vest B:

In two place the pattern calls for two seams to be sewn in one go, with each seam being perpendicular to the other. You have to pivot at the inside corner, line the other seam up which requires distorting the other seam, and then sew through. If this were an outside corner, it would be easy, but these are inside corners. I wish I had a better way of describing the process, but it seems very tricky to get the operation done smoothly. It took me a few days to figure out what the pattern was even asking me to do.

While I am sewing with rather stiff cotton muslin, the corners always pucker. I'm not sure if this will flatten out when sewn with the actual wool or not.

Here's a pic of the instruction from the pattern:

You can see how the lower layer has its seam allowances folded over.

So I guess I'm wondering if seams like this have a name, and if there are an cunning ways to sew them smoothly every time.

-- Edited on 10/27/12 2:34 AM --


Miss Fairchild
Miss Fairchild  Friend of PR
Member since 8/24/02
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In reply to Traiven3d <<

Date: 10/27/12 2:53 AM

Oh, tricky! I once had this same problem on a Butterick jacket pattern and most recently came across it on a Silhouette Pattern, Angie's Top (click on the pattern to see the line drawing)
What I can offer is this: try clipping to the corner on the uppermost piece, from the outside to the inside. This will allow you to pivot more easily. Also, stitch using a smaller stitch when you come to the corner, and don't change the length until you are well past it. This is a trick used for sewing box pillows. In all cases, pin well. And finally, practice this technique on scraps.
BTW: Handsome vest!!!

"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

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petro  Friend of PR
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Date: 10/27/12 4:59 AM

I second MissFairchild's suggestions of small stitch and clipping. If the fabric is likely to fray a lot you can stay stitch the corner piece first, or fuse a small patch of light interfacing to strengthen the fabric. In commercial sewing, people usually sew right to the corner and clip right in to the needle (down), then continue with the other side, but I am generally too nervous of getting a hole at the corner, and clip first just enough of the seam allowance to get the turn under the machine , then go back and clip right to the corner so it presses well.
I think the wool will probably be easier, its quite a forgiving fibre, and presses well, but if its a loose weave wool I'd have a practice on a spare bit first to see if a fusible patch or stay stitch is a good idea.

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In reply to Traiven3d <<
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Date: 10/27/12 5:01 AM

I'm going to suggest that you sew this with NO pivoting and no backstitching. Backstitching can "moosh" up in small spaces like that. Basically, "break the stitching" at the pivot point, but don't use backstitching. ("break the stitching" is a phrase I ran across in some pattern instruction sheet or other. Took me forever to figure it out, too.)

This "turn 180 degrees and over sew to lock the stitches" is something I picked up from a TV quilting show, where they were sewing hexagons by machine. It's actually a clever way to meet up two lines of stitching very precisely without pivoting the line of stitching, and without backstitching.

Here's what you do:

Sew one part of the seam to the pivot point. STOP on the pivot point with your needle down. Now, turn the entire piece 180 degrees under the needle so you can now sew on top of the stitching line you just sewed. Sew a few stitches (3,4,5,6 something like that) to lock the line of stitching. Remove the piece from the machine and clip your threads.

Now --- sew the second part of the seam the same way. You can either sew the whole seam up to the pivot point, stop, turn 180 degrees and lock stitch
you can start with the piece turned 180 degrees, put your needle down into the stitching line close to the pivot point, sew a few stitches to the pivot point, stop with needle down, turn everything around 180 degrees, then sew back over your lock stitches and down the rest of the seam. (Edited to add: You can sew both parts to the seam this way - starting close to the pivot point. That might actually work better, since that's the spot that is giving your grief.)

I hope that makes sense, and I hope it actually applies to your problem (that I'm not misinterpreting your question).


-- Edited on 10/27/12 5:33 AM --

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In reply to Traiven3d <<
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Date: 10/27/12 3:58 PM

I think the cunning way would be not to forget, that you don't even need to use the sewing machine for just everything, just always and you always got your hands and a hand sewing needle also.

This is one of those tight hard to control places that I think it pays off in good results, to just know how to hand sew sometimes. And nothing wrong with that at all, and actually use it sometimes, at your whim. You don't have to sew that 90 degree right angle with insetting that separate piece in there, all in one fell swoop of machine stitching with no breaks in it at all, and actually I would probably not. You can always choose to ignore the pattern instructions if you wish. You don't even have to only do it all by machine either, as doing a tiny bit of hand sewing right there, would not be cheating at all. Since you sew, you can do anything you want!

If I was having those issues, and wanted everything to be just perfect on the real one, or the test one, and was not getting "graded by anyone on doing a 90 degree turn in a difficult place, only by sewing machine) then I might do it more like this:

You could sew the long side of it first up fairly to close to the corner. Then I might sew the short side of it, up to fairly close to the corner and stop. You could back stitch at the end of those stitching lines or not. Or if you thought that made it at all bulky or puckered, you can always just pull threads to the back and hand tie off or use a hand sewing needle to do that. Now when you trim a bit, and press from the front fashion side of the fabric garment, where you can actually see exactly what is happening at all times, you can get that pressed turn just perfect, but the very corner of it, will actually not be yet even stitched down. That is no big deal at all. Just go back in from the top side of it, with a hand sewing needle and same thread, and slip stitch it down invisable from the top side right there a tiny bit, and it would look and be perfect then. Just another of numerous ways to do it.

Is that cheating- I don't think so at all, just maybe doing what works best and is the quickest, and most accurate even, at least for me, or maybe just depending on the person and how you like to sew, but only if you feel that way.

No rule that everything has to be done by only machine, everyplace at all, unless you are some factory that must make the very most of something in the least amount of time, to be a factory. A lot of the very best and nicest (and even very most expensive ) garments, might have a bit or a lot of hand stitching in them. So that is always just fine and O.K. too. You get to use that part at your whim instead. So I don't think the goal is to in particular, always do it like some factory some place might, as you can even do it better sometimes, as you are not one.

I think you actually will have less of an issue on that 90 degree inset corner there, with steam-able, more mold-able, more forgiving, more bendable wool on the real one though, than just just some stiff cotton muslin.

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thumbsup 3 members like this.
Date: 10/27/12 5:52 PM

Don't pivot.
Rather, sew it as two straight stitches, and simply sew them off the edge. Clip the corner and then press one seam down, then the other. Should give a really sharp corner without even having to poke it out and it doesn't induce the inherent inaccuracy of stopping midstitch and pivoting.

Actually, after re-reading your post it seems that you know how to sew a corner seam, but you don't realize that inside and outside corners are the same. Remember, this is internal seaming, so there's no need to sew it all in a single seam - just sew from the opposite direction that you're thinking of and it functions identicaly to an outside corner. save the pivoting shenanigans for the topstitching. lemme know if you need diagrams...
-- Edited on 10/27/12 5:52 PM --
-- Edited on 10/27/12 6:01 PM --

SandiMacD  Friend of PR
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 10/28/12 10:00 AM

I has this same problem with an inside corner of a dress bodice that was angled. I practiced on 2-3 test muslins and tried a few of the techniques posted. Came out OK but I would not attempt that pattern again until now. It is so nice to get such of variety of suggestions. I never considered hand stitches- and I LOVE doing them. I still hem everything by hand because I just enjoy that moment. It is quiet, I am usually in evening conversation with someone I care about or even a favorite TV show. I recall my mom and I sitting together as we sewed by hand, knowing that this was the "last step" and that tomorrow I would have a new dress or skirt to wear. Hand sewing just brings back a nostalgic smile.

sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

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