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Message Board > "Gigi's" Expert Forum - (READ ONLY) > help! topstitching narrow sleeve hem

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help! topstitching narrow sleeve hem
Melissabr
Melissabr
Intermediate
NY USA
Member since 9/18/02
Posts: 18
Date: 12/22/02 7:33 PM

I just made the Loes Hinse cowl top for the first time -- in a woolly knit. I love it, but it calls for topstitching the sleeve hems, and they are so narrow that they will not fit around my free arm. I was afraid to stretch them around the free arm and thus distort the stitching. I just stitched them without putting them around the arm, and the topstitching is not at all straight. No one but me will know, because of the fuzzy quality of this fabric, but how does one handle this????

Thank you so much!

Nan
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Nan
Advanced
ID
Member since 8/24/02
Posts: 119
Date: 12/22/02 10:26 PM

Melissa, if you turn the sleeves inside out you will have better ability to control your topstitching and watch where the sleeve edge hits your throat plate. If you don't have a good mark on your throat plate, lay down some tape (masking or other visible tape) at the appropriate distance. You'll have to sew only 2" or so at a time, and then readjust the sleeve so you can continue around the sleeve.
Hope this is clear, I'm sure Gigi can give an even clearer answer! :)
Nan

Guest
Guest
Member since 3/16/04
Posts: 2235
Date: 12/23/02 6:23 AM

Melissa,

Thanks for this old woman's laugh for the day! :D

In the very olden days, before machines had freearms...

One used a seam allowance guide.  These, again in the olden days, generally had an attachment screw a bit to the right of the machine's needle and throatplate area.  The guide was adjusted to the desired location and screwed down in place.  

Without such a guide, a piece of drafting (or masking, if you don't leave it there too long) tape placed where you'd like the folded edge of the sleeve to be while stitching would serve the same purpose.

Then, as Nan describes, fold your hem into place and pin, tape, whatever you like to do to make it stay put once you've folded it.  With the right side of that sleeve edge on the inside and the folded edge aligned with your seam allowance guide, slip the area to be sewn under the needle, position it, lower the presser foot.  Sew along, rotating the sleeve as needed to access more of it without stretching it out of shape.

Sew as slowly as you need to in order to maintain the amount of control you want.  I have done considerable sewing by hand turning my machine's wheel.  It's still a lot faster than sewing by hand, and produces the machine stitched look.

I still rarely use the freearm.  Old habits die hard. :D

Gigi Louis
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Gigi Louis
Advanced
Member since 4/4/02
Posts: 7876
Date: 12/23/02 6:47 AM

Thanks Shirley and Nan for helping Melissa.  That is exactly what I do as well. :D  Sew slowly and you'll be just fine.

Melissabr
Melissabr
Intermediate
NY USA
Member since 9/18/02
Posts: 18
Date: 12/23/02 11:42 AM

Thank you all for your help!

Everyday Sewist
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Everyday Sewist
Advanced Beginner
USA
Member since 9/14/02
Posts: 2707
Date: 12/23/02 12:08 PM

I have a 1964 sewing booklet (by the "Pied Piper of Sewing".) One of the "shortcuts" he strongly recommends is one of those screw-on seam allowance guides.  Now I understand better why he thought this was so important.

A few weeks ago on this Forum there was a question about seam tape (nowadays sold as "hem tape".) This is another notion he recommended. It was recommended for stabilizing seams.

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