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Finishing seams

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  • Lila Richards
    Greetings, all. I ve just started making my first properly fitted cote, and I m wondering how to finish the seams. The body and skirt will be lined, so it may
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 23, 2009
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      Greetings, all.

      I've just started making my first properly fitted cote, and I'm
      wondering how to finish the seams. The body and skirt will be lined, so
      it may be okay just to iron them flat, but the linen fabric seems a bit
      inclined to fray, and, given the tightly fitted torso, I'm thinking I
      should probably strengthen them in some way. I haven't sewn the seams by
      hand, so I don't mind finishing them by machine. Would just straight
      sewing? along each side of each seam be sufficient, do you think? Or
      should I open the seams out and sew each one down as per some examples
      in the MOL Clothing and Textiles book? Suggestions welcome.

      Thanks.

      Sinech.

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    • Coblaith Muimnech
      ... Do you mean stay-stitching (stitching through only one layer of fabric, usually parallel to a cut edge--a practice most often used to decrease distortion
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 23, 2009
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        Sinech wrote:
        > . . .the linen fabric seems a bit inclined to fray, and, given the
        > tightly fitted torso, I'm thinking Ishould probably strengthen them
        > in some way.. . .Would just straight sewing? along each side of
        > each seam be sufficient, do you think?

        Do you mean stay-stitching (stitching through only one layer of
        fabric, usually parallel to a cut edge--a practice most often used to
        decrease distortion in a seam that will incorporate one or more bias-
        cut or curving edges)? If so, I'm not sure it would suffice for your
        purposes. I've seen linen ravel up to and right through a line of
        stitching more than once.

        > Or should I open the seams out and sew each one down as per some
        > examples in the MOL Clothing and Textiles book?

        You mean topstitch the seam allowances to the fabric on either side
        of the seam? That might work better for the fraying, but it won't do
        anything to strengthen the seam.

        I'd probably use a flat-felled seam <http://coblaith.net/Techniques/
        Seams/FlatFelled/default.html> for an application like this. Of
        course, if you finish it with machine topstitching it will show in
        the finished product. If you plan to use a machine throughout a self-
        bound <http://hubpages.com/hub/how-to-sew-a-self-bound-seam> seam
        might be a better choice.


        Coblaith Muimnech
        Barony of Bryn Gwlad
        Kingdom of Ansteorra
        <mailto:Coblaith@...>
        <http://coblaith.net>
      • Lila Richards
        ... Yes, I suppose this is what I mean, and thanks for the warning.. Another option would be to use a zig-zag stitch, but I m not sure whether this would be
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 23, 2009
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          Coblaith Muimnech wrote:
          > Do you mean stay-stitching (stitching through only one layer of
          > fabric, usually parallel to a cut edge--a practice most often used to
          > decrease distortion in a seam that will incorporate one or more bias-
          > cut or curving edges)? If so, I'm not sure it would suffice for your
          > purposes. I've seen linen ravel up to and right through a line of
          > stitching more than once.
          >


          Yes, I suppose this is what I mean, and thanks for the warning.. Another
          option would be to use a zig-zag stitch, but I'm not sure whether this
          would be significantly better.


          > You mean topstitch the seam allowances to the fabric on either side
          > of the seam? That might work better for the fraying, but it won't do
          > anything to strengthen the seam.
          >
          > I'd probably use a flat-felled seam <http://coblaith.net/Techniques/
          > Seams/FlatFelled/default.html> for an application like this. Of
          > course, if you finish it with machine topstitching it will show in
          > the finished product. If you plan to use a machine throughout a self-
          > bound <http://hubpages.com/hub/how-to-sew-a-self-bound-seam> seam
          > might be a better choice.
          >

          I think I may go with the flat-felled seams, or perhaps use them just
          for the body where the the stress will be, and zigzag the skirt and gore
          seams. Does that sound like a reasonable compromise? :-)

          Sinech.


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        • Coblaith Muimnech
          ... I d expect that to work reasonably well. I ve used zig-zagging to stop linen from raveling with some success, where there s no stress on the seam. A
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 23, 2009
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            Sinech wrote:
            > . . .the linen fabric seems a bit inclined to fray, and, given the
            > tightly fitted torso, I'm thinking Ishould probably strengthen them
            > in some way.. . .

            and later:
            > I think I may go with the flat-felled seams, or perhaps use them
            > just for the body where the the stress will be, and zigzag the
            > skirt and gore seams. Does that sound like a reasonable compromise?

            I'd expect that to work reasonably well. I've used zig-zagging to
            stop linen from raveling with some success, where there's no stress
            on the seam. A machine overcast is another option, perhaps a bit
            more secure, for such an application.


            Coblaith Muimnech
            Barony of Bryn Gwlad
            Kingdom of Ansteorra
            <mailto:Coblaith@...>
            <http://coblaith.net>
          • Lila Richards
            ... Thanks for your help! :-) Sinech. ____________________________________________ Absolutely Write! Adding Value to Communication Editing and Proofreading
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 24, 2009
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              Coblaith Muimnech wrote:
              > Sinech wrote:
              >
              > I think I may go with the flat-felled seams, or perhaps use them
              >> just for the body where the the stress will be, and zigzag the
              >> skirt and gore seams. Does that sound like a reasonable compromise?
              >>
              >
              > I'd expect that to work reasonably well. I've used zig-zagging to
              > stop linen from raveling with some success, where there's no stress
              > on the seam. A machine overcast is another option, perhaps a bit
              > more secure, for such an application.

              Thanks for your help! :-)

              Sinech.

              ____________________________________________
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              Editing and Proofreading Service lilar@...
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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Vicky Eisenstadt
              I ve done both: zigzag and flatfelling. After I ve zigzag the seam, I ve simply gone back, ironed it down to one side, and sewn it down to one side.
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 24, 2009
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                I've done both: zigzag and flatfelling.

                After I've zigzag the seam, I've simply gone back, ironed it down to
                one side, and sewn it down to one side. Ocassionally (I live in lots
                of linen, so this is the fabric with which I have the most
                experience), I've still gotten the occasional distortion and weakened
                areas.

                Flatfelling has does neither to me, and since it leaves zero raw
                edges, zero "bits of fabric poking through the zigzag" effect, I like
                it more and more.

                So, I would enthusiastically encourage flatfelling all your seams.

                Alysoun

                On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 3:01 AM, Lila Richards<lilar@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                > Coblaith Muimnech wrote:
                >
                >> Sinech wrote:
                >>
                >> I think I may go with the flat-felled seams, or perhaps use them
                >>> just for the body where the the stress will be, and zigzag the
                >>> skirt and gore seams. Does that sound like a reasonable compromise?
                >>>
                >>
                >> I'd expect that to work reasonably well. I've used zig-zagging to
                >> stop linen from raveling with some success, where there's no stress
                >> on the seam. A machine overcast is another option, perhaps a bit
                >> more secure, for such an application.
                >
                > Thanks for your help! :-)
                >
                > Sinech.
                >
                > ____________________________________________
                > Absolutely Write! Adding Value to Communication
                > Editing and Proofreading Service lilar@...
                > http://absolutelywrite.webs.com/
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >



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              • unclrashid
                ... I ve made too many cotes to count at this point, and in my opinion it takes more than a a good seam finish to make a linen cote sturdy and long-lived. I
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 24, 2009
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                  --- In SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com, Lila Richards <lilar@...> wrote:
                  > I've just started making my first properly fitted cote, and I'm
                  > wondering how to finish the seams. The body and skirt will be lined, so
                  > it may be okay just to iron them flat, but the linen fabric seems a bit
                  > inclined to fray, and, given the tightly fitted torso, I'm thinking I
                  > should probably strengthen them in some way.

                  I've made too many cotes to count at this point, and in my opinion it takes more than a a good seam finish to make a linen cote sturdy and long-lived. I find that interlining the torso with a tightly woven fabric that stretches less than the linen is the way to go. Most people think that a heavy fabric like drill or denim is is tightly woven, but heaviness and tightly woven are actually unrelated.

                  The way I test my interlining fabric is to take two largish (4" sq) swatches and machine sew them together with a small stitch length. Then I hold the opposite edges and "snap" them, repeatedly and vigorously 10 or 12 times and check to see if the fabric is separating at the seam line. This will tell you if the fabric is tightly woven eneough for a cote or stays, but it doesn't tell you anything about the stretch. You kind of have to tell that by experience.

                  I find that most muslins are not tightly woven enough, but if you do find one that passes the "snap" test, it will work for interlining a wool cote, but muslin will stretch more than linen when you wear it, so the lining will loosen up and the linen will take the stress. I have found that high-thread count cotten sheeting works well for lining linen cotes. It breathes, is tightly woven and has about the same stretch charecteristics as linen. I haven't really found anything natural that works for silk. If I was making a silk cote, I would make it as a non-supportive outer layer.

                  I usually serge my edges (lining and interling together) before sewing the seams. This has the added advantage of not having to take the whole lining apart if you want to make a minor adjustment later. Most people find that fitting a cote is an iterative process. After you have worn it a couple times and the fabric has molded to your body you may figure out a couple of tweaks you want to do, and if you interline instead of lining that's easier to do. Most people find that by the time they get to their third cote they are completely happy with the pattern and won't need further tweaking.

                  Rashid
                • Lila Richards
                  ... Thank you for all that. It s now too late for interlining, since I ve already sewn the outer layer (and I m *not* taking it apart again, thank you very
                  Message 8 of 10 , Aug 24, 2009
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                    unclrashid wrote:
                    > --- In SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com, Lila Richards <lilar@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >> I've just started making my first properly fitted cote, and I'm
                    >> wondering how to finish the seams. The body and skirt will be lined, so
                    >> it may be okay just to iron them flat, but the linen fabric seems a bit
                    >> inclined to fray, and, given the tightly fitted torso, I'm thinking I
                    >> should probably strengthen them in some way.
                    >>
                    >
                    > I've made too many cotes to count at this point, and in my opinion it takes more than a a good seam finish to make a linen cote sturdy and long-lived. I find that interlining the torso with a tightly woven fabric that stretches less than the linen is the way to go. Most people think that a heavy fabric like drill or denim is is tightly woven, but heaviness and tightly woven are actually unrelated.
                    >
                    > The way I test my interlining fabric is to take two largish (4" sq) swatches and machine sew them together with a small stitch length. Then I hold the opposite edges and "snap" them, repeatedly and vigorously 10 or 12 times and check to see if the fabric is separating at the seam line. This will tell you if the fabric is tightly woven eneough for a cote or stays, but it doesn't tell you anything about the stretch. You kind of have to tell that by experience.
                    >
                    > I find that most muslins are not tightly woven enough, but if you do find one that passes the "snap" test, it will work for interlining a wool cote, but muslin will stretch more than linen when you wear it, so the lining will loosen up and the linen will take the stress. I have found that high-thread count cotten sheeting works well for lining linen cotes. It breathes, is tightly woven and has about the same stretch charecteristics as linen. I haven't really found anything natural that works for silk. If I was making a silk cote, I would make it as a non-supportive outer layer.
                    >
                    > I usually serge my edges (lining and interling together) before sewing the seams. This has the added advantage of not having to take the whole lining apart if you want to make a minor adjustment later. Most people find that fitting a cote is an iterative process. After you have worn it a couple times and the fabric has molded to your body you may figure out a couple of tweaks you want to do, and if you interline instead of lining that's easier to do. Most people find that by the time they get to their third cote they are completely happy with the pattern and won't need further tweaking.
                    >

                    Thank you for all that. It's now too late for interlining, since I've already sewn the outer layer (and I'm *not* taking it apart again, thank you very much! :-) ), but I'll definitely bear your advice in mind if I make another cote.

                    Sinech.


                    ____________________________________________
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                    Editing and Proofreading Service lilar@...
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                  • unclrashid
                    ... If you haven t put the lining in yet, use a strong fabric and make it a scant 1/16 inch smaller on each seam, that will make the lining take most of the
                    Message 9 of 10 , Aug 24, 2009
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                      --- In SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com, Lila Richards <lilar@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > Thank you for all that. It's now too late for interlining, since I've already sewn the outer layer (and I'm *not* taking it apart again, thank you very much! :-) ), but I'll definitely bear your advice in mind if I make another cote.

                      If you haven't put the lining in yet, use a strong fabric and make it a scant 1/16 inch smaller on each seam, that will make the lining take most of the stress. I have seen linen cotes literally tear apart on the side seams.

                      Rashid
                    • Lila Richards
                      ... Excellent idea! Thanks. Sinech. ____________________________________________ Absolutely Write! Adding Value to Communication Editing and Proofreading
                      Message 10 of 10 , Aug 25, 2009
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                        unclrashid wrote:
                        > If you haven't put the lining in yet, use a strong fabric and make it a scant 1/16 inch smaller on each seam, that will make the lining take most of the stress. I have seen linen cotes literally tear apart on the side seams.

                        Excellent idea! Thanks.

                        Sinech.


                        ____________________________________________
                        Absolutely Write! Adding Value to Communication
                        Editing and Proofreading Service lilar@...
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