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Tag: seam neatening

Homework 30: Period bodice – piping

Making folded piping

First I had to cut out the bias strips and make the piping. Claire had suggested for fabrics that were not too thick, we should make the bias double width and fold in half to make the piping. Using the folded edge on the inside looks better.

12cm bias strips joined and folded ready to make in to piping

12cm wide bias strips joined and folded ready to make in to piping with a 3cm wide edge.

I then marked where I wanted the cord to sit, and pinned the bias round the cord. I made sure the folded side was slightly longer than the open edge so the open edge would not been seen later.

Placing and pinning the cord in to the bias

Placing and pinning the cord in to the bias

Once it had all been pinned in place, it was quite quick to sew in to piping. I was careful to make sure I didn’t catch the piping as we need it to be able to slip so it can be pulled tight.

Using a zipper foot to sew close to the cord

Using a zipper foot to sew close to the cord

Placing the bones

It is really important to put in the bodice bones in before sewing the piping as the piping will close the channels. I had measured the bone channels and ordered pre-finished lengths from Vena Cava earlier in the week. Unfortunately, I had forgotten one pair, so I had to cut two from a left over continuous length I had from a previous project.

 2 steel bones. The top is cut from a continuous length and finished with zinc tape. The bottom is precut and finished.

2 steel bones. The top is cut from a continuous length and finished with zinc tape. The bottom is precut and finished.

Be careful when cutting the steels as they tend to be very tough and unless you have some serious metal cutters, it will take a fair amount of effort. I need both hands to cut, and the loose piece tends to spring off at some rate, so make sure no one is  in the firing path.

To finish the ends so they would not be sharp or cut through the materials, I used zinc tape,  like a roll of fabric plaster,  you can get from the chemists. Zinc tape helps to stop the steel from rusting and is fairly sticky, but make sure it is securely stuck so that it does not come out in the channel when you are placing the bone.

Smoothing the stomacher line

I decided that the stomacher point stuck down too low, so I decided to smooth the line from the side front to the stomacher. I will follow the grey line when applying the piping.

Smoothing out the stomacher line

Smoothing front lines - side panel

Smoothing front lines - Stomacher

Smoothing front lines - stomacher

Applying the piping

On to the piping on the bottom edge. I pinned the piping place and used a zipper foot to machine stitch as close to the piping edge as possible. I took the pins out as I went along with the machine.

Using the zipper foot to sew the piping on to the bottom of the bodice

Using the zipper foot to sew the piping on to the bottom of the bodice

The tricky part was the point at centre back as the fabric was quite taught and it was hard to get the foot to follow the line. Claire had said that if you had a lot of trouble with it you could snip in to the bias seam allowance, but you shouldn’t really. I didn’t have to in the end.

Centre back point. Bias pinned in place ready to be sewn.

Centre back point. Bias pinned in place ready to be sewn.

In some places, I had not gone close enough to the edge, so I had to sew again. I didn’t have to unpick, as the second line would cover the first.

Where the stitch line was not close enough to edge

Where the stitchline was not close enough to edge

Once I was happy with the stitching, I cut back all the excess seam allowances so that I could turn the folded bias edge back.

Seam allowances cut back

Seam allowances cut back to reduce bulk

Seams graded (cut back) at the centre back

Seams graded (cut back) at the centre back

After doing the bottom, the top edge was much easier and quicker.  I now had to finish the front opening edges before I could slip stitch the bias on the inside.  I knew Claire had said we should leave long cords, but I couldn’t quite remember how we were meant to finish the piping at the centre front, so I did the best I could and would ask on Monday.

Top and bottom piping applied, but not yet slip stitched.

Top and bottom piping applied, but not yet slip stitched.

Front opening and fastenings

The front opening hem was done in a similar way to the vertical seams with the under layers cut back and the top fabric seam allowance folded under and slip stitched. This should have been pretty straight forward, except I ended up snipping the top fabric a bit before I had realised it had been caught. It was too much of a problem and I just hand stitched it closed.

Opps! Repairing an accidental snip

Opps! Repairing an accidental snip

After neatening the front opening, I slip stitched the piping in place on the inside of the bodice.

Next I worked out how many hooks I would need if they were to be spaced 20-25mm apart with the top one and the bottom hooks placed next to the piping. I ended up using 11 with 22mm spacing. I used pins to mark where the centre of each hook should be placed.  Hooks should go on the left side, eyes on the right.

First hook in place, and pins used to mark where the others should be placed.

First hook in place, and pins used to mark where the others should be placed.

Although I was fairly sure that these would be in the right place, I only sewed 5 stitches around each loop and the hook neck in case they would have to be moved. Doing 11 sets of the hooks and the eyes still took about 5 hours of hand stitching.

On the eye side, I made sure the pin was correctly positioned for the corresponding hook when attaching each eye. The eyes should be set back slightly so that when the fabric gives when fastend they do not show.

Eyes set slightly back. Pins marking the eye spacing

Eyes set slightly back. Pins marking the eye spacing

I didn’t have a chance to stab stitch, but thought I would do that after the next class when I would know for sure that the hooks and eyeswere in the right place.

Homework 30: Period bodice – seam neatening

I started on the seam neatening today. The vertical seams had to be done before applying the piping along the top and bottom.

Most of the seams were pretty straight forward and I finished them in the same way as I had finished the sleeves seams. It  just grading back any excess and then turning back the top fabric seam allowance and slip stitching.

Internal seams graded, turned back and slip stitched

Internal seams graded, turned back and slip stitched

For the side seams, I could not use the same method as I had let out the bodice on these seams during the fitting and so there was only 5mm seam allowance – not enough to fold back.

Unfinished side seam and neatened side back seam.

Unfinished side seam and neatened side back seam.

I ended up wing bias binding to finish the seam. Normally you would machine sew one side, fold over and machine stitch in the ditch, possibly leaving the seam flapping loose. Because I wanted these seams to look similar to the other seams, I machine stitched the first side and then slip stitched the other side flat.

Using bias binding to neaten the seam

Using bias binding to neaten the seam

When all was done, I don’t think you would not notice that these seams were different unless it was pointed out to you.

Seam neatening. The 2 seams on the left had seam allowances turned back. Bias binding was used on the right seam.

Seam neatening. The 2 seams on the left had seam allowances turned back. Bias binding was used on the right seam.

Homework 30: Period bodice – sleeves

First I added the facing. I used some scraps left over from my quilted petticoat fabric, but it should have really been cut on the bias.

Measuring up the facing

Measuring up the facing

I machine sewed in the facing, but didn’t want to finish the facing until I had put in the sleeve and set the cuff.

Facing, machine sewn in

Facing, machine sewn in

After adding the facing, I used my rolling pin to press the seam flat before neatening.

Using a wooden rolling pin to press the seam

Using a wooden rolling pin to press the seam

Grading the seam by cutting back the layers

Grading the seam by cutting back the layers

Seam pinned back ready to slip stitch in place

Seam pinned back ready to slip stitch in place

Class 30: Period bodice – sleeves, piping, seam neatening, and fastenings

Sleeves

Today Claire checked the calico sleeves we had fitted, and explained when we put in the real sleeve we should mount the top fabric on to lawn to stop it from stretching and add a facing on the cuff using a 2-4 cm bias strip. Remember to always set the sleeve in to the bodice, not the bodice in to the sleeve.

The sleeve seams can be overlocked if they need to be finished quickly or seams can be turned back and hand slip stitched for a better finish. The facing and the seam neatening should be done before fitting the sleeve to make it easier to handle.

Claire also gave us instructions for seam neatening on the sleeve and the bodice, and what we had to do for the piping that would go round the top and bottom of the bodice, and what fastenings to use. I spent the rest of the class helping with fittings, and cutting out the sleeve layers.

Seam neatening

For the vertical seams:

  1. trim seam allowance
  2. grade under layers
  3. turn back top layer
  4. and slip stitch.

For the armholes:

  1. trim to 10mm seam allowance
  2. pin
  3. hand tack in place

Piping

This would be used on the top and bottom seams. It helps to reinforce these edges and having the cords in the piping, allows you to ease in the the neckline if it slightly gapes or does not sit flat against the body.

  • use 00/01 cotton piping
  • pipe all the way round from edge to edge
  • for lighter fabrics double up by folding in half. The folded edge will give a nicer finish on the inside.
  • do not under cut the cord, leave long to give you something to grab
  • to finish unpick slightly, turn back the bias fabric and then resew to the edge

Fastenings

My bodice will have a centre front opening where the two centre front edges meet,  so I will just be using hooks and eyes up the front. There openings could be laced or where the fabrics overlap, hooks and bars would be used.

Buttons were rarely used as funtional fastenings in this period. As buttons were often used on military uniforms and so were considered quite unfeminine.

  • hooks should be placed on the left side as the actress would be dressed by someone else
  • placing should be roughly 25mm apart. Close to the edge, but set back slightly.
  • for fittings, use 5 stitches around each ring of the hook or loop to hold in place
  • once position is correct, stitch firmly in place covering the whole ring with thread. Use a stab stitch to firmly hold in place.

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