Monday, June 1, 2015

The Importance of Good Seam Finishing in Garment Construction

Or alternately titled, things it would have been good to know Yesterday. (Or, actually, Friday!)

I've been making summer shorts for my kid, starting on Thursday by cutting them out, and it's only just now been warm enough for shorts (Michigan!) so last year's have only just appeared in the laundry this weekend.

And whoops, I have clearly made some mistakes in seam finishing!

The two pairs of oxford shorts (I can't speak highly enough about oxford, it is soft and thick (well, thicker than quilting cotton, but not as thick as denim, just a great midweight fabric) and perfect for shorts and structured skirts. And it's usually in fun and cute patterns) which I just finished the seams of by pinking them are in shreds. I'm hoping there is enough left of the seam allowance that I can serge over the edges...

The worst is the penguin mini skirt, which has no seam allowance left. This thing has been washed maybe three times! I've only worn it... three times...

If it wasn't a thing I had grave doubts about wearing, I might be more heartbroken. However, I think there is enough usable fabric left that I can recycle it into a pair of kid shorts. (When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, right?)

Not that pinking doesn't have its place. It works well enough on the Monoluna fabric that I used for the pocket in this skirt. It worked well enough on these quilting cotton Tula Pink ladybug shorts:

I think pinking, to be effective as a fray reducing measure, requires a certain amount of threads per inch, and oxford just has too few. And much like linen, denim, or twill (well, denim usually is a twill, but anyway), oxford requires more firm treatment. Like using a serger to hold the fabric in place.

Sadly, this was my first pair! Why, why, oh why, did I not carry on with the serging?

The pair I finished on Sunday was a super fraying twill (I do wash these without treating their edges -either by serging or by using a zigzag stitch as suggested- because I'm a rebel, but this got navy blue fuzzy things on everything that was in the wash with it), and for that pair, I was supermindful of the seams:

The seams were individually serged, and those edges turned under, and top stitched in place. For the other pair of twill shorts, which I was less concerned over, I only serged the seams. If you don't have a serger, a zigzag stitch will work just as well for holding fabric in place through washings. It's like keeping soil from eroding by encouraging plants with dense roots to grow.

Anyway, lesson learned. I wrote a large note on my pattern for shorts that oxfords must be serger at the seams, and hopefully writing this post will sear that into my distracted brain. I'm off to try and salvage what I can of the shorts I made so thoughtlessly, and even if they can't be saved, I have a fun pile of new oxfords from Pink Castle to make into new shorts if need be:

The foxes are so amazing, right? I actually bought those in two of the colors...

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