Friday, February 15, 2013

Create a Chanel seam finish on your garment!

So yesterday was Valentine’s Day and I received the most beautiful bouquet!  

My dear husband outdid himself this year and we even went out for a very special and delicious dinner. It was rather romantic as we were seated right by the restaurant’s fire place. I felt so lucky and special as the pace was packed! The waitress said we had the best spot in the place!!

This week between other jobs I tested the new Infant Snowdrift pattern in a very soft 21 wale 100% cotton corduroy. It is from Spechler-Vogel and I picked it up a couple of years ago with another project in mind. At the same time I colour-matched it to a tiny gingham check. So when I needed a different weight of fabric these two came to mind.
Corduroy is not at all difficult to work with if you keep the nap in mind but is can be messy with little bits of ’fallout’ appearing everywhere from your clothes to every corner of your sewing room and anywhere else that you take your stitching. (I like to do the hand work in the evening in front of the TV). So when it came to seam finishes I wanted to be as creative but sure of ending this fallout as possible. Since I had the coordinating gingham I decided to employ a ‘Hong Kong’ seam finish.
I first came across this finish back in my Ryerson days when we learned that it was one of Coco Chanel’s favourite finishes. The jackets of these loosely woven wool tweed suits were sometimes left unlined but teamed with coordinating silk blouses. From the silk fabric she had the seam allowances finished as described below.  

Quilting foot, 1" Bias, #10 foot, Seam to be finished 

Now this technique takes a bit of extra time but is worth the effort when done well. The seam allowances in this pattern are only ” which makes them a bit trickier than the traditional ⅝” seam allowances most of you are used to using. I could have done a bit of practising and done a better job on my first seam but was sure I could stitch strait without! Wrong. Accuracy is paramount when working with such tiny details. So I urge you to do as I say not as I did!!
Doing the math was pretty easy. My seam allowance was ” and when pressed open you would see ¾”. You need bias strips to edge the seam allowances. If I made my finish ¼” wide, it would work perfectly to create a proportion of thirds. So I cut the bias strips of gingham 1” wide – ¼” would show on each edge and ¼” of corduroy would be left showing in the middle. I know this doesn’t add up but you have to take into account the ‘turn of the cloth’ and that you need to stretch the bias so very slightly.
I used my ¼” quilting foot to apply the bias strips to one seam allowance. Trick here is stretch the bias just a tiny bit.
Press the bias away from the seam line. 
Fold it along the edge of the garment fabric to the wrong side. Next step is to machine stitch ‘in the ditch’ of the first row of stitching securing the bias on the back of the seam allowance in place.  For this step I used my Bernina #10 foot to ensure straight, perfect, stitching. Check to see if your machine brand has a foot of this type. That is all there is to it.


Do one seam allowance completely at a time. It is important to keep the width even throughout the length of the seam. Careful pressing will be a big help as will having the right feet.
Had I been using plain fabric another thought occurred to me as I was doing the ‘stitch in the ditch’ down the length of the seam. I could have used a simple decorative stitch to coordinate with the main fabric or theme of my garment. Just a thought to bank for another garment and another time.

 So here you see how I used the gingham not only for the seam finish but also to finish the top edge of my hem but the Yoke Facing and Diaper Cover Lining.

Always look for interesting ways to make the inside of you garment as beautiful as the outside. The right side of this little ensemble will be on the web site as soon as we can get everything posted.

Be sure to check it out and order the pattern!!
Till next time, keep stitching……