Staying edges

28Nov10

I’ve not made as much progress on the tartan dress project as I expected. So this is just a quick post about staying edges.

My first sewing book recommended zigzagging all the edges of your pieces before sewing seams, so that’s what I used to do. I’ve recently found this tends to distort the edges and so now I often finish my seams after sewing them.

However my tartan fabric is really, really ravelly. I won’t have much seam allowance left if I don’t finish the seams early on, but if I do I’ll probably never get the stripes to match.

My unscientific solution is to iron Vilene bias tape along the seamlines before finishing any edges, like this:

Burda magazine loves this stuff. Every other pattern seems to call for it. It’s thin fusible knit interfacing strips with a line of stiches sewn along the middle. It seems to be quite hard to find in the UK. My local sewing stores don’t stock it, so I always used to skip it. It never seemed to cause a huge problem to miss it out, although occasionally I would cut my own strips of knit interfacing where it looked like it was really needed.

Once I got hold of some real Vilene bias tape, from Sewbox, I realised why Burda uses it so much – it’s great! Very easy to apply and it stablises edges nicely without adding bulk. It’s also a lot less fuss than cutting your own strips. Just don’t put it the wrong side up and get the glue all over your iron as I frequently manage to do. I now see why my GCSE textiles teacher had ‘good’ irons and crafting irons.

I have no idea if staying edges like this is the Right Way to do things or not – I suppose I could just staystitch – but it’s worked for me in the past so I shall stick with it.



One Response to “Staying edges”

  1. 1 julieireland

    Necessity is indeed the mother of invention!

    An alternative could be, if you are interested in a lot more work, to cut your seam allowances one inch wide and thread trace your stitching lines by hand through each piece. This allows you to match your seams and stripes from both sides of the fabric and gives a generous seam allowance to stay however you would like…



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