Friday, April 22, 2011

Couture Techniques: finishing seam allowances

I wanted to share with you yet another step in the construction of my red wool boucle skirt. Without any intention, really, I ended up using several couture techniques. 

I used 1" seam allowance and underlined the skirt with matching cotton batiste to add some stability to the loosely woven boucle. This boucle is fraying badly so, in order to avoid shedding in public I had to finish the seams somehow. Serging was not an option - even though I normally avoid serging I did try it and, yes, it was too bulky AND stiff! I knew that a hand finish would be the best option, but I ruled out hand overcasting, because I needed a one-step finish that could accomplish both: finish the seams and tack them down to the underlining. I remembered Kenneth D. King and Susan Khalje using a catch stitch for precisely that purpose, and having had my inner couturier intuition confirmed by two major authorities in the couture sewing world, I decided to give it a try.

It works best if your garment is underlined, as in my case. Now, all I had to do is to sew through the seam allowances and the underlining and, voila, finished seams that won’t ravel or shift.

Seam allowances are finished and secured by hand without being stiff or bulky.
Here, the catch-stitched seam allowances provide additional support to a hand-picked zipper.
I also catch-stitched its edges to the seam allowances. 
Questions? Do you use a catch stitch in your sewing projects? 

3 comments:

  1. catch stitch took care of all the problems! good choice! I don't remember using it lately myself but if I come across an instance like this I'll think of you!;)

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  2. Looks beautiful. I rarely have the patience for hand sewing (my first job in high school required a lot of handsewing and I've been rebelling ever since), but I love your posts that show where handsewing is exactly the perfect finish for something.

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  3. I know this is an old post, I hope you receive my comment. Can you elaborate on why you avoid serging and why its considered a no-no in couture sewing? I just started to delve into couture techniques and would like to know more about how to avoid serging if there are better alternatives. Thank you!

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