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Topic: sewing a curved seam?  (Read 929 times)
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Red Paint
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I think it's broken.

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« on: April 22, 2009 10:23:15 PM »

Please re-direct me if this question has been answered, but I'm getting so frustrated with this project!

I'm a total sewing machine novice, but a life-long crafter.  I bought my first sewing machine last summer, and spent a good deal of time just playing around with it to learn it (as advised by this wonderful board, thank you!).  After months of sewing on scraps, then moving on to decorative edging on dish towels, then a very basic pillowcase, I've taken on a REAL CLOTHING PATTERN!  (Big steps here).

I'm in the middle of making a halter-top dress and am completely baffled by the next step in the pattern. One of the seams on the finished product is on a curve.  When pinning and sewing the pieces together, the curves are opposite.  To illustrate: when placed "right side" to "right side" (as the instructions indicate), one of the pieces curves this way:


while the other piece curves this way:


And I can't figure out how to get them to line up properly!  The only way seems to be making it kind of a 3-D curve ("curling" the pieces together so the edges line up), but then one of the pieces inevitably ends up bunched up when I go to sew.

I know I'm terrible at explaining things like this (I'm more of a visual person in this dept) -- am I explaining this clearly?  And can anyone offer advice?

« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2009 12:48:10 AM »

I understand you perfectly, I still remember the first time I faced that.  Let's see... the problem is... you see what it is.  Now, when you pin them together, just follow the seamlines and ignore the bunching.  It will help if you curve the fabric a little to shape it as it would with that, to ease the bunching.  And working on one side makes it easier than working on the other.  Just make sure the seam itself doesn't get the fabric puckered, keep it flat.  When you sew the two pieces together, it all will come out right.
Practise a little with scraps and you'll see it works.  Of course the more pronounced the curve is, the more difficult it is to put both pieces together, but it does work.

Edit:  to help myself pinning both pieces together more easily, I do this:  first I pin at the center of the seam line, then work towards the ends.  If the seams are marked correctly, they coincide and there is no problem putting the two pieces together properly.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2009 12:52:54 AM by soorawn » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2009 12:44:24 PM »

Here is a Burda Style tutorial that shows my usual method. I usually stay stitch (just stitch along the seam line on just 1 layer of fabric - prevents stretching) the concave curve then clip the seam allows to just a thread shy of the stay stitching. That allows the fabric to curve outward. I then pin and sew with the clipped piece on top.
Red Paint
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2009 04:58:28 PM »

Thank you!  The pics in the link helped, thanks...  What's doubly (quadruply?) frustrating is that one of the layers is actually 3 layers of fabric sewn together b/c of the darn lining, making it much more awkward to work with.

But your tips should help, thanks!
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2009 12:11:51 AM »

On a curved seam, there should be some notches or something to help you position the edges. Start by matching those first, and then go to the top and bottom edges. It takes some getting used to but you *will* be able to make those edges mesh together! Try curving the fabric in your hands a little as you pin, it will give you the right idea. Use a jillion pins and sew slowly.

When working with three layers, the pattern should have directed you to baste two of them together already, to be treated as one.

When you get it sewn together it will probably look a little wrinkly (but not puckered or pleated, if you have this you might want to unpick and start again) in the curve - totally normal! You will clip the seam allowance at the most curved parts and once you press, it will lie nice and smooth.
Red Paint
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« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2009 07:50:45 PM »

Yep, that makes sense...  I'm obviously a novice, because I had no idea that clipping the curves could make such a difference!  I was so so happy when I fed it through the machine and it worked so perfectly. 

Thanks for the help!!!
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