Thursday, March 18, 2010

Talk Back Thursday

Well, last week's confession was a bit of a dud. I asked about clipping threads at the end of each seam and whether people do it after each sewing seam, at the end of a project, or just any old time. It seems that no one thinks about this much, or really cares...

Ha! Just kidding!

I got TWENTY-TWO responses - the only other Friday Confession that has elicited so many comments was Cindy's guest question about using the seam ripper. So, thank you SO much to Lois K, Patsijean, Mamafitz, Eword10, Summerset, Linda, Julie, Becky, Cindy, Shannon, Alison, Debbie, Karima, Gwen, Mary, Faye, Aminat, Tamara, Carla F, Claire S, Shannon AND Elaina for "talking back" to my confession! (Phew!)

First of all, many people pointed out that the answer depends on whether we’re talking about a sewing machine seam or a serged seam. So, let’s deal with sewing machine seams first.

Of the 22 people who responded, only 2 people responded that they really don’t have a system, and just trim their threads whenever they feel like it.

Fifteen (almost three-quarters) consistently trim the threads of each seam as soon as that seam is completed. The “whys” that these folks gave can be divided into three categories. Two people explain this habit as a legacy from their junior high school home ec teachers (see all you teachers out there – you DO make a difference!) Three people pointed out potential problems with leaving hanging threads to a final step, such as having those threads get caught up in the machine’s feed dogs and/or not being able to find them all at the end. And 9 people (add me to this category to make it 10) basically said it was a personality thing – it would drive them crazy, too OCD, Virgo, etc.

The remaining five people don’t trim after sewing each seam, but do have some kind of system for deciding when to trim. Tamara trims when the threads start becoming a nuisance. For Shannon Hillinger, it depends on how “important” the garment is – a fancy dress or gift for someone else gets a more consistent trim-every-seam-as-you-go treatment than some weekend-lounge-around-the-house t-shirt or shorts. Julie and Mary use an assembly-line (or chain piecing) approach to sewing that involves sewing many seams in one continuous stream and postponing trimming until the sewn pieces need to be cut apart, ironed and cross-seams sewn. Julie learned about this technique to save time from the Palmer/Pletsch book, Painless Sewing. Linda also thinks in terms of time management during her sewing, and she does all her trimming at once, at the end of the project.

Oh, it seems that I’m a bit behind technologically - several people mentioned how much they love the newer sewing machines that trim the threads at the end of each seam automatically. I didn’t realize that there were machines that could do that – sounds cool. :)

Next, on to sergers. Several people pointed out that, if you trim the threads too close to the end of a serged seam, it is likely to unravel. And, not surprisingly, a bunch of people, including Mamafitz, Summerset, Cindy, Faye and Claire S., had solutions to that particular problem! In general, the recommendations were as follows:

If the serged seam is going to be crossed by another serged seam, you can just leave a tail on the first seam and let the second seam trim and seal it.

But if the serged seam is not going to be closed up with a cross seam, then the thing to do is to take a hand needle and thread the serger tail threads back through the seam.

I had been using Fray Check on my serger seam thread tails, but I don't really like the result, so I'm going to try this method in the future. :)

Thanks again for all the comments - astrological and otherwise! (BTW, I'm a Virgo too!) You guys rock! :)


Anonymous said...

This may be another virgo thing, but I tie my serger ends off if they'll be exposed. I certainly don't thread them through!

meredithp said...

There's a great device that I use for threading the serger thread back, rather than a tapestry needle. It's a double ended thing. NAYY but I suffer anxiety when I misplace it ;-)