Saturday, May 1, 2010

Talk Back "Thursday" (and you thought it was the weekend, didn't you?)

Yikes! Apparently, I fought the blog and the blog won... My Thursday post wasn't published and the notes that I wrote to myself for my planned Friday post were published! Sorry about the confusion. Hopefully now things are back on track...

So... Thank you SO much to Ivalyn, Elaina, Julie, Uta, Stitchywitch, Debbie, Carla, Faye, Gaylen, Webfrau, Cindy, Claire, Gwen, Lois, Karima, Julia, Lisa Laree, Becky and Mamafitz for talking back to my confession last week!

I confessed that I do not practice "directional sewing", as was taught to me by Cynthia Guffey, and asked whether or not others do this.

I'm afraid I have some bad news for Cynthia...

Sixteen of the 19 commenters reported that they do not routinely practice directional sewing (although there are some common exceptions, which I'll get to in a minute) and 6 of those folks have never even really heard of it!

Of course, there are certain times when many people pay attention to working with the grain line - laying out and cutting pattern pieces is a big one, as are stay stitching, necklines/collars and sewing a seam along a bias cut. These 4 "exceptions" were mentioned a total of 12 times.

A few people also mentioned alternatives to directional sewing - including, using A LOT of pins (1), hand basting (1) and a technique for holding your fabric as you sew (instead of using a lot of pins) called "taut sewing" (2).

Finally, 3 people reported that this skill IS a part of their regular (although not necessarily "constant") sewing repertoire. Lois gave the best explanation of how and why to use directional sewing. She was taught to sew this way and it has become "ingrained"! (I take full responsibility for the bad pun - Lois is blameless.)

The "how" seems like it might be easier than I had envisioned - apparently you examine your fabric and stitch from the widest part to the narrowest part and then from the highest part to the lowest part.

The "why", on the other hand, is apparently more complicated than I had previously understood - I said it was to make sure that your 2 pieces of fabric ended up the same length. But Lois explained that, without directional stitching, you can sometimes end up with lopsided and poorly fitting garments.

Anyways, she explained it all better than I can, so if you are interested, you might want to read her comment directly (here).

Lisa Laree and Mamafitz echoed these ideas to a certain extent. Lisa tries to minimize distortion on long seams by paying attention to the grain and (like many others) works from center outwards on necklines.

Mamafitz also uses directional sewing for all the typical exceptions (stay stitching, collars, etc.) and she also called out a certain type of sleeve pattern (one with a seam up the middle). Mamafitz also has a neat trick for the side seams on skirts and pants - she pins those seams together while the garment is hanging (as if from a body) and that way she knows that, once sewn, they'll hang nicely! Cool! :)

Thanks again to everyone who took the time to comment! I learn so much from you guys! :)