Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Confession

As you may know, I recently tried my first Amy Butler pattern and was rewarded with this cute top. As an unanticipated side benefit, this experience also yielded topics for THREE (count 'em, 3!) Friday Confessions. :)


I've already used the first two - darts & sew-in interfacing. Today, for your consideration, I present the last Friday Confession inspired by my first Amy Butler pattern - topic: sewing princess seams.

As you undoubtedly know, princess seams are formed by sewing together 2 pieces that, when laid flat, do not fit together. (Yes, I know, that's quite technical, but it's okay, I'm a professional. Not a professional seamstress mind you, but a professional nonetheless...) ;)

As you can see in the picture above, one piece typically has a pronounced outward curve (convex?), while the other piece may be practically straight or have an inward cuve (concave?). Once they are connected, they form a beautiful 3D shape ideally suited for "the girls".

So, to cut a long story short (or is it too late for that?), historically I have used the brute force method to get the 2 pieces of fabric to line up while I'm sewing them together. This time I tried a different method - I put in a row of basting stitches along the seam line of the relatively straight piece and then made several clips into the seam allowance. This allowed the relatively straight piece to curve to fit the pronouncedly curved piece. It was amazing how much easier this made it to sew the pieces together!

So, how about you? How do you get your princess seam pieces to align during sewing? Brute force? Clip first? Other methods? What do you recommend and why?

10 comments:

Karin said...

Put me down for the brute force method! I have never known any better until now. Next time I will definitely try the stitch then clip method. Thanks for the tip!

AmeliaSews said...

It depends upon how pronounced the princess seam is. If the pieces are radically different, I will clip and pin. Otherwise, I will drape it over my fingers as I pin it. This mimics the curve that it is meant to be shaped over and makes the pinning a lot easier.

sewducky said...

The first shirt I ever made was princess seamed and since then I can't tell you how I do it. They manage to work, and work well since 75% of my shirts (and a good portion of dresses) I make are princess seamed.

I don't clip the curves, and I actually french seam them, but I don't have to force the issue either. It just sort of goes into place.

Part of this may be because I do it so much that anymore it's something I no longer think about. Not much help at all this week.

Stitchy Witch said...

I clip them, but I will admit that it makes dealing with finishing the seam more difficult. I used to avoid clipping at all costs, but I finally realized I was just making my life harder.

Summerset said...

I always stay stitch an clip, except for the really small sizes for which the princess seam is really for effect and not for shaping. The more shaping needed (ie, larger bust sizes) the more important it is to carefully get those pieces to match. The princess seam accomplishes much the same thing as a dart and one can be drafted from the other; it is simply another shaping method.

meredithp said...

If you stitch with the convex piece on the bottom, it will fit the other piece much more easily. The machine's feed dogs do all the work. Of course the smaller the seam allowance the easier it is to fit them. If you removed the seam allowances from both pieces, they fit together like puzzle pieces. That is, the seam lines are (or should be, if the pattern is drafted correctly) exactly the same length on both pieces.

katherine h said...

I have not sewn princess seams often. Mostly when I have, it has been for a strapless dress. I'm a bit wary of the staystitch and clip method, though I'm not sure why. When I do have to do a princess seam, I dig out Roberta Carr's Couture book. I have detailed the method in this post http://sewblooms.blogspot.com/2008/10/dress-construction.html
It is more time-consuming than other methods but has always worked for me. Basically, one seam-line is slip-stitched over the other seam-line, before the seams are machine stitched together.

marysews said...

I don't remember. The only time I made something with princess seams was in 8th grade, and that was a long time ago. Whatever happened, it probably swore me off them for eons, because that's about how long ago it was.

mamafitz said...

it depends on how severe the curve is. if it's slight, i just ease it in, no clipping. if the curve is more pronounced, i stay-stitch (NOT baste) the seamline, clip, and sew.

Becky said...

I'm pretty sure that I have used the staystitche and clip method before....but I'm not the neatest seamstress, and sometimes the stitching shows on the outside and I have to rip it out. So usually I just pin the heck out of it. :)