Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Make Up Post: Talk Back Thursday

Thank you to Roseann for this photo of a unique way to use twill tape! ;)

I’m sorry this post is so late. But I think you’ll find that it was worth the wait!

Thank you so much to Nicole, Ivalyn, Corinne, Mamafitz, Patsijean, Stitchywitch, Sarah, Julia, Becky, Mary, Gwen, Faye, Rose, Katherine and Summerset for talking back to my confession a couple of weeks ago! I asked about stay tape, and wow, did I ever learn a lot from your comments!

First off, my original question was a bit misguided. I asked about “stay tape” as if it was this single, stand-alone thing. In fact, stay tape appears to be just one example of a broad category of materials that can all be used to accomplish basically the same effect.

“And what effect is that?” you politely ask. (A hypothetical question, as everyone who commented knew and agreed on this bit…) These materials are used to stabilize those seams in a garment that are susceptible to losing their shape through stretching. It protects against misshapen garments, ripples along seams and gaping.

Okay, so what else is in this broad category of materials besides the official “stay tape” and how often do people use these materials?

Well, almost everyone reported stabilizing sometimes – even if it is only on rare and special occasions, such as the low back (bias-seamed) wedding dress that Mamafitz made for her SIL. About 50% of the commenters reported doing some kind of stabilizing to their garments quite regularly. And there were a few diehard enthusiasts, like Gwen who “LOVE”s stay tape and Faye who keeps a stockpile of stay tape in the basic colors (black, white & beige) at all times. ;)

As for what they use – here is where the creativity and variety come into play. The three most common materials (each with 5 or 6 “votes”) mentioned were:

-- Stay tape

-- Twill tape

-- Strips (often the selvedge) of light weight fabric (such as light weight cottons, lining fabrics and silk organza)

As Summerset pointed out, each of the above can serve the same purpose, but they have different thicknesses and so are appropriate for different types of garments. For example, she would use twill tape on the armscye of a winter coat, but something lighter weight along the neckline of a delicate gown.

And there were other suggestions too - three people use strips of fusible interfacing when they want to stabilize a seam, and grosgrain ribbon and clear elastic each got 1 “shout out”.

I should note that, while most people seemed to be reporting favorably on this whole process, at least a couple of people said that certain materials didn’t always work for them… Becky, for example, has had mixed results with both the fusible interfacing and with twill tape.

Finally, the big question – when?

The single type of fabric called out most frequently (6 times) was: knits!

And the 2 seams called out most frequently (7 times each) were: shoulders and necklines!

After that: Two people called out bias seams in general as benefitting from stabilizing, and one person called out raglan sleeves, BECAUSE they are cut on the bias…

Crotch seams and waist bands were each called out twice.

The armscye and the inseam pocket opening were also called out (once each).

So, after digesting all of your excellent and informative comments, I feel like I’ve only gotten a glimpse of the tip of the stabilizing iceberg. This sounds like something that I need to start taking seriously. I did some quick google searches and, while I didn’t find the definitive tutorial that I had been secretly hoping for, I did find these helpful pages:

Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing

I’ll look into this in my sewing books too, and maybe even add it to the neckline of the knit top I’m trying to re-do… I’ll keep you apprised of my progress. ;)

Thanks again to everyone who commented – I learn so much from you!


Mae said...

My favourite stay material is selvedge, either from the garment fabric or from my collection. I'm in the habit of cutting off the selvedges of fabric and storing them. I especially treasure silk organza selvedge.