Thank you so much to Carla, Mamafitz, Sarah, Katherine, Sarah, Debbie, Lisa Laree and Shannon for talking back to my confession last week! I asked if people diligently followed the sewing instructions that direct us to do a seam twice – first basting and then, immediately afterwards, stitching.
It sounds like most people do at least some basting. Only 1 person replied “never” and one other replied “rarely.”
As for when to baste, I got the impression that the commenters rely more heavily on their judgment than the pattern instructions. The most commonly mentioned reasons to baste were:
- “tricky bits” that might not line up (2 votes)
- to check the fit of a garment before committing to small stitches or the serger (2 votes)
- pleats (2 votes)
Other circumstances for basting first, each called out by one person, included: stay stitching knits, gathering, curvy seams, trim, straps, invisible zippers and expensive or fragile fabric.
Interestingly, the topic of basting sleeves brought up the most discussion.
Three people reported that they never baste their sleeves. They seem to rely on a combination of heavy pinning (and thanks to Carla for a link to this tutorial! - ) and/or attaching them flat (before the side seams have been sewn up) and trimming any excess fabric at the edges.
Some will do ease stitching to set in a puffy sleeve – although Mamafitz does her ease stitching with a regular length stitch. When Lisa Laree is feeling the pull of perfectionism, she’ll baste 2 rows of ease stitches into each puffy sleeve and adjust each row separately! Now that is attention to detail!
Finally, a couple of people reported that, while they don’t baste their sleeves, they do stitch them twice to reinforce them. Sarah E. stitches two seams – one at 5/8ths of an inch and the other at ¼. Shannon doesn’t go all the way around a sleeve twice, but she does reinforce several inches of the underarm seam with a second row of stitches. (And she does the same for crotch seams.)
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to comment! I learn so much from all your advice and experience! :)
Photo – in honor of Sarah, who does about half her basting by hand! – from:http://www.squidoo.com/handstitchingtechniques