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Tutorials

The bias of a piece of fabric is the diagonal of this fabric in relation to its two directions (warp and weft). The edges of a piece of fabric are called selvages. The warp threads are parallel to the selvages and the threads of the weft are perpendicular to the selvages.

To make your bias tape you need to cut a strip of fabric in a diagonal direction in order to use it. The bias is found at 45º in relation to the warp and weft.

Fabric is more flexible and elastic on the bias. A bias tape allows us to edge a piece of fabric with curves due to its ability to follow the seam without the danger of becoming stiff or wrinkling the fabric.

*    means the right side of the fabric.
*    means the wrong side of the fabric.

*Draw 2 rectangles, following the bias of the fabric (1). You can fold the fabric as shown in the diagram, the visible diagonal represents the bias of the fabric. If you need a bias of 1.9 cms, the width of your bias needs to measure 1.9×2=3.8cms and the length should be as required. This should then be cut to the desired length (2).


*With the two rectangles put right side to right side together (3), draw the diagonal as shown in the photograph and sew over it (4).

*Open the bias tape (4) and cut off the excess tape (5).

*Now that we have a strip of bias, we need to fold it. There are two ways of doing this:

 1  First

In order to do this you need a funned like the one shown in the photo. There are many different sizes. You need to insert the fabric into the widest part, pushing it using a pin or something similar so that it comes out the other side, you need to iron it at the same time. The your bias tape is now ready for use.

 


2  Second

You only need an iron. You need to iron it as you go along following the instructions. Fold the bias strip in 2 (1),then  fold each half (2). Lastly  fold everything (3). Your bias strip is now ready for use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Fabric is generally sewn with a single seam. The seam should be stitched 1cm to 1.5 cms from the edge.
There are different types of finishes that prevent fabric from fraying.

It is advisable to use one the following methods to finish edges before sewing a garment together (you can do this later on but it is less convenient):

– Use pinking shears
– Overcast using a sewing maching set on a zigzag stitch
– Turn over the egdges and sew
– Overcast using an overlocker

These finishing methods are not necessary for hidden edges (turn ups, hems etc…).  

When sewing 2 pieces of fabric together do not forget to take into account the millimetres that you are going to cut off or turn over when finishing the edges of your fabric. For example, if you are going to sew with a 1cm seam allowance and you have cut off 3mm you will have to sew with a seam allowance of just 0.7mm!

 After sewing the fabric together,  you need to iron the seams open:

 

*** THE QUICKEST METHOD                   Use pinking shears

This method can be used for fabrics that do not fray. It allows you to save a considerable amount of time. You just need pinking shears.
Cut the edges (as little as possible) with pinking shears. 

 

*** A GOOD COMPROMISE              Zigzag stitch

This method can be used for all types of fabric. Zigzag stitch is ideal for preventing edges from fraying.
Use a stitch length of 1.5 and a width of 2. Sew along the inside edge and then cut along the fabric next to the zigzag stitching.

 


*** THE MOST RESISTANT AND WELL DEFINED  
Turn over and sew

This method means that you get a very resistant and neat  finish on your fabric. It is suitable for cottons or delicate fabric.
Turn the fabric over and sew a seam of about 3mm on the wrong side of the fabric close to the edge using a straight stitch. Then turn the fabric over and sew right side to right side. Iron the seam open.

 

 

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*** THE MOST PROFESSIONAL METHOD  Overcast using an overlocker

This is the most professional method. It gives an impeccable finish. However, you need access to an overlocker. It can be used for all types of fabric.

 

Gathering: small pleats obtained by folding fabric or sliding it along a piece of thread to reduce the width or fullness of the fabric.

 means the right side of the fabric.

*  means the other side of the fabric.

 

Example­: a skirt draped over the front half.

 *In order to be able to gather properly, the pieces of fabric to be gathered need two lines of stitching on the right side of the fabric. (1). Use a sufficiently long stitch length (5/6) to gather the fabric, the thicker the fabric, the longer the stitch length required (2). It is a good idea to carry out some tests first. To facilitate gathering make sure that the thread used is strong enough so as not to break when pulled.

 

*Place the fabric which is going to be gathered onto the piece of fabric it is going to be sewed (3) (which corresponds to the length of the gathered fabric). If your model has reference points/marking for the gathering mark these points using pins placed vertically in order to distribute the gathers evenly (4).

 

*To gather evenly, you should pull the top two threads towards you (5) in order to distribute the gathers. Once the gathers are evenly distributed, iron then hold the fabric in place using pins/fabric clips (6) and sew (7). Finally remove the two lines of thread used to perform the gathering.