Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Little Info and a Challenge!

First there were several questions posed from my last couple of posts...

Directional Sewing/Stitching
The first was about directional sewing...which I subsequently found out after a little internet research is also called directional stitching. These were the two explanations that I liked best - italics are mine:

Directional stitching: 1 All sewing lines follow the direction of the fabric grain – also known as ‘stroking the cat’ (to find the direction of the grain, run finger along cut edge and stitch in direction in which fibres curl smoothly). 2. In dressmaking, directional stitching refers to stitching every seam in the same direction, ie: all seams waist to hem in order to prevent seams puckering or stretching. 3. On a sewing machine, this refers to multi-directional stitching including side to side (not just forwards and backwards).

Directional stitching - Stitching with the grain in woven fabrics. In knits, stitching all seams in the same direction

These websites had actually pictures and descriptions of directional sewing/stitching:
discusses directional sewing in knits

about.com’s instructions on directional sewing:

Taunton has a book called
Sew Basic that also discusses directional sewing. And there are three blogs on the internet that talk about directional sewing: Shannon (Hungry Zombie Couture), Tany’s (Couture et Tricot) and yours truly.

Did I give you enough links? *LOL* I started looking this up and was amazed at what I found though most of the good stuff was further into the pages of the Google's hits!

Okay, next - Seam Integrity...sorry no Googled links for this because I can tell this to you in several short sentences.

The seam allowances are drafted into the pattern to serve a purpose. And seam integrity is always being true to the drafted seam allowance....not shortening it, not messing with it, etc. sewing it exactly as the pattern dictates. For example, if a pattern has a 5/8" seam allowance always sew it 5/8. Or if it's 3/8" sew it that amount, do not tinker with it, hence the term seam integrity.

Of course this leads to Nancy's question about how do you fit if you don't take it from the seam allowances...this opens an entire suitcase full of worms...a Pandora's box of fit if you will! But briefly, IMHO true fit should be achieved by either slicing and dicing the pattern, using the pivot and slide method that Nancy Zieman teaches, or by altering the pattern piece in some manner. This is a very brief description because posts and posts and posts can be written about how to achieve a good fitting pattern. I think each sewist has or will have a method that they have perfected and that works for them and I WOULD NOT tell anyone that the method they use is wrong because fit is sooooooo subjective!

However, I will tell you that before I learned more about fitting patterns that I always altered a pattern at the seam allowances, too. Then I would wonder why my side seams or back seams were wonky. So instead, I will share with you a few book titles from my sewing library on fit!

1. How to Make Clothes that fit and flatter
Author: Adele Margolis

2. The Busy Woman's Fitting Book
Authors: Nancy Zieman with Robbie Fanning

3. Fitting Finesse
Author: Nancy Zieman

4. Every Sewer's Guide to Perfect Fit

(I think this was reissued under another name!)
Authors: Mary Morris & Sally McCann

5. Fabulous Fit
Author: Judith Rasband

6. Fit for Real People
Authors: Pati Palmer & Marta Alto

7. Singer Sewing Reference Library - The Perfect Fit

8. Fit and Fabric from Threads Magazine

Finally, the challenge! During my googling frenzy, I happened upon a sewing test on this site, [
Name - 2:23pm
File Format: Microsoft Word -
View as HTMLDirectional sewing lines. Notches that are used for matching pattern pieces. Pattern decorations. Used for shortening or lengthening. ...my.uen.org/documentsDisplay/downloadfile?userid=ostlerh&documentid=3058123 - to make this enormous link work just click on the Name-2:23pm portion. I have tried really hard to give as much "copyright credit" as I can to this googled entry by listing the entire link. If anyone knows who the test belongs to and can send me some information about it so that I can properly credit the author of the test, I would appreciate it.

The Challenge:
There is a sewing test here. You should take it and see how well you do. I'm gonna take it too and we can post our scores - let's say 2 pts for every right answer - in the comments section. Ready, set, go!


  1. Well, that was one long test! I think I got them all right, but there's no answer key. Also, if you view it online, you don't see the diagrams. If you download it to word, you see them.

  2. thanks for the info Carolyn, I'm going to check them out right now

  3. What a great post, Carolyn, a wealth of information

  4. Well, I never could pass up a good challenge so I'm off to download the test. I had learned about directional stitching years ago, but was not familar with seam integrity. Thank you for sharing what you've learned with the rest of us!

  5. Carolyn, the last link you posted doesn't seem to work for me!! I get a HTTP status 404 error report (?!?! whatever this means...)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Carolyn,the first time I tried to open the link I got the same messsage as tany, but I had clicked on 2:23, when I tried it again I clicked on Name and it worked. Also under the documents properties the author is Judy Hatch from East High School....
    It's a long test, will do it after "chores" :) Ann

  8. Thanks for the info on seam integrity! That will really need some thinking and analysis to really understand. I'll take it on when I'm ready for a puzzle.

  9. I just finished the test... I'm pretty sure I got them all right :) It was fun to do, thanks Carolyn.

  10. I find the concept of seam integrity very interesting. Actually, my concerns have always been with "whole pattern" integrity of choosing a size that I can fit to my body without distortion from huge alterations. I wonder if some seams are very important to this concept, while others can be fudged. For example, back darts. The back shape is a very individual thing and back darts need to be shaped to fit one's own body. In fact, this goes goes back to a moment of self discovery that I'll write about in my blog in the next day or so. Now that my brain is wrapped around this topic, I'll probably be thinking about in bed for a couple of hours LOL! Thanks for bringing these interesting issues up in your blog.

  11. Thanks for the post Carolyn. Seam integrity is interesting but I don't think it would apply to all seams? For instance - side seams of a skirt. You really do need to pin fit them to your shape. And darts too as Kat mentioned - again adjust to your shape. When you use different fabrics you do get different results. I wonder how that fits in with the seam integrity? I hadn't really thought about it before.

  12. I never thought of "seam integrity" as a defined concept, but it makes sense to me. When I alter and adjust patterns, I always try to maintain the 5/8" seam allowance. Now, I know I was doing it for a reason! Thanks for providing that information.

    And, the test was fun! :)


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated!


Related Posts with Thumbnails