Skip to main content

Marking seam allowances

Though I admit that default seam allowances to pattern pieces can be very useful when the seams are long and more or less straight, most of the time I prefer to mark the exact seam lines on my fabric. Especially when the seams have short curves, like a neckline, armhole or princess seam. The same is true for darts: I like to know exactly where the lines on the pattern were (or where I drafted them) and don’t want to rely on pins or tacks with basting thread.

My preferred way of marking is with carbon paper. I know I’ve written about it before but it’s a long time ago. Apart from the carbon paper, which is also called wax paper, you need a tracing wheel and a table or flat surface you can put the paper on. I use a cutting mat for it.

P6131217

The way it’s done is marking the pieces first while the pattern is still attached to the fabric, then you take the paper off, flip the fabric over to the other side and retrace again over the lines you made. I use this for almost all patterns that don’t include seam allowances. On those that have seam allowances I mark the notches and other significant marks on the pattern this way. The above pattern piece is a facing of a dress that I drafted and I haven’t added seam allowances to the pattern.

The paper is years old, taped on the back side and still very useful. It will last a very long time. There are of course exceptions to the use of it: sheer fabric and white are difficult fabrics for this. For white I will use white wax paper. Much less clear to see but I don’t want the risk of the marking showing. If in doubt you should always test it first.

P6131221

For the darts I mark the end points with a small line too.

I learned to sew with exact seam lines (though by basting them, which is a very time consuming job) and like I said before, it’s what I prefer. The pictures above are from a dress I’m making right now. Hope to show you that soon.

Comments

  1. This is what I do too. Exactly the same... with the like to mark end of darts and everything. I was just using the carbon paper the other day thinking how old it was... at least 20... good value I think! I have found it does not wash out on some fabrics also.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I could really do this except for a problem I have. When I mark a pattern using a tracing wheel, I find that it ruins the tissue so as to make it unusable a second time. I've tried putting Scotch tape over the areas to be marked but that just makes a wrinkly mess. Love your blog. I have a pen pal who emigrated from the Netherlands many years ago; I never fail to think of her when I read your interesting posts. So thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for showing this. I will be doing this in the future just to make my sewing more exact. Your blog is always inspiring and I am always learning.

    Thank you
    Marie

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

It's always nice to have feedback on what I'm posting about. All comments, also positive criticism, are always highly appreciated.
Leuk als je een berichtje schrijft, altijd leuk om te lezen, ook opbouwende kritiek!

Popular posts from this blog

How to sew a sleeveless top with facings

How lovely to read the nice comments on my jacket. Grumpy without coffee commented that the original artist for the cartoon (which apparently was for books) was Sarah Andersen. Thank you for mentioning it. Beckster asked about the way I closed the center back seam of the lining. I did it by machine. She also said “Although I have not tried it, I have been told that the lining can be made by using the pattern minus the seam allowance and facings.” Well, certainly not without seam allowances, it should be without hem and without the facings. Important is that you have about 5 cm hem in the jacket for this to work. And I would always make a center back pleat. It gives you space to move without the lining pulling on the fabric. Next time I make a jacket I will try to make photos of the process of bagging the lining (Patsijean said she would have liked to see them and probably more would be interested). Might take a while though, see the end of this post.-----------------------------I mad…

Hilarious description

This week I bought the January Burda issue and browsing through it this top, and especially its description had my attention. Written by someone who has no understanding of modern, functional fabrics and never goes to the gym. Don’t know whether it’s the same in the English issue of the magazine, but in Dutch it says “Sport shirts often have the disadvantage to be close fitted.  This restricts your movement. Our suggestion: make this shirt with a full draped back.“I didn’t care to check their description of sports shirts they published before, but thought this one was hilarious.Off to trace a pattern from this magazine (not this one).

Lining a vest

In this post I'll describe how to line a vest. This description is based on the technique that is described in a Burda sewing book I have (in Dutch).

For your information: here you can find this description in a PDF-file.

First the result of the vest, I had no buttons to go with it, will add these later.


The back of the lining is cut 3-4 centimeters from the fold of the fabric. This gives moving space and prevents your outer fabric from pulling.


Sew the center back seam partially: 5 centimeters on the top, and a few centimetres in the waist and on the bottom.



Sew outside of vest as normal, but do not sew the side seams.


Sew lining, without sewing side seams.

Pin and seam vest and lining at front, armholes and back hem. Stitch to the exact seamline of the sideseam, not over it (see next picture)



Make sure you mark the side seam, to be sure that you do not stitch too far.


Clip all round seams, grade seams if your fabric is thick.


Turn the vest by putting your hand through the side s…