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#1 Nigel

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 12:14 AM

I have nearly finished making my 8th shirt (6 for me and 2 for my wife).  I have made good progress with the drafts which are now giving nicely fitted garments but I am struggling with aspects of the sewing itself and getting frustrated that my technique is not progressing as quickly as I would like.

 

The first problem is the felled seams.  I have tried sewing these with and without a special felling foot but something always goes wrong, requiring lots of time consuming rework.  Using the felling foot without pre ironing any of the seams, or in some cases even basing or pinning them, is too risky I have found - sometimes it goes well and sometimes it just doesn't.  Felling feet also can't cope with seams coming in at right angles such as at the join between the arm and the front and back.  When the felling foot works however it is a joy to use.

 

I am a massive fan of David Coffin (without his books I would not have made any shirts or even attempted tailoring) but I can't master his technique for attaching cuffs and collars, or at least to do so neatly.  I have now changed to making up my cuffs separately before attaching them, making final adjustments to the pleats to get them to match properly and am quite pleased with the results.  I intend to try the same approach to collars with my next shirt - i.e. attaching the collar to the stand first and then attaching the whole to the shirt.  He attaches the inside layer first and then folds the outside layer in before topstitching - should one use the same sequence for sewing cuff and collars that have been made up first?  And should the interlinings always be on the inside layer for the cuffs but on the outside layer for the collar stand?

 

 



#2 posaune

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 12:36 AM

Nigel,

do as how it is best for you. There are no rules about it. If you can't work with one method try the other one.

I fell my seams not with a felling foot. I cut the same s.a. and fit the shirt . After this I cut away 0.7 cm from the side which goes under. Fold the longer s.a. over the short. Put it under the sewing foot and stitch in with the needle. Now I press with my fingers first the seam to one side and after this I fold under the longer s.a. part press with my finger about maybe 10 cm, sew,  let the needle down and repeat. But this is me.

I ever set the sleeve in and then fell the armhole seam. It looks cleaner for me.

And I do not do this technique for setting the collar and the cuffs. I do them seperatly. Doing it seperatly you must be very accurate in your sewing. And the interlining I put in every case at the outside collar, Outside cuff and inside collar stand(direct to the neck) -  So no s.a. is to see.

But as I stated before this is me.

lg

posaune


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#3 Schneiderfrei

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 01:06 AM

Hi Nigel,

 

I also have difficulty with felled seams. Because I have no time pressure, I sew the outer seam with the machine and actually hand sew the fells on the curves, which are harder to control.  The felling foot is fine for tablecloths and handkerchiefs.

 

I happen to like the cuffs/collars presented in D Coffin's book. There was a great deal of unpleasant discussion about this on the forum in the past. All the same, I find that method quite straight forward and the automatic wrap around effect on the edges is good looking.  Although, I think you might be referring to the "burrito" method. I expect you could easily train 10,000 Chinese sewers to preform that technique if required, in an industrial setting  :thumbsup: .

 

That said I find it difficult to control accuracy in the burrito because the outside surface is so covered up when you are doing it, so I revert to the separate version too. The burrito is a great challenge.

 

I think that ideally, the interlining should be on the outside surface of the seam allowance, so that all the extra cloth is not creating lumps on the side facing the exterior.

 

The difference between posaune's method for the exterior interlining of the cuff and stand is the you would put it on the exterior surface for a button cuff but inside for a french cuff since it is folded out.

 

Thank you so much posaune for telling your way of making the felled seam.

 

What is the felled seam called in German?

 

 

Hope that helps

 

G


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#4 Nigel

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 01:51 AM

Very encouraging, and great advice - thank you.  I will experiment with these other ways of doing the felled seams until I find one that works for me.  Bespoke shirts are such a pleasure to wear and the challenge of sewing them is strangely therapeutic!



#5 posaune

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 01:57 AM

It is a Kappnaht and the feet is called a Kapper, Schneiderfrei.

Nigel, whenever I feel it is time to meditate I sew my husband a shirt. Nice cotton fabric, which behaves - simple cut -  and accurate sewing.

(What a relief after sewing slippery fabric which you can only cut if you fasten it on a layer of paper).

lg

Posaune


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#6 Philip_AMS

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:29 AM

so we use a felling machine for this in the course i teach but i also show students the manual way which they prefer as they don't like the felling machine.  so make sure you set up your seam allowances correctly first on the pattern.  if you intend to do your felling seam to be (for shirts i suggest 8mm) then add an 8mm seam to the side with will have the twin stitching showing and the other side you double the top side seam allowance

 

so top side  = 8mm

under =16mm

 

then on the underside chalk or you can use a pencil lightly mark 8mm, lay this onto the top side and stitch in the middle.  The fold over and twin stitch.  This is the best way to do a manual felled seam.  I will upload some pictures for easy ref

 

I have added pictures to the post image gallery called felling seam.  Of course when we do this in production the felling machine is known as an off the arm machine which makes it easy to fell the underarm seam but when doing it on a normal single stitch its more tricky as you have only the cuff width the pull the whole side seam through (your sleeves are already set in at this stage)

 

https://postimg.cc/gallery/1hqob96j4/


Edited by Philip_AMS, 23 May 2018 - 05:03 PM.

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#7 Philip_AMS

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:49 AM

for some reason I cant upload the pictures 



#8 Philip_AMS

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 03:54 AM

in shirt construction as soon as you have joined the shoulder seams together prepare the collar and collar stand and apply it immediately as the neck stretches out after just a few times in handling under the machine



#9 dpcoffin

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 05:27 AM

Looks like I chose the wrong triplicate post to reply to, so I've copied my reply over here, if anybody ever manages to delete the others:

 


Hi Nigel, so glad to hear you've found my work helpful, thanks:)

But whenever something or other in it's NOT proving as helpful as something else you try, please just do what works best for you! The bottom line for me in sewing is always the end result, NOT the path there; whatever works FOR YOU is the ONLY rule, and the only "should", I stand by, and ultimately recommend.

 

The methods I describe in my book were absolutely the best ways I personally found I could finally get results I liked when I was first trying and failing with more conventional ones, but after years of refining even my success with them (a process still going on!), I also found that effort had brought my skills up enough so I could now also get the methods I'd not had good results with earlier to work, too. I stick with the collar and cuff steps in my book now only because I prefer the bulk reduction and smoother edge transitions they offer me compared to other methods I know of, even when done well. Same for any other methods.

 

In other words, initially, my preference for one method over another had most to do with which ones required the least skill or practice on my part to work well, but once I had a little skill and confidence, the functional differences were all that remained to distinguish them, if any. And sometimes these are significant, to me anyway, and sometimes not, which often has to do with the fabrics involved, thinner ones requiring less concern over bulk reduction, for example.

 

When there's no functional difference that matters, all that's left is speed, I suppose! I say "suppose" because speed's not much of an issue with me, since I'm usually not under any production pressure, and I generally prefer projects in which I'm trying out something new to me rather than cranking out the same exact thing every time, and I love how this requires me to slow down, make tests, be open to innovation and on-the-spot improvising, and stop often to think carefully thru every step.

 

As for felling (or hemming) feet and bulk, if a test shows that the foot is absolutely not going to make it across some crossing seam or angle with the current fabric, but I still want the narrow folds and precision stitch placement it offers, I just skip over the thick bits for a few centimeters on either side and come back later to deal with them using a regular foot, after trimming and pressing to make the blend as invisible as possible. And sometimes it's just easier to pre-form the entire seam or edge first and skip the special feet…or use the felling foot only as an edge guide to simplify accuracy, without running any fabric into the rolling or folding mechanism. (I wrote an article recently about alternate uses and tricks for rolling and felling feet in Threads magazine, issue #188, Dec 2017/Jan 2018; sorry it's not apparently online for free reading, yet.) Efficiency with the not-new parts of any project is important of course!

 

Interlinings for me are always managed on a pre-case basis, given my interest in new challenges, but they're completely covered by the whatever works rule as far as I'm concerned. Usually that means they get applied to the outer layer, if not both, even if not fused, simply because this puts them over the turned allowances, not under, and thus can help to visually smooth out the bulk of those.

 

HTH; best wishes!


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#10 dpcoffin

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 05:30 AM

 

The difference between posaune's method for the exterior interlining of the cuff and stand is the you would put it on the exterior surface for a button cuff but inside for a french cuff since it is folded out.

 

 

 

Good point! And what do the French call a French cuff?



#11 sans-seraph

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 07:42 AM

 

Good point! And what do the French call a French cuff?

 

Royale with cheese.

 

Movie references aside, I've been wondering about this myself.  French Wikipedia calls them poignet mousquetaire (musketeer cuffs).

https://fr.wikipedia...et_mousquetaire


Edited by sans-seraph, 23 May 2018 - 07:43 AM.


#12 sans-seraph

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 07:46 AM

W. H. Taylor claims French cuffs aren't even French:

https://www.whtshirt...uff-double-cuff



#13 Philip_AMS

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 08:27 AM

anyone know why I can't post pictures? mentioned error this upload failed, the file size is 700KB so less than 1MB


Edited by Philip_AMS, 23 May 2018 - 08:28 AM.


#14 Nigel

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 09:23 AM

David

 

Thank you for your most helpful comments.  The bulk reduction argument makes a lot of sense.  I found that fitting a cuff the conventional way does give rise to quite a sizeable bump at the cuff opening, which your method does not, even after grading the seams.  I like using the felling foot and I did what you suggest in your book to get over the intersecting seams but my problem is that I have not yet mastered it on the straight.

 

I guess it is always a danger with any intricate activity such as sewing a shirt that one can get obsessed with the detail, although this is no bad thing perhaps if one wishes to improve.  My main concerns just now, other than getting an excellent fit, are accuracy and neatness - quite a challenge when virtually all stitching is visible in the finished article.  Time saving would be nice too but the place to start would probably be to supplement my industrial sewing machine with one that can do more than just sew in a straight line so that I don't have to do all my buttonholes by hand.

 

Nigel



#15 Schneiderfrei

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 09:49 AM

 

Good point! And what do the French call a French cuff?

 

The "L'Cuff Anglaise" of course. :tease:

 

With apologies to Gramountoto and others.


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#16 Schneiderfrei

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 09:54 AM

anyone know why I can't post pictures? mentioned error this upload failed, the file size is 700KB so less than 1MB

 

Hi Philip,

 

This is such a vexed problem at the moment. The forum has always had a size issue and only tiny images can be posted directly. 

 

So, most folks post the URLs to an image hosting site, like Postimage. 

 

Many have used Photobucket in the past, but recently Photobucket has become totally destructive and withheld images to "3rd party sites"such as this not for profit forum.

 

Try out Postimage.

 

https://postimages.org/

 

G


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Found on a beach picked up and you held so close


#17 Dunc

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 08:33 PM

Felling seams is largely a matter of practice, I think. I've just switched to a new machine with different feet so I'm kinda back to square one, but on my old machine I'd got to the stage where I could pretty consistently fell the side seams with no prep other than a few pins - I always match the shoulder seams, then pin towards the end of the side seam I'm going to be sewing from. I don't trim the allowances, I just make sure the bottom piece projects by the appropriate amount and eyeball it as it goes through the foot. Getting over the shoulder seams is certainly a bit of a pain - unless it's a very thin fabric, I've usually found that the best option is to stop just short of the shoulder seam, take the side seam out of the felling foot, fold it under by hand, sew over the shoulder seam, and then put the side seam back in the foot.

 

My new machine is semi-industrial (a Janome 1600P) and takes industrial feet, so I no longer have a domestic-style felling foot. I've modified a 1/4" scroll hemmer by trimming down the pigtail, but it handles quite differently, so I'm basically having to learn all over again...

 

On cuffs, I've decided that I much prefer this approach to the one David recommends - I personally find it quicker, easier, and I think it gives better results. The trick to matching the length of the sleeve end to that of the pre-prepared cuff is to form the last (or only) pleat as you attach the cuff. This way, you can size the cuff very precisely. However, you should try every variation you can find or think of before you decide what works best for you.

 

I also take a similar approach to attaching collars - I construct the collar and stand separately, with the inside of the collar stand "clean finished" to the interfacing, then attach the outside of the stand to the shirt body, and finally top-stitch the whole stand. The main problem here is that you don't have any pleats to absorb any difference between the length of the collar stand and the length of the neck hole, so you need to be very precise in your measuring and construction. You can get a little bit of wiggle room if you err on cutting the stand a little short, as you can stretch it a bit as you attach it - but it needs to be no more than a few millimetres at each end.

 

Another tip for the collar stand is not to trim the neck seam allowance of the outer piece to size prior to construction - I deliberately leave a bit of excess here, then once I've attached the collar stand to the collar, I mark the position of the neck seam using the clean finished edge of the inner stand as a guide, and only then mark the neck seam allowance and trim it to size.

 

The only "burrito" method I've seen in shirt-making is for attaching the fronts to the yokes... (Which is the way I prefer to do it.) But that's a whole other post...

 

As I said recently on another thread, there is a lot to learn in shirt construction. I've lost count of the number of shirts I've made now (definitely over a dozen, but probably less than two dozen), and I'm still very much learning, and still evolving my techniques - and that's just for fairly regular dress shirts. I'm just coming to the end of making my first marcella-fronted evening shirt (with very heavy interfacing in the cuffs and collar), and that has involved a whole set of new challenges and problems.

 

I believe there's a good reason why shirt-making is traditionally regarded as a distinct speciality...


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#18 Dunc

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Posted 23 May 2018 - 08:50 PM

Oh, one other point on collars and cuffs - I like to put a bit of lengthwise ease in the facing side (i.e. the facing side is longer than the hidden side) so that I can press the seams slightly to the back after turning them, rather than to the edge. (For collars made with heavy fabric and / or interfacing, this is in addition to the ease needed to ensure everything lies smoothly.)

 

Then, of course, there's the question of whether the interfacing should be cut on the grain or on the bias... I usually bias cut interfacings for collars and collar stands, and usually cut cuffs on the grain.


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