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Basic Stitches


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#1 Sator

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 12:15 AM

This guide to the basic handstitches used in tailoring comes from the fourth edition edited by A.A. Whife. The third edition was edited by Dellafera and published in 1962.

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#2 Sator

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 12:43 AM

The following basic introduction by Poulin is also useful:

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#3 Sator

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Posted 12 August 2010 - 11:35 AM

Clarence Poulin on the basic handstitches:

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#4 Sator

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 06:39 PM

From Samuel Heath's book Coat and Skirt Making (VIth Ed, 1981):

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#5 Sator

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Posted 02 December 2010 - 06:46 PM

From Liberty:

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#6 theBlackSheep

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 07:37 AM

many thanks for this, sator. such detail on fundamental stitches is seldom found these days.
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#7 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 09:06 AM

I really hate the serging stitch (Fig 2), you can mostly replace it by the cross stitch. In Germany the tailor seat was not recommended anymore from 1932. They advised the tailors to use the 'Plattsitz' where knee was put over knee and the material on it was liftet higher towards the eyes.
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#8 I.Brackley

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 02:47 PM

Oh we liked Poulin VERY much. Thank you, Sator! :im Not Worthy:

Lovely, clear diagrams he's got.
So that's a stoat stitch.... gah!
I wanna try it on some scrap just for kicks. :spiteful:
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#9 Guyé

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Posted 13 April 2011 - 10:48 PM

Is what Poulin calls "cord" on the buttonhole stitch the same thing that you call "gimp" here on the forum? I still have problems with my tailor english...

#10 jukes

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 12:59 AM

Is what Poulin calls "cord" on the buttonhole stitch the same thing that you call "gimp" here on the forum? I still have problems with my tailor english...



What Poulin calls cord is normally referred to as "4 cord" which is buttonhole twist doubled held between your teeth while you twist with your hands and wax, then repeat the process
doubling the twist again to make a fourcourd. This method was used before gimp came along and is still used today.


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#11 Qirrel

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 02:32 AM

I really hate the serging stitch (Fig 2), you can mostly replace it by the cross stitch. In Germany the tailor seat was not recommended anymore from 1932. They advised the tailors to use the 'Plattsitz' where knee was put over knee and the material on it was liftet higher towards the eyes.


I like this method of sitting better than the regular legs crossed one. It takes time to get used to sitting like that but I find that it makes for easier sewing and a more natural curve of the spine.

#12 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 05:41 AM

I still make my gimp like this, so far it's the best way to make gimp. BUT Jeffery just sent me a sample of the agremann gimp and looking forward to using what everyone raves about.

I also sit like this, I think, when broken down properly it is more ergonomic and you have better control over the garment. I tried to sit with legs crossed and various bits and bobs like to go to sleep on me and since the arm is held in less than 90* I can start to feel my tendinitis flare.
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#13 Sator

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 12:11 PM

In Germany the tailor seat was not recommended any more from 1932.


I don't think tailors anywhere still teach you to sit on the floor to sew. I agree that this is extremely old fashioned and not recommended. The only time I do it is when I am handsewing at home in the living room sitting in front of the TV. I wouldn't recommend that anyone set up their workshop to have their employees sit cross legged, unless someone had some disability that required it.

The correct modern sitting position is as follows:

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Note the way the feet are placed on a stool or other rest. The legs are crossed and the knee used as a stable sewing platform.

#14 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 12:47 PM

And why is it not recommended? Don't tell me ergonomics, because sitting cross-legged is just as ergonomical if not more than other methods. I can not sit as above, things fall asleep and keeping your elbow at less than 90* for long periods is not very ergonomical, and I find sewing this way you support the cloth weight more as you sew.

Yes at some point, the older tailors adapted to this which was easier on the hips and brought to sewing closer, but it has just as many problems. I'll sit cross-legged until I can not sit any-longer.
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#15 Guyé

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 06:52 PM

What Poulin calls cord is normally referred to as "4 cord" which is buttonhole twist doubled held between your teeth while you twist with your hands and wax, then repeat the process
doubling the twist again to make a fourcourd. This method was used before gimp came along and is still used today.


Thanks, Jukes, that's so interesting. I've never heard of that. Even when I go to the supplies shop to ask for some gimp, they say they will no longer carry most of the colours, cause tailors don't use them no more (because of using lightweight suitings).
So in case of needing it, it will be good to know an alternative way of having cord/gimp.

#16 tailleuse

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Posted 16 April 2011 - 06:42 AM

I really hate the serging stitch (Fig 2), you can mostly replace it by the cross stitch. In Germany the tailor seat was not recommended anymore from 1932. They advised the tailors to use the 'Plattsitz' where knee was put over knee and the material on it was liftet higher towards the eyes.



Herr Zuschneider:

When the cross stitch (I was taught that was a "catch stitch," but no matter) is used to replace the serging (overcast) stitch does the thread loop over the raw edge? Or is it a a row of catch stitches about 1/8" away from the raw edge of the seam allowance. How much space do you put between the stitches? 1/8" a 1/4"?


I don't like overcasting and I think I might get better result with the catchstitch. I've also considered the "cross your hand" stitch.

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#17 Guyé

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 08:26 PM

I still make my gimp like this, so far it's the best way to make gimp. BUT Jeffery just sent me a sample of the agremann gimp and looking forward to using what everyone raves about.

I've seen agremann gimp and think is like the one i use to buy. When there won't be no more available by the metre, at least I can still buy whole rolls of agremann. Or maybe I'll then prefer four cord, once I have tried it, who knows...

#18 Nishijin

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 01:46 AM

I've tried Agreman, 4-cord, "2-cord" and even "1-cord" as gimp.

For coats, my favorite is still Agreman. Buttonholes are much more nice. I find it works OK even on light cloths, such as Super 130s 9oz cloth. For lighter cloths (say 7oz panama weave), I think Agreman becomes too stiff, so I use 4 cord, or even well stiffened 2 cord. For trousers, I like buttonholes to be very supple, so I use 2 cord or even just the same buttonhole twist thread for gimp as for the stitches. It depends on the buttonhole, should I say.

I've found too that the pattern of the cloth matters : the gimp changes the look of the buttonhole, and some looks are better on some patterns than others. I've discovered that while working on a birdseye pattern, where my usual buttonholes looked kinda sloppy, so I made them differently and got better result.

I've bought 100m rolls of Agreman in main colors (black, grey and navy), that whould be enough for me for some time... For fancy colors, I usually can't buy cut lengths, so I use 4 cords.
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