Archive for Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Aunt Norie’s Sewing Room

January 24, 2007

N.C. asked the other day if I would, "Please explain just what you mean by bias (seams)."

I always find that things are best explained by just imagining -- you fold a napkin into a triangle, pull one corner over to the opposite corner, which creates a triangle. Then, press it with a hot iron before cutting it apart on that crease.

However, try it with an actual piece of cloth by tearing a square of cloth. You will know it's on the grain (or square to start with). Now pick it up and gently pull on that bias-cut edge.

It just goes everywhere, nothing stable about it.

Now take one of the hemmed or straight edges, try the same thing -- tug and pull. Nothing happens. It's on the grain, and won't stretch.

By cutting on that pressed or true bias line, you can so quickly see what we mean by that bias edge. Seams on the bias do take special care in any and all garments.

Her problem -- the seat of her small son's pants. A friend had said, "It's a bias edge," she recalled. "You have to sew it better or it won't stay."

"I felt like such a dummy," the woman said. "I didn't want to ask my friend what she meant. I thought I'd better ask you that you might use this in your column. I just know there must be other dummies out there like me."

No, no, my dear, you are no dummy, and true we need to know and understand what a bias cut is and its handling, so thank you and I'm very glad to explain.

Now let's go to the seat of those pants. We are dealing with a bias cut (that curve as the seam comes into the crotch), that seam is also under more stress if the wearer wears his jeans low on the hips. They, too, are always ripping out at the crotch. With all bias or near-bias edges in that seam, stronger thread is sometimes enough. I like quilting thread. It's very strong and light in weight, comes in assorted colors and works well in the sewing machine. Twill tape added to any seam (on top of the finished seam on the wrong side) reinforces it. This does add some bulk so you may not want it here. However, it does come in very narrow widths.

Happy sewing now. Remember it's so easy to learn step by step, especially with a friend if you don't sew, and would like to. Mending is how many people began, too.

Listen to the children and share your stories with them.

-- Aunt Norie, P.O. Box 265, Tonganoxie 66086, auntnorie@bdc.net.

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