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The Fashion Design Reference & Specification Book by Laura Volpintesta, Jay Calderin

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Job:02-30034 Title:RP-Fashion Design Ref and Spec Book
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176 THE FASHION DESIGN REFERENCE + SPECIFICATION BOOK
(Text)
Chapter 16: Stitching
TYPES OF STITCHING
Hand Stitching
They say that “a stitch in time saves nine.” Although some designers might opt to skip right
to permanent stitches, the temporary hand stitch known as basting proves that the old adage
could not be truer. Temporary stitches allow the designer to assemble sections of a garment
in a way that can easily be altered. Removing machine stitches will often leave needle marks
in, and sometimes destroy, fragile fabrics. Basting seams together before machine stitching
can also help avoid slippage when sewing two or more layers of fabrics together. Temporary
stitches can be used as well to transfer pattern information, such as the placement of button
holes, pockets, and other design details. Not all types of handwork are temporary. Securing
buttons, tacking, and finishing touches such as hemming are meant to stand the test of time
and repeated use. Besides needles and thread, taking on a sewing task will often require
pins, scissors, pinking shears, thread nippers, and every stitchers best friend, the seam rip-
per.
Machine Stitching
Designers have several choices when it comes to sewing machines. The basic straight stitch
machine allows the sewer to control stitch length, change needle position, and increase or
decrease tension as needed. With a well-calibrated machine and the right choice of needle
for the job, a designer can sew anything from chiffon to leather. The mechanics of the sewing
machine rely on a needle that feeds a loop of the top thread through the fabrics being sewn
together and catches the bobbin, a smaller spool of thread situated under the fabric, to cre-
ate a lock stitch. The presser foot stabilizes the fabric as a feed dog mechanism moves it
through the machine at the right pace. The sewer must guide the fabric but never pull or push
it through the machine.
Certain types of machine sewing—zigzag, blind hem, button hole, and decorative stitchcan
be done on separate specialty machines. In some cases, a regular straight stitch machine
can produce these stitches with the change of a presser foot or the attachment of special
hardware. A serger, sometimes called an overlock, babylock, or by the brand name Merrow,
is a machine that finishes an edge by overcasting it and trimming the excess fabric to
prevent fraying.
Machine stitching is employed in making all manner of seams; however, it can be used for
more than joining parts of the garment together. Understitching is used on the right side of
facings and areas where the designer wishes to avoid rolling. Stitching in the ditch is used
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17 7
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Straight Stitch Machine
Overlock Machine
when the designer wants the stitching to be inconspicuous. Stay stitches allow the designer
to control an area that might stretch out of shape because it is curved or on the bias. Edge
stitching and topstitching can be applied decoratively (with thread in a contrasting color) or to
reinforce a seam. Zigzag stitches can also be decorative and are helpful when constructing
garments with stretch fabrics. Machines can also generate large, loose stitches sometimes
referred to as machine basting or gathering stitches. A stronger bobbin thread is used for
gathering, because it is the thread that is pulled to make the gathers.
Buttonhole Machine
Photograph by Emilia Stasiak/Fotolia.
Photograph by YoniLab/Fotolia.
Photograph by lkordela/Fotolia.
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