July 31, 2020

How to Balance Fabric Weaves & Weights

Sewing is not easy, but with the right tips, anyone can do it. Sewers must learn how to use a machine, read patterns, recognize different fabrics, and more. Further, they must know how to balance fabric weaves and weights. Joining fabrics is tricky for inexperienced sewers, but this guide will help you pay close attention to detail so you don’t run into any unwanted stretch or overlap.

Use Seam Finishes and Interfaces

Only use the right seam finish appropriate to that fabric even if that means using two different finishes per seam. With that, there are many seam finishes to consider. Pinked seam finish involves using pinking shears to cut the fabric. Additionally, zigzag finishes are made with a sewing machine—they counter clean or straight finishes in which a straight stitch ensures no fraying. Otherwise, a French seam produces a clean finish for lightweight and sheer fabrics that hide raw edges. You can also interface the seams in which you fuse a strip of interfacing to the fabric before stitching to stabilize it.

Control Seam Allowances

A seam allowance is an area between the fabric and stitching line sewn together. It can range from less than an inch to several inches. While straight seams typically have larger seam allowances, curved seams have smaller, hidden ones. When combining fabric, consider topstitching or edge stitching to hold the seam allowances in place and add more detail. Stitching these in place can add detail and keep them out of the way.

Match Treatments to Fabrics

The last thing to know when balancing fabric weaves and weights is matching treatments to the fabrics. Some fabrics require special treatment to achieve smooth seams. Specific cuts and presses ensure this. Depending on the tightness of the fabric’s weave, the front edge may stretch slightly to match its longer side. Keep trim amounts less than ¼" to avoid any influence or flex on the stitching.

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