Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In the Meantime- Tutorial on Sewing Ribbing

We might as well take advantage of the technical difficulties, so while we wait for the animal hats pattern, how about a down and dirty tutorial on ribbing?

First of all, let me reiterate that I have a very basic sewing machine and therefore I use a basic zig zag stitch when working with knits. I hope to someday own a serger, and on that day I anticipate many tears of joy. But until then, I zig zag. Those of you who have a serger, an overlock machine or one with a stretch stitch, use it!

Next I should say that I leave the edges of my ribbing raw. I know it's not the most high brow way to do things, but it doesn't fray or unravel and it makes it softer. And as long as you cut it cleanly it looks great.

-Wash and dry your ribbed knit fabric (available at most fabric stores.) It comes in pretty great colors so have fun with it.
-If your cutting counter professional's cut leaves something to be desired use sharp scissors or a sharp rotary cutter to clean up the edge.-Place your ribbed knit on your ironing surface, right side down. Fold up one edge to the width you'd like for your trim. Press.-Next cut the back of the trim about 1/16" wider than the front. I usually lay my pattern piece (in this case, a sleeve) out next to it and eyeball the length I'll need so I don't cut too much ribbing.-Cut the length you need. Ribbed trim needs to be stretched tight so it needs to be shorter than the edge you're sewing it to. Some people cut the ribbing to 2/3 or 3/4 of the total length. I cut the whole length because it gives me the freedom to choose how tightly I want to stretch it. It's a little wasteful, as you end up with a little scrap to cut off, but it doesn't keep me up at night.-Unfold your ribbing, put the edge of your garment inside, and refold. Pin one end.-Time to sew. Put the pinned end under your presser foot, make a few stitches and backstitch. Then pull the ribbing toward you, being careful to keep the garment fabric well inside the ribbed trim. How tight you pull determines the tightness of the trim. Too loose looks sloppy, too tight is uncomfortable and bunches.-Zig zag stitch about 1/16" from the top edge of the ribbing. Backstitch at the end and cut off the extra trim.-Done and done. I hope this helps, I'm pretty awkward at writing tutorials, so if anything needs clarification or expansion please leave a comment and I'll happily fix it/ get back to you.

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