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Chaly

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The last few days were a shirt making marathon for me.  I always try to figure out new construction techniques to give me more efficiency without impacting the garment quality.  Usually, I hem the shirt last, using either my vintage narrow hem foot or the adjustable hemmer.  I like using these attachments as I get more consistent and professional hem results.  The problem though with using them is going over thick areas such as the side seams.  This bulk will not fit through the attachments so you have to remove your fabric from the attachment prior to the seam then insert your fabric after the seam.  Then you have to go back and with a regular presser foot stitch down the seam areas.  Kind of a fiddly way of doing things but better to my liking then measuring, pressing, folding and stitching (I could never match the nice results of using the hemmers by this way of doing things).
 
Being kind of lazy this weekend and with lots of shirts to complete, I decided to hem each pattern piece prior to seaming.  This is against all advice from shirt-making instructions I’ve read.  I used the Singer vintage adjustable hemmer which has great advantage over the narrow hem foot as you can adjust to different hem widths depending on your project.    And it worked great - was a big timesaver and the results to me are just as good.  After hemming each piece, I then did a modified flat felled seam to sew the sides to the back.  It looks as good to me as hemming in the round and I like the front placket result even better.
 
So now I know the adjustable hemmer is a very good tool for garment construction - not just for hemming long stretches of fabric such as drapes, sheets, etc.  There’s lots of YouTube videos on using this attachment but what worked for me:
 
1. Double fold beginning of fabric by finger pressing for a few inches.
2.  When nearing the end, use a forceps to guide the last bit of fabric through.
3. The beginning has about 1/2” of unstitched hem - this is okay since it will be caught in the seam.
4. To mimic hemming in the round - seams should be French seams or modified flat felled.
 
Photos show some the the stages of this work and hem results from two the of shirts illustrating how the side seams turned out. adj hemmer start.jpg  adj hemmer end.jpg  adj hemmer shirt back piece.jpg  adj hemmer shirt bottom.jpg  placket.jpg  inside side seam 2.jpg  side seam 2.jpg 

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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #2 
I'm impressed - I've never been able to get one of those damn things to work for me, and I'd be afraid the separately sewn hems wouldn't line up!
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Chaly

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Ha!  Yes, I had a love/hate relationship with this attachment for a long time - until I decided I really needed it to work for my shirt making.  Then it was just a bit of practice and learning how to adjust the fabric into the hemmer along with the starting and ending techniques I showed.

I should have mentioned when seaming - you must start at the hem end and match the ends exactly.  If you start at the other end - because of fabric drag - you will not have an exact match at the hem.  Also, of course, measure each piece to be sure it's the length you want.
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Zorba

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yea, I guess I should "try again" - I haven't worked with one for a few  years. My practice is - for better or worse - is to sew the whole thing together then hem it at the very last. I'll take that back - I did sew from the hem up when I made my necktie skirt years back, as the neckties themselves formed the hem. Best possible use for the darn things - I cut 'em straight at the top end and added the waistband.
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kndpakes

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Reply with quote  #5 
Chaly, that really looks terrific. Which method did you use for your side seams?

Kelly in PA
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks, Kelly.  For the seams, I just did a French seam and then ironed it down and edge stitched.  It looks like a flat felled seam so I call it a modified flat felled.  Sometimes for my shirt making I do a real flat felled seam using the vintage flat fell foot, but for this hemming application, the modified flat felled seam worked out better.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba
yea, I guess I should "try again" - I haven't worked with one for a few  years. My practice is - for better or worse - is to sew the whole thing together then hem it at the very last. I'll take that back - I did sew from the hem up when I made my necktie skirt years back, as the neckties themselves formed the hem. Best possible use for the darn things - I cut 'em straight at the top end and added the waistband.


Yes - definitely try again.  I could imagine in your dancing clothes hemming is a significant part of the construction process and the hemmers could save some time. And the necktie skirt sounds like a fun project.  I've heard of this and it's a great idea for repurposing all those unused neckties.
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Bags

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Reply with quote  #8 
Chaly, beautiful.  Just beautiful!  I so enjoy seeing your projects.  Thank you for sharing.
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #9 
Well, I like using the vintage attachments and making reminders that they can be really useful.  Thanks, Bags.
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