Monday, 12 November 2012

How to Shape a Sharp Corner


Wanna know a really cool tip I learnt for creating sharp, sturdy corners that hold their shape? After stitching a corner on a collar, facing etc, home sewing patterns usually tell us to snip across the corner seams before turning, in order to eliminate bulk which could distort the the shape. There is, however, another (arguably better?) way of doing it, which I learnt on my Professional Sewing Techniques course at the London College of Fashion.

(Before I continue, I feel I should qualify the use of the word "cool" in the above paragraph. If you are reading this because you are crackers about sewing, you'll probably deem the use of the word "cool" appropriate. If, on the other hand, you are reading this because you are my friend Doug, you probably won't consider this particularly cool. But I digress...)

Where was I? Oh yes, corners. With this method, instead of considering the seams a nuisance to be cut off, instead you're working with them as a support mechanism for the corner. Particularly if one side is interfaced, that extra fabric will form a nice, sturdy structure to hold the corner out and help it keep its shape. Plus it's much less likely to develop a hole. Sound good? Here we go:


1. Stitch your corner as normal, right sides together. But do not cut the corner at all.



2. Fold one set of seams towards one side of the garment fabric. If one piece of fabric has interfacing on it and the other doesn't, fold the seams towards the non-interfaced side, as the interfacing on top will help with creating a sharp corner. Holding them there, do the same with the other set of seams.


3. Holding the seams firmly in place, turn the garment through to the right side. You can use the finger or thumb that is holding the seams to start forming the corner shape. Now use a pin on the right side of the garment to gently pull the corner through and coax it into a nice, sharp point. (Obviously watch out you don't poke a hole in the fabric with the pin.)


And that's it! A really sturdy corner that will hold itself up. Have you used this technique before?

[Soundtrack: 'Bring it on Home to Me' by Sam Cooke]

56 comments:

  1. this is brilliant thanks for sharing :) x

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  2. Fantastic tip! I always worry that my corners are going to come apart when I snip the excess fabric off. I'll try this at the next available opportunity.

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  3. this is great! I'll be sure to try this next time I sew a corner! does this only work with 90 degree corners? it's too early in the morning for me to think too closely about this..

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    1. If the angle is particularly sharp, eg. a 45 degree shirt collar, when you're stitching, before you turn the corner, stitch one single stitch across the corner. That way the seams have something to lay against when you fold them over. Does that make sense?

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  4. Your pins match your nail varnish! (I know. I'm so shallow.)

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    1. Nothing to be ashamed about - I'm glad you noticed!!

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  5. Wow... Can't believe I never thought of that...

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  6. I've never heard of this before - will be trying it out this very day! x

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  7. No I've never done that, but I will now! Second the question about non-90° corners though (my Monday morning head can't cope with it...) Thank you!

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    1. I've answered that question above now. Hope it makes sense!

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  8. I used to do them this way, as an uneducated beginner sewer. Then someone made me do them the "bad" way, and I've never gotten corners as nice as I used to. Switching back now...

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    1. Just goes to show there's more than one "right" way!

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  9. Amazing! I want to go sew something just to try it out. Corners have been a struggle...

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  10. very cool! i've always struggled with corners. thanks for sharing!

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  11. Thanks for sharing this tip. I have been using a similar technique Nancy Zieman explains on her book. Video available at http://whipstitchfabrics.com/blog/nancy-zieman-sewing-a-to-z-blog-tour/
    I will try your technique on the waistband I am sewing...I wonder if the type of fabric may affect the result

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  12. Ah...additional thought on interfacing...I thought it was better not to include them into the seam allowance to avoid bulk...

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    1. It depends on the fabric really. Personally I avoid applying it to the seams if the fabric is quite thin as they could stiffen them too much and show through when pressed. But I don't bother for most things, it's usually fine. Personal preference, I guess.

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  13. This is great and I have to try it! All life the teachers have taught sewing to cut corners to eliminate bulk ... I'm going to try this soon. Thanks for the tip!

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  14. This is excellent! Thanks for the tip..I'm going to try this right away :)

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  15. This is a great idea, I'll have to give it a go. Thank you!

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  16. I was taught this trick in a tailoring class but forgot...thanks for the reminder. It works great.

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  17. I was shown this technique by a sewing tutor friend, I use it all the time. I was always a bit concerned with how quickly sewing instructions suggest snipping into finished edges and then Sandra enlightened me.

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  18. I will be pinning this to my sewing board. Great tip, and your corner looks perfect.

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  19. I love this method, and I think it makes very nice corners. I first read about it in a Threads Magazine. It is excellent for you to share it around!

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  20. Please tell your friend Doug that cool is definitely the right word to use!

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  21. Great tip! I find that this technique works best when I trim the seam allowance to 3/8" first, but that might just be because I have clumsy fingers.

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  22. I don't know who this Doug is, but this is in fact cool :)

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  23. Peggy Sagers from Silhouette Patterns also promotes this technique. It's a cool one to keep in mind.

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  24. Yup, I've used this, and always had great results from it too. The first time I came across it was when I made a blazer from Claire Shaeffers couture range - the instructions were incredible and I've been hooked on this tip ever since!

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  25. Why Thank you Tilly! I have been having a problem lately trying to square my corners on a couple of pillow covers and it's very frustrating.

    Haven't tried your way yet, but next pillow cover I will try forsure.

    Thanks so much...that was cool. ;)

    hugs from Laura

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  26. A great source I found on the stitch across the corner idea is here at Grainline Studios. The only diff is that Jen still trims her sides to the corners.

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  27. I'm glad you shared this! I've been thinking about it ever since I took the (I believe) same course... You have a bigger circle :)
    The corners just get so neat, don't you think? I really love the neatness and crispness in how they turn out compared to clipping!

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  28. Great trick, I would have never known. Thanks for sharing!

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  29. I know this technique is used at Opera Australia on costume pieces that are going to be worn a lot, taken off in a hurry during a quick costume change and therefore under stress.

    I'm sure it must be more common than that, though!

    I've always been taught to include interfacing in the stitching of the fabric then, if need be, grading - cutting - it back to the stitching line to minimise any bulkiness.

    It's interesting reading everyone's perspective and habits and reasons.

    Sam

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  30. Tilly, thanks for this advise! I cannot believe how easy your solution is!...I always snipped the corner, but this is genius! :D

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  31. One seriously cool tip....thank you

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  32. Wow, what a great tip for corners! Will definitely try this next time I do some sewing. :)

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  33. I was taught this technique when I took my tailor education (in Denmark) - it's nice and easy :)

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  34. That's absolutely brilliant!! That was such a good post -- I would love to more more little tricks from your class like this one.

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  35. Check out that gorgeous corner! Definitely a cool trick :)

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  36. That is so unbelievably obvious I am stunned to have never heard of it before!! Thanks for sharing the secret! :)
    'tis cool like Fonzie... ;)

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  37. Tilly, Thanks for sharing this. I tried it and it worked! As the previous commentor stated - it is so simple and so obvious - why oh why did i not think of it before... or anyone else for that matter. I have done it how I was taught by my grade 8 sewing teacher all those years ago.
    I have just blogged my experience with a reference back to you.

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    1. back again - I thought I would give the link to my post. I used one of your pics and also referenced it back to you. http://dee-clutteringmylife.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/cushion-filled-and-excellent-sewing-tip.html
      ok, It seems some clever folks already knew it ... why isn't it made more widely known? ;)

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  38. I stumbled across this method a few years ago when in a rush I "forgot" to clip the corners, oh no! yep, being worried about the stitching police I went right back to clipping corners and never "forgot" to clip again...till now, woot, woot! I always did think those were my best corners, ever!

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  39. That is an amazing tip. Life changing really. I need to go make something with a corner now just so I can try this method.

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  40. This is how I used to do it before I read otherwise. The chopping thing makes sense for things you plan to keep and use for while because the layers inside the corner do actually increase the bulk and will wear through faster than the surrounding fabric especially if they're in an area (like a collar tip) that gets ironed a lot XD

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  41. See, you can teach an old dog new tricks, or jog her memory anyway! I learned this technique in approx. 1959 (when I struck out on my own) when my mom gave me the "Bishop Method of Clothing Construction." I'd totally forgotten it and have been clipping my corners as "experts" have told me. Thank you!

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  42. That is so cool! I can't believe my Nanna didn't teach me that.

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  43. awesome, my mom does it this way. :)

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