Saturday, March 21, 2009

Finishing off (seaming garments and projects)

Here are the common methods of creating seams on finished projects. Again, please refer to the following website for easy to follow illustrations.
Finishing & Blocking
Finishing refers to seaming the garment pieces together (see Joining Seams) and weaving in yarn ends (see below). Blocking the garment evens out stitches, flattens your seams and gives the garment a more professional appearance.

Follow the yarn label for the manufacturer's directions. When a yarn label says to machine wash and dry, it usually means the yarn has "memory," i.e., machine washing and drying will restore the original shape.

Some yarns require different methods of blocking such as wet blocking or steaming. For wet blocking, hand wash or dampen the garment, squeezing out as much moisture as possible by wrapping in a towel or a short machine spin. With the whole garment supported, lay it on a flat surface to dry. If steaming, keep the iron or steamer at least a half inch above the garment on the wrong side. Lay the garment flat to dry thoroughly, as it can be warped or misshapen when damp.

Joining seams (Invisible Weaving, also called Mattress Stitch, Backstitch, Slip Stitch)

There are several ways to seam in crochet. Regardless of what method you use, be sure not to pull the seaming thread too tight or the seam will pucker. If your project is made with a very textured yarn, which will be difficult to pull through the loops, you might consider using a smooth yarn in a matching color.

The most common method of weaving two seams together is called invisible weaving or mattress stitch, which is also called invisible weaving. Place your project on a flat surface with right sides facing you and with matching yarn. Thread a blunt-point yarn needle. Beginning at the hem edge, secure yarn through both sides. With the needle pointing up, pick up the first stitch, leaving yarn loose; go to the opposite piece and pick up the corresponding row. Continue working back and forth. Every three or four stitches tighten yarn in seam. Be sure the yarn is tight enough to disappear, but not enough to shorten or pucker the seam.

Backstitch is another method of seaming but it creates a bulkier seam. Holding the right sides of your project together, thread a blunt-pointed yarn needle with matching yarn. Beginning at the hem edge close to the edge, secure yarn through both sides. Come up through the fabric at point A, make a stitch backwards and come up at point beyond where you made the first stitch. Match backstitch size with crochet stitch size.

Slip Stitch is another method but it also creates a bulky seam. Make a slip knot at end of the yarn. With right sides together, put hook under both bound off edges, catching the slip knot and pull through both pieces of fabric. Insert hook under the next stitches; pull through all loops on the hook. Continue until seam is complete. This is an excellent stitch for afghan square assembly.

Overcast is another method, but also creates a bulkier seam. With blunt-pointed needle and matching yarn, place right sides together and insert needle back to front, bringing the needle over the edge. Insert needle back to front again catching only one or two strands from each edge. Continue in this manner.

Weaving in Yarn Ends
At the completion of a project, weaving in any yarn ends is necessary for neatness and to prolong wear. With the wrong side facing, thread a blunt-pointed needle with the end of the yarn. Carefully weave the needle along the back of the stitches about 2 to 3 inches on a diagonal, gently pulling the yarn end. Weave the other yarn end in the opposite direction. When finished, gently stretch the fabric in all directions so the fabric does not pull. Trim excess yarn ends.

Tomorrow - changing yarn colors and Miscellaneous crochet tips

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