Understand Turn-of-Cloth - Threads


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Understand Turn-of-Cloth

Learn how to compensate for turn-of-cloth— when an outer curved layer of fabric is slightly longer than an inner curved layer.
Learn how to compensate for turn-of-cloth— when an outer curved layer of fabric is slightly longer than an inner curved layer.

Learn how to compensate for turn-of-cloth— when an outer curved layer of fabric is slightly longer than an inner curved layer.

by Judy Barlup
from Threads #131, pp. 71-76

Place two identically sized fabrics one on top of the other, then roll, bend, or fold them. The top layer appears shorter than the bottom layer and once identical edges no longer match. This is because of the turn-of-cloth- simply put, an outer curved layer is slightly longer than an inner curved layer. To compensate for the curve, you need to adjust the size of the fabric layers before you start sewing. I'll show you how to determine the amount of extra fabric needed to keep your edges matching and where to add it.

Turn-of-cloth tutorial Turn-of-cloth tutorial
Beautifully fine-tuned lapel edges rely on adequate turn-of-cloth.


In sewing, many parts of a garment can be influenced by the turn-of-cloth- center front edges, cuffs, pocket flaps, to name a few- but it's most obvious in rolled collars and lapels, so those are the examples I'll use to explain how the turn-of-cloth works.

Every fabric has different turn-of-cloth requirements. The heavier the fabric, the more turn-of-cloth is required. For the best results, calculate the amount to allow for turn-of-cloth based on the fabric you're using. Once you've applied turn-of-cloth considerations, see how this simple effort pays off.

Why does it matter?
On a beautifully sewn collar and lapel, the enclosed edges turn neatly under to the wrong side, and the seam is not visible from the "public side" (the side that shows when the garment is worn). If the turn-of-cloth isn't taken into consideration, the upper collar and lapel area of the front facing "steal" some fabric from the under collar and lapel, causing the seams to curl back to the public side.

Favoring the public side
When the layers are adjusted for the fabric's turn, the underlayer edge stays behind the outer edge. The sample at left shows layers meeting equally on the edge. The sample at right shows a longer fuchsia layer favoring what will become the "public" side.

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Comments (2)

Susan_R Susan_R writes: This information alone is worth half the subscription price to your magazine. I am saving my nickels. Thanks!
Posted: 11:02 am on September 18th

AZwanKenobi AZwanKenobi writes: Now I get it! I read the article "Understanding Underlining" and from that article didn't understand how to adjust for the turn of the cloth. This article cleared it up. Thanks! Great article!
Posted: 6:33 pm on April 5th

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