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linen ripping near seam

user-2316230 | Posted in General Sewing Info on


  1. Pattiann42 | | #1

    Re-enactment clothing

    (QUOTE)  I've been careful to not let any machine stitching show and have hand stitched what is on the outside. I've put a double row of cotton duck around the sleeves, the cape, the front edges and bottom for fringing. The biggest problem that has come up is when we washed it a couple of times to get the raveling going on the duck for the fringe, the linen started tearing near the front, just under where the collar is sewn. Several rows of threads have torn. The are 2 lesser spots on the other side. Is this a problem with the linen or have I used too small a stitch, too much tension on the machine, or a combination of factors? The cape was cut on the fold. The collar is a 2 piece stand up, stiffened with one layer of cotton duck inside. The cape was attached to the garment first, then the collar as per instructions from a fellow re-enactor who is not a tailor but who has made about 20 of these. There is a lot of weight on the garment when hanging to dry. I had no problems with the dress and the linen for both came from a very reputable source. At least I believed it to be. I'm really sick out this and need to know what happened. I can't spend another month making another one and having the same thing happen. I'm certain someone here can help me out. - Please (UNQUOTE)

    Fray check the areas that are fraying (not the fringe).  When dry darn or patch.  Uniforms were pristine when first sewn, but after going  through a lot of tough times, I would think you would see a few patches here and there.

    Not sure if using cotton thread would have eased enough (as the fabric pulled against the stitches) to prevent the tear.  While poly holds tight and does not have any give.

    What caused the opening could be the seam was too narrow or the fabric had weak spots.

    1. user-2316230 | | #2

      Thank you for your input. I started with cotton thread but ran out and couldn't get more right away. Also it was fraying and breaking so easily. I will go back to cotton though. I did trim the seam alloances in the collar. There were 7 layers of fabric at the bottom seam there; with the cape, turned under edges and the heavy cotton duck. We may have to go modern and use fusible interfacing next time since it won't show. Ssshhh! I was told by someone who doesn't sew I should have pulled the fringe before sewing it on. I sewed it first as it would end up with such a narrow edge and I was afraid the fringe (2 layers and an inch long) would get caught up in the feed dogs. Yes, we did go with machine stitching for that - damaged ligament in the thumb of my dominant hand doesn't allow me to do too much hand stitching. I do have a better machine now also to stitch those thicknesses. I had a budget model Singer from Walmart. Pretty crappy machine.

      One other question; should I use a longer stitch length with linen and/or multiple layers?

      1. Pattiann42 | | #3

        Linen Ripping Near Seam

        Sounds like the cotton thread may have been either old or weakened due to storage conditions???

        The lower end sewing machines are more for crafting and occasional sewing. I "occasionally" sew with these machines and am really happy to get back to my higher end machines with all their bells and whistles.

        You were right (and I believe you know you were) in fringing after sewing.

        Adjust the stitch length where you have multiple layers.  Test on samples until the length resembles the rest of the construction where only two layers are stitched together.   Think how much distance that tiny bit of thread has to travel to complete a stitch; something like trying to wear a size 24" belt when the waist is 34".  You may also need to use a larger size, sharp type needle; new for each garment.

        I agree with using interfacing.  All anyone can do is replicate the look and not the original "ingredients".   After all, fabric and notions are not what they were during the period being re-enacted, nor is the sewing equipment. 

        Do they pre-shrink the fabrics that will eventually be washed?

        1. user-2316230 | | #4

          Sounds like the cotton thread

          Thank you for all your help. Concerning the thread, I don't know. It was Gutterman all cotton bought from Joann Fabrics, the small spool. Maybe not many around there buy those, and sitting in a case under flourescent lights?

          Good question too, about pre-washing back then. I don't think so. They bathed and did laundry infrequently as it was quite a chore(s) to get the water, heat it, change it, etc. But then they had soap, not harsh chemical detergents and possibly the fabric did not go through such mechanical stress as the agitation of modern washers.

          Thanks again, I believe I'm set now for the next project and don't feel so bad about it. I patched the cape and used fray no more. I may add a line of long stitches on the outside; cotton, on better machine, almost in the ditch to not be noticable.

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