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Seams coming apart

morningstar | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hi everyone, I just joined but sewing is becoming my passion. So glad to have this forum. Well to my great dismay just now, I was about to wear for a second time this beautiful boucle top I made out of 50 poly/rayon, unlined , Sandara Betzina Vogue 7281 with assymetrical opening and I put contrast piping along front edges….ANYWAY I noticed back seam coming apart in places and when I held it up to light there are seveal places in side seams where holes are forming and its starting to open,  where stitches were, Yes I made it nice and snug and fitted….the new look now …but it wasn’t THAT tight. In retrospect I should have used 4 thread serger instead of three but I wanted seams not to be so bulky as its fitted. I perhaps should have sewed another seam with straight stitch along back, side and front panel seams. Now I realize it was more loosely woven than I thought. Before I plunge ahead and try to redo seams I’d like to ask your advice to prevent seams from coming apart again, (PS I can’t line it.) Thanks you wonderful seamstresses out there !!



  1. opalmom | | #1

    Did you maybe use too big needles or were your stitches to close together?  It sounds to me like it might be one of the two.

    What I would do would be to straight stitch to the very left of the edge of the serged seam, but use a stabilizer under the straight stitches.   You could use a very light cotton or even embroidery stabilizer or seams great.   But definitely use something to give the new line of stitching some support.

    Good luck

    1. morningstar | | #2

      Thank you Nancy, I'll get some seams great or stabilizer and try sewing again with straight machine, size 09 needle (I used regular serger needle and normal size stitches ). So for next seam should I use a longer stitch ? Will let you know how it turns out....ho hum this may help someone else with similar problem.


      1. sewpro | | #3

        Dear Kiwi- If your top is too tight, it will only come apart again no matter how well sewn and supported the seams are. Fitted is in, but you still need to allow for ease. Skin tight doesn't work. If you think that this might be the problem, the only remedy is to make it bigger. Do you have any scraps? You can add side back pieces or if you already have side back pieces, then cut new ones a little bigger. If not, sometimes it's better to cut your losses and chalk it up to experience. Good luck!

        1. morningstar | | #4

          Thanks Sew pro , its not too tight but I think the fabric is very "weak" I gently tugged at other seams that were fine and they even started to separate. I have never had my serger seams come apart before....But I do know straight sewn seams always seem stronger than serged. A lesson learnt, don't use this type of fabric for fitted styles !!

  2. alotofstitches | | #5

    If you want to reinforce the serged seam, instead of straight stitch yo need to use a narrow zigzag because as you put the garment on and pull it over your body the straight stitches will not give like a narrow zigzag will & I assume it's stretchy fabric.  Now about your serged seams pulling apart:  If the fabric is really stretchy you can add more stretchy by using wooly nylon thread in the loopers.  Also a 3 thread seam is has more give than a 4 thread seam.  But I suspect the real problem lies in the stitch length you used as most "serged" seams are just to finish the seam so they're longer but with the loosely woven fabric & fact that it is the seam closure too you probably need to shorten the stitch length.  Are you using  Maxi-lock serger thread or other good quality?  You don't want to use the cheap threads as you really do get what you paid for!

    1. morningstar | | #6

      Thank you for your help Liz . Actually the fabric has no give or stretch at all, that's why it pulled apart at seams....the stitches did not actually break, unfortunately line of stitches it still intact...just ragged frayed fabric pulling OUT from line of stitches. I always use high quality Guterman poly as fabric was 50:50 poly rayon. Its a boucle, lovely colours and textures....but on closer inspection very loosely woven. Yes I do use wooly on stretch knits /lycra, works nicely. I will practice on scraps using different stitch lengths, stabilizers etc. and tug at seams to see what is best for strength/flexibility. I know with thin leathers you need to use a WIDE stitch length....it can rip out of seams too. But I have bought lots more diferent boucles, some OOOPS even more frayable, loosely woven, just sitting in box it seems to be fraying before my eyes. So I better get this right....next project is some fitted pants (I do like that fitted look),   with the same type of fabric but this time I will line it. You know come to think of it I probably can still line this top....just cut out  a lining from the back and front pieces, up to where front facing starts, extra pleat for back ease....what do you think anyone ....would it help seams from bursting again.? It is such expensive material....spent ages on the darn piping to get it perfect and I made  a neat wrap around  skirt with hanging fold...off centre to match assymmetry of top....hate to waste my efforts.Thanks to you all !!!

      1. mem1 | | #7

        Hello does Kiwi mean you in the land of the long white cloud?

        I have sewn Boucle and always fuzed it onto a very fine interfacing before sewing it up. Chanel used Boucle alot and always supported it with an interlineing which was quilted onto the back of the unstable fabric before it was sewn up. To solve the present problem I would use a cotton tape sewn into the seam and the do a thres step Zig Zag on the outside . You wnt see it as it will be buried in the pile of the loops .This will defitely work a i have done and it "repairs" the little holes as you are supporting on either side of the holes.

        1. morningstar | | #9

          Thank you Mem. I have bought seams great and some seam binding and will experiment with scraps to see what works best. Neither are on the bias...so it may not work Underlining seems the way to go in future. Innext project if I underline, what particular type of fabric should I use ?

          1. mem1 | | #13

            I didn't mean bias tape just the tape that you use to reinforce should seams etc . You could use the selvage and overlock the raw cut edge and use that instead of tape . I think when it comes to under lining that you could either fuse the whole thing with a light weight fusible interfacing I have done this with great success on knitted boucle fabrics or you could use a light weight fabric which has a similar fibre content to your shell fabric . If its wool you could use a pre washed cotton batiste or even organza .If its a very loosely woven shell fabric you will need to quilt it on as otherwise your shell fabric will bag and droop. Chanel did this by running parallel lines of stitching done on the machine in a matching thread vertically . You do this on pieces of fabric which have been cut into rectangles which are larger than the pattern pieces and then cut out the pieces properly and construct the jacket  with the two layers treated as one .You could bind the seam edges with the interlining fabric cut on the bias  or create a whole new lining . Chanel did this and made the lining and the blouse worn underneath match. I you bind the seams you can sew on the bias strips to  the right side of the seam fabric , turn them under and stitch in the ditch . You don't have to turn under the raw edge as its on the bias and wont fray.This is called a HOng KOng finish and is very nice to see.

        2. morningstar | | #10

          Hi Again...I forgot to ask you more (And yes I am indeed from Aotearoa but live in LA now)

          I dont want top to be too hot. I still plan on lining it or do you think I still need too if I have supported all seams with tape.?Could you clarify the 3 step Zig Zag, it frays terribly so I may want to first sew straight stitch (Or zig zag ) on tape and seamline and the refinish edges again ?? Your're saying to do a mending Zig Zag on OUTSIDE where holes have pulled. WOW, what agreat idea. I'll try to get to it today and let you know

          1. mem1 | | #14

            Sorry I didnt read this note before I replied to your last one . Yes you stitch the seam again using the tape and a straight stitch . Press it all and get it nice and flat . Turn it right side out and the with the seam folded to one side and possibly covering the tape you can use a matching thread to sew a three step Zig Zag . This will save your seams from any further stress and should stabilize the damage done by your first attempts .The pile will just bury the stitches and you wont see them at all.

            I think if you interline with acetate or light cotton or silk organza it wont be too hot and it will lokk beautiful and the jacket will last alot longer .

  3. FrancesC | | #8

    If your seams are failing because the fabric is pulling apart, then the only way to stop this is to support the seams on another piece of fabric. Since your garment has been completed, the only thing I can suggest is to re-sew the seams with a strip of fabric underneath each seam. Use a pre-shrunk, fine, closely woven cotton or poly-cotton. And I would consider cutting it on the bias so it gives. This is going to add bulk to each seam and only you can say whether it would be acceptable.

    If you are going to use such fabric again, I would suggest that you underline each pattern piece. That means treating 2 fabrics as one. Again, only you can say if the results would be acceptable.

    Myself, I would avoid such fabrics like the plague.


    1. morningstar | | #11

      Thanks Clichay, I'll definitely try the resewing over seams with tape. If seam binding or seams great doesnt work I'll have to hunt for cotton strips I can make on bias. If I line it it may soften some of the bulk...this is all wonderful learning and experimenting  ...HO HUM i keep a journal of all my adventures....it makes sewing such fun

      Yes next time I'll underline But I LOVE all these neat new boucles, I cant resist them...HA HA bought another piece the other day GORGEOUS, with multicolor threads running thru (of course frays like crazy), from  a distance its  a shimmering fuschia,  but OOEEHY a perfect match for several other outfitsI have...when you take some of the individual purple and chartreuse threads. Yes I am a fabric nut....thats why I have you guys to help me sew it  when i get stuck. THANK YOU !!

      1. ElonaM | | #12

        Re sewing with bouclés, you might want to read the Nancy Erickson posts at http://www.sewingworld.com under "Techniques," going to the "Patterns, Fitting, and Alterations" heading.There's a LOT of discussion about garments made with this type of fabric, and the overwhelming opinion is that it's best to fuse bouclés to a soft interfacing called "Textured Weft," to give them stability and structural integrity. I have a sneaking suspicion that fortifying only along the seams is going to cause the fabric to drape in a funny way: The garment will stretch everywhere but the seams, and you may come up with some odd drag lines.Personally, I wouldn't try making pants of bouclé, because of what will inevitably happen at the butt and the knees...Just my opinion.

        Edited 3/9/2005 1:28 pm ET by Elona

  4. user-58338 | | #15

    Hi Kiwi!  I totally understand about boucle and just made a coat for someone from it.  I read an article somewhere that Coco Chanel used to underline her tweed skirts (going so far as to actually stitch along the plaid lines with a straight stitch to keep it sandwiched together for easier handline).  I didn't go THAT far with it, just underlined the fabric with a woven broadcloth (you could use silk organza or an iron-on light interfacing as well).  Then the seams were straight stitched and serge finished.  This worked well and the entire garment seems more stable.

    I know you've already finished the jacket, but this is for future reference.  You might try doing a Hong Kong seam binding around the seam.  It would also look nice.



    1. morningstar | | #16

      thanks so much Angelarium for info...i havent gone back to top yet...been busy with other projects...but as soon as I fix it I'll post results.

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