staystitching, flat-felled seams
Greetings and salutations from Vancouver, British Columbia. My name is Chris Thompson and I’m a 31 year old guy who has discovered sewing. I. Love. It. It’s challenging, interesting, relevant and just plain fun.
I was referred by a coworker to Threads and from there have begun to explore books published by Taunton Press. There are two in particular which I love, Shirtmaking (1993) by David Page Coffin and SewBasics (2002), by the editors of Threads.
However (isn’t there always a however), I have found what I think are two somewhat related inconsistencies which I hope somebody can sort out for me. I am at a loss. I want to do this right.
In SewBasic, on page 46-47, we are advised to staystitch shirt fronts from the shoulder to the side seams. Just a few pages later, though, on pages 52-53, we are advised that with directional sewing one must start at the underarm and sew to the shoulder on the front of the garment. These two pieces of advice seem to contradict one another: how can staystitching be in one direction, and the advanced technique of directional sewing be in the other? Shouldn’t both be with the grain of the fabric and hence in the same direction?
My second and final question is as follows. In Mr. Coffin’s fantastic book Shirtmaking (1993), which I’ve already read cover to cover twice in less than a day, on page 23 he advises that a well-made men’s shirt has wide, flat-felled armscye seams of 3/8 to ½ inch wide. Yet on page 91 he advises that we should purchase a felling foot of 1/8 inch. I’m confused. And finally, on page 82, Mr. Coffin advises us to staystitch all curved or bias seamlines and then clip to the staystitching. Well, if we’re clipping to the staystitching, won’t that ruin the flat-felled seams?
If somebody can write back and let me know what I’m getting wrong, in return, I promise to email you some digital pictures of the first few shirts I make.