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TUTORIAL: HOW TO CONQUER CORNERS with guest blogger Elles from Misusu Patterns
Apparently I have a “thing” for bold geometric shapes, sharp lines and corners. If you’re new to Misusu Patterns and just got acquainted by meeting the Origami Sweater and Dress pattern in One Thimble’s 18 issue, this might not come as a surprise. But somehow I never consciously realized those design elements tend to sneak into my designs!
I know sewing corners might seem intimidating, but this tutorial is here to hopefully take some of that fear away! Even some lovely ladies in the Origami testing team shared the same sentiment. It was really helpful and interesting to see how all these testers with different skill levels, approached sewing those corners differently. By comparing methods, we came up with the easiest method to tackle those corners, which resulted in an illustrated sewing tutorial counting a whopping 55 pages!
I’m very confident the illustrated sewing tutorial will guide you through sewing the Origami Sweater to satisfaction. But to boost your confidence, I’ve written this detailed photo tutorial to highlight and clarify some of the most challenging parts. This method to sew corners can also be applied to all sorts of projects using different types of materials. So let’s go and conquer those dreaded corners!
PREPPING THE PATTERN PIECES
First step in conquering corners, is to create sewing guide lines, inside the pattern pieces on the wrong side of the fabric. This will help you in keeping the right seam allowance, ensures a sharp outcome and will help you in matching the seams together. For this tutorial I’ve used a pink (kids water soluble) marker, but usually I would choose something more subtle. Just make sure it won’t shine through and will wash away after finishing your sweater.
Follow the tutorial up until the point where you have to attach the V to the front bodice. Take a deep breath and prepare to conquer that first corner!!
When sewing a corner, you have to make 2 seams meet which are at opposite ends of the sewing machine. For those seams to meet, you have to cut into your corner to make the turn. In this case, you have to cut into the corner of the front bodice (see V marking). So a good view of this part is advised! Pin the V to the front bodice with the right sides together. Match the corner of the front bodice exactly to the corner of the V, to ensure that the seams don’t shift while sewing. Flip over the front bodice to double check you’ve pinned the V correctly to the front bodice (see insert). Place the front bodice with the wrong side up. Your V is now “hiding” underneath the front bodice.
Start sewing your seam, ensuring to stop exactly on the intersection point. You can stop a couple of stitches away from the corner and hand wind your needle into place. Lift the presser foot up, but keep the needle down in the fabric. Rotate the whole garment so you have a good view of the corner. Cut a small slash line from the inside of the corner towards the needle. Be careful not cut through the seam allowance, but stop about 1-2 mm away from the needle. This cut will release the tension of the seam allowance, so you can make the turn to line up the seams in the next step.
Let’s line up the seams. Remember to keep the needle down!
Step 1. Rotate the whole garment until the next seam – the underlying seam of the V – is lined up in front of the presser foot in the correct position to sew.
Step 2. While keeping the below seam of the V in place, start turning the seam of the front bodice towards the seam of the V. Step 3. Keep turning!
Step 4. You have lined up the seam!
Before continuing to sew the second part of the corner, make sure that you have pushed all the fabric out of the way and you haven’t got any pieces caught under the seam. Also check underneath and in between the fabric layers! Pin the seam together. Put the presser foot down and finish sewing the seam. Press the seam allowance down and finish the seam allowance with a serger or with a big zigzag stitch.
Sit down, take a breather, have a little dance party and ADMIRE your sharp corner!
All previous steps can be applied to all the other corners of the origami sweater, or any other garment for that matter!
But let me talk you through some important once in the Origami Sweater.
Fast forward up until the point in the tutorial where you have to attach the V-neck piecing to the collar. Pin the first part of the V-neck piecing to the collar, matching the collar notch to the point of the V-neck piecing. Again, make sure you have a good view of the corner.
Step 1. Start sewing your seam, ensuring to stop exactly on the intersection point. Lift the presser foot up, but keep the needle down in the fabric.
Step 2. Rotate the whole collar so you have a good view of the corner. Cut a small slash line from the inside of the corner towards the needle.
Step 3. Rotate the collar until the next seam is lined up in front of the presser foot in the correct position to sew. Line up the seams.
Step 4. Push all of the fabric out of the way. Pin the seams together, put the presser foot down and finish sewing the seam.
Fast Forward! Continue assembling your sweater up until the point where you have to attach the collar to the garment.
With the right sides together, pin the collar loosely to the left side of the sweater (wearer’s point of view). This is to make sure you won’t match the wrong sides by accident before turning the sweater inside out.
Turn the sweater with the inside/wrong side up. Pin the collar to the sweater, starting from the sleeve corner until the mid front V corner. Flip the sweater to double check if you exactly matched the points of both layers.
Start sewing your seam, ensuring to stop exactly on the intersection point, where the small partition seam (dashed line) begins.
Lift the presser foot up, but keep the needle down in the fabric. Rotate the whole garment so you have a good view of the corner. Cut a small slash line from the inside of the corner towards the needle. Line up the seams and rotate the garment until the next seam is lined up in front of the presser foot in the correct position to sew. Push all of the fabric out of the way. Pin the seams together, put the presser foot down and finish sewing the seam. Continue this until you’ve made your way around attaching the collar. When pinning the last part in place, cut a small slash line from the inside of the corner of the sleeve towards where you’ve started attaching the collar (see yellow arrow).
A last fast forward – You’ve officially conquered corners!
I hope this tutorial saved you some blood, sweat & tears and left you feeling empowered and proud. BE VERY PROUD! I know I am!
SOME FINAL TIPS:
– practice makes perfect! Do a “test drive” in your chosen fabric.
– when mastering to sew corners, start with an “easy” fabric that’s not to delicate or stretchy.
For the Origami Sweater, start with a french terry, medium to heavy weight sweatshirt fabric or a stable knit (like Ponte di Roma). For a project using woven fabrics, stay away from loosely woven fabric that has a tendency to fray.
– but if you have this amazing, but challenging fabric in mind you want to use for your project, stabilizing the corner with a small patch of fusible interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric will help you through!
Do you like the taste of sewing corners? Then you might like to try our free Max Tee PDF pattern next!