So the other day I put on my beloved Mimi blouse straight out of the wash. I was happily going about my morning ablutions when Ben asked “Erm, what’s wrong with your sleeves?”. I looked down and to my horror the end of the sleeves were all frayed! Noooo!
Ben then proceeded to tell me this was a good thing.
Me: How is this good?? It’s all ruined What a disaster.
Ben: You can write about it on your blog!
Me: But…I can’t write about this! This was me being an idiot
Ben: So write about it? Make sure other people don’t make the same mistake?
I pouted and stomped off to find something new to wear, but here I am, writing about it. Don’t tell Ben.
The error I made was to assume that because a seam is going to be encased in fabric and therefore not visible, that it would be fine to omit the seam finishing step. This might be fine for a nice stable cotton, but the fabric I used for Mimi was drapey and easily frayed. It looked absolutely fine before I washed it and seemed stable enough, but clearly the washing machine was too much for it and it all starting sprouting out.
The step in question was the addition of the sleeve facing to the end of the sleeve. The facing has interfacing ironed onto it and is therefore nice and stable, but the sleeve hem doesn’t! When I sewed these two together I really should have zig-zagged over the edges like I do for all my visible seams. It would also have been a good idea not to have trimmed the seam allowances so much, perhaps that would have saved it without the seam finishing.
So, now that I have this problem, how did I fix it? Yes, I think I have fixed it, don’t worry! There will be a fairytale ending. I unpicked the hand-stitching that was holding down the sleeve facing and turned it out so that the offending seam was revealed. I then sewed the seam again, with a fair amount of seam allowance, and then I finished the seam with zig-zag stitch before hand stitching the sleeve facing again (after a bit of a tug to see if the fabric was holding). The sleeve is a little snug now, but definitely preferable to the frayed horror it was before. Fingers crossed it will survive the wash this time!
Lesson learnt, always finish your seams guys!