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Author Topic: Flat felled seams  (Read 2755 times)
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sugarbaker
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« on: June 22, 2012, 03:04 PM »

Anyone out there doing their own flat felled seams with PC31?  How are you securing the seam before sewing?  Glue? Tape? Pins? just curious.  I'm contemplating doing a design of my own and am wondering about utilizing flat felled seams as in the Widowmaker and TNT kites.  I like the idea of eliminating the exposed edges of PC31.  Thanks for any hints. 
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2012, 05:29 PM »

The easiest way to do those is to put the panels face together and sew leaving the seam allowance to fold over later.  Say you are using 1/2 inch seam allowance.  Put the panels together sew on the 1/2 inch line.  ONce that is done fold the seam allowance over to meet the stitch line you just did and crease it by rubbing your finger along the fold.  I go over it again with an aircraft coating sealing iron on medium heat but thats not really necessary.  THe heat from running your finger on it will set the fold.  OPen the panels and lay them flat, fold the seam to whatever side you want it on  and sew roughly 1/16 inch from the folded edge.

Mike and Pam (heads up kites) would have special sewing guides to do the folding for them as they sew and either use an overlock machine or a dual needle set up but for the average person those are a bit expensive.
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KaoS
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2012, 05:51 PM »

To stop the panels creeping when sewing together face to face, I use tape. 

You can use sailmaker tape to hold the panels for flat felled seams without stitching through the tape.  If you use 6mm tape you need to allow for, say, 9mm between the seam and the edge of the fabric panels.  Apply the tape to the bottom panel, leaving a 2 mm gap between the tape and the panel edge.  Place the top panel over the bottom panel, then sew the panels together 9mm from the edge (this avoids the tape by 1mm).  The fold the edges back and sew down 1mm from the cut edge (this also avoids the tape by 1mm)

My machine will sew through sail maker tape without ever gumming up, so I'm ahead here.  But a lot of domestic machines will gum up.  Recently I heard about a 1/4" tape (Wash Away Wonder Tape) used by quiltmakers that doesn't gum up machine.  I have purchased some to experiment with, but haven't used it yet.  It's pretty cheap, you might want to try it out.

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Kevin Sanders

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Ca Ike
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2012, 06:33 PM »

The quilting tape works ok and it doesn't gum up machines but any moisture will wash away the tape.  IF you use it make sure you keep  your hands dry or the bit of sweat will unglue it.  Elmers school glue sticks work great and you don't have to worry about being sloppy with it.
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mikenchico
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2012, 10:03 PM »

Question? Do you need the railroad track effect to your seam? I've elected not to do the third stitch on my felled seams since it ends up only a hair width away from the first row of stitches and on a fabric like PC31 that is a lot of perforations asking you to "Tear Here".

I also always incorporate the short and long side allowance on the templates so I don't have to cut back one side of the seam allowance that 3/16" - 1/4" depending on the width I want after the two sides are stitched together. You could leave them even and not cut back one but then you have 5 layers and I prefer to keep it at 4 for the least bulk.

To secure the fabric for that first row of stitching I used to use a product called "spot o' glue"  placed inside the sewing line just like Kevin (kaos) describes. Glue stick or that washout quilters tape are easier to remove and I know people who have used both with great results.

Then I press the seam flat to one side, the long allowance on top, then fold the long end under the short and press again before running the final row of stitches just inside that last fold. I have pinned that fold on fabrics that were not real stable and could creep, a fabric with a good stiff coating like PC31 doesn't really require it if your foot is smooth and clean or you have a walking foot, test a seam on some scrap and see if you get any creep and bunching. Since I don't run that third row of stitches there's no railroad track effect but you still get a nice, smooth seam with no exposed edges, two rows of stitching through both sides of the fabric you're joining for the strength without risking that many perforations right next to each other.




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Ca Ike
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2012, 10:19 PM »

I agree with Mike.  I Don't go for the railroad track look either and I've had felled seams fail because those 2 stitch lines are too close.  If you use a long stitch its ok but anything shorter than 4 or 5 and your creating perforated paper.  Take the same care with your zigzags. never use a fine zig zag,  Especially with mylar.
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Fore Check
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« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 06:02 PM »

I simply use a plain seam - straight stitch, fold over, and top stitch.  3mm straight stitch and then top stitch tight to the seam with a 2x2 zig zag.  I've done (and continue to do) this on Poly, PC31, 3/4, and 1.5 oz rsn.  I've done destructive testing ( Huh  Lips sealed  Wink)  and the seam held where the fabric tore around/at what was grabbing and holding it.  Good enough for me...

Here's the front and back of a seam of mine that was photographed at my Gizmo workshop last year.



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sugarbaker
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« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2012, 07:11 PM »

thanks for all the advice.  I think with my next sail design I may attempt a go at the flat felled seam with a combination of the techniques mentioned in this thread.  Thanks again!

Stephen
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mikenchico
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2012, 07:18 AM »

... with a combination of the techniques mentioned in this thread.  Thanks again!

Stephen

That's how most of us do it, I've noticed in your previous threads that you find the trechniques you like from different sources, modify them a bit and make them your own. Looking forward to see what you come up with.

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"Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see" John W Lennon

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Ara Ararauna
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« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2012, 10:41 PM »

Hi,

Is flat felled seam feasible on curved patterns? I would think it only works on completely straight seams... Am I wrong there?

N.
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2012, 12:03 AM »

it can be done on curves but its extremely difficult and time consuming to get it right and keep the curve they way you want it.
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sugarbaker
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« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2012, 02:11 AM »

I imagine the initial stitch (for a curved seam) would be fine, but in order to fold the seam (to form the flat felled hem/seam) you would probably benefit from making cuts in the back side of the seam so that it could curve under the fold... if that makes any sense. 
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2012, 03:05 AM »

I've done flat felds on curves and if is a soft curve or an edge its not too bad. THe initial straight stitch is easy on mid seams but you have to make cuts to get it to lay flat along the curve and no matter what those cuts are visible so you have to put the fold on the back side.  ITs more work than its worth IMO but it make for a nice looking curved seam.  It's easier to do a faux flat seam by folding the cloth, lapping it, then sewing to look like a flat feld seam but your really just doing a lapped seam.
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Will Sturdy
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« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2012, 04:18 PM »

What are you trying to achieve by using a flat felled seam?

It's weaker than a lapped seam and will create a hard spot in the sail shape.
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sugarbaker
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« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2012, 04:51 PM »

perhaps my terminology is off... but really my only goal is to hid any exposed or cut edges.  It's mostly just an experiment.  What seam is used on the Widowmaker?  I like the way it's done. 
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