Making Perfect Points

I was asked to give some tips on how to make the nice sharp points like the ones on the ends of my collars.  This is a little tricky but really just takes practice.  I learned how to make great points by making lots of really bad ones first. I finally got a little bit of wintry sunlight to shine into my studio so I could snap a few photos to go along with the text.

While making this post I decided  that I will follow it up with one of my collar patterns and a tutorial for how to make the detachable collar.  But I need to get my pattern scanned first so enjoy this pointy tutorial and next Monday I will upload the collar pattern. 

Pointy Pointers

Sewing

  • You should  sew your point with the tiniest stitch you can. This will help prevent the trimmed seam allowance from poking through the stitches  after you have turned your point right side out. Stitch the main body of the collar with a medium stitch length then when you get close to the point stop sewing and adjust the stitch length to something  smaller.
  • If you can trace your stitch lines directly onto the fabric that will help you make sure your stitching is exactly where it needs to be. Make sure to mark your turning point on the fabric so that as you sew you will know exactly where to turn.
  • When you get to the point stop sewing with the needle down directly through the point, lift the presser foot and turn the fabric so that the stitching line of the next side is lined up perfectly in front of the needle. Put the presser foot back down and finish sewing.
  • Some people like to sew to the point then turn half way and place a single stitch across the point, then turn the rest of the way to continue stitching the other side of the point. I only use this method when I’m working with really thick fabric and then it works very well at controlling some of the extra bulk.

Trimming

The real trick to good points is trimming the seam allowance. Imagine that the fabric you leave outside  the stitch line needs to fit inside that point once it is turned. Trim as close as you can without endangering the seam, I would suggest never going closer than 1/8″.

  • First cut straight across the point and then trim the sides in stages taking a little bit off then a little more until you think it looks right.

  • You may want to grade your seam allowance to reduce bulk.  This is done by trimming away more on one layer of seam allowance so that the cut edges are not even and won’t lay right on top of each other after the collar is turned right side out.

It’s a little tricky to see in this photo but this point has been graded.

Turning

Turning the point can be the most frustrating part and may take all of your patience.

  • Before you begin to turn your collar right side out press the whole thing flat, this will set your stitching.
  • Gently push the inside out with a bone turner being very careful not to push the point of the turner through the fabric leaving a hole.  When you can see the point but it seems like it just wont come out you can switch to a smaller turner like a chopstick to nudge the end out.
  • If the point still won’t come out you can try to gently pick it out with a straight pin.  This is risky because if you pull to hard you may pop the seam allowance out through the stitches so be very careful.

you can  also try takeing a needle threaded with thick thread and make a large knot in the end.  Pass the needle through one layer of the fabric very close to the point and pull the needle out through the opening. Gently tug on the knot as you turn the collar right side out and the point should come out. Cut the thread close to the fabric and shake the knot out.

 

When you get your point turned out the way you like it press the whole collar flat with the hottest iron your fabric can handle. Pressing makes everything look better!

Your best bet is make a few samples. Just using the point part of your pattern cut out a few sets that you can practice with. Make sure that you are using similar fabric to that of your final project and that you cut the pieces following the grain line indicated on the pattern.

Just go slowly and thoughtfully, you don’t want to ruin your project  by being hasty.

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