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Thread: I need help please with a basic sewing question.

  1. #1
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    I need help please with a basic sewing question.

    I am hemming a length of fabric for the sides of a simple drapery panel. I carefully removed the salvage edges first by cutting away 1 in and then hemmed these side edges. I pressed the hems when I was finished but the hemmed sides still "pull up" shorter than the rest of the width of fabric. Can anyone give me an idea what is causing these hems to do this? I so want these drapery panels to look nice. Thanks in advance for your help.
    Last edited by Quilting D; 11-17-2012 at 06:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    It probably is just the stitching itself. If the tension is not correct, the fabric will draw together a bit on a long seam. Another thing that may be happening is that the fabric is shifting. Did you pin it a bunch? A walking foot may also help.
    When I made drapery panels, I didn't sew the hem to the fabric, the panels were lined and I sewed the home dec fabric to the lining by hand.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    I am not really clear on how you are hanging the fabric. Is the selvedge edge on the bottom? Or on the sides?

    In any case, my best guess is that your sewing machine stitch is gathering the fabric ever so slightly as you hem. I believe one fix for this is to hold the hem firmly both in front of and behind the presser foot as you sew, making sure that the fabric is taut.

  4. #4
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    My first thought may not be accurate, depending on all of your actions, but I wonder if the fabric shrunk where you pressed it, especially if you used steam and didn't press the centers. It's also possible the stitching pulled it up a bit.

  5. #5
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    tip for getting hems not to shift is the seam a steam tape you fold your hem fuse than stitch, no shifting. That's how I did my daughters dress
    Brother XL-3500i, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D, Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

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    All good suggestions. Another consideration might be the weight of the thread compared to the weight of the fabric. If the fabric was more sheer you might have had better luck with lighter thread and tension.
    Cheryl Robinson
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  7. #7
    Super Member piepatch's Avatar
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    Sounds like a tension problem to me, but it could be any of several things, as others have suggested. I would try a walking foot, with a bigger stitch, and loosen the tension a bit.

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    Thank you all so much for your responses and ideas. I am going to try several of your ideas. Prism 99, my salvages (trimmed off)edges are running up & down from floor to ceiling. I do think the tension is basically okay as the stitches look nice but it does as many of you suggested seem to be a "tension thing" . I think the weight of the thread matches pretty well and I ripped out one side hem and lengthened the stitch length but no luck. I bet if I did them by hand Paper Princess that they would look nice but I'm not sure I have the patience for the hand work. I hate to hand sew and the panels are 115 in from floor to ceiling. I did not use any steam when I pressed the finished hems so I am glad to say, PHEW! At least I didn't shrink them!!!!
    I really think my biggest challenge right now is to make up my mind that I am going to take the time to rip these out & do this right. It will be approx 24 yards of ripping out! This is so so a lesson on testing things on a practice piece first! HA!
    Thank you all again for all your suggestions. I think I hear a LOUD FROG in my future, RIIIPPPP IT RIPPPP IT!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. #9
    Vat
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    It could be a slight tenion problem but you might could try drapery weights on the sides inside the hem. That is what drapery makers do to make them hang straight. They also put them it all seam-ends inside the hem.

  10. #10
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Another suggestion is to use the blind hem stitch if you have that on your machine, along the sides. Less thread "bites" into the fabric and might lay smoother. I would test first if you decide on trying this.

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    The bottom fabric feeds more then the top fabric because it is next to the feed dogs.To counter-act this,hold your fabric like you normally would,But,tilt your hand toward the machine.You are forcing the top fabric to feed a little more then the bottom fabric.This takes a little practice but it works.Practice on 2 very long pieces of fabric.It takes a time to learn.

  12. #12
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherryl1 View Post
    The bottom fabric feeds more then the top fabric because it is next to the feed dogs.To counter-act this,hold your fabric like you normally would,But,tilt your hand toward the machine.You are forcing the top fabric to feed a little more then the bottom fabric.This takes a little practice but it works.Practice on 2 very long pieces of fabric.It takes a time to learn.
    Or use a walking foot, which would feed both top and bottom evenly.

    I like the idea of drapery weights - smacked my forehead and thought "Why didn't I think of that?" lol

  13. #13
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    I just looked at my new drapes and curtains. They used the finest threat I have ever seen. Also very loose sewing. It appears to be blind stitch. Good luck. They also have several drapery weights.
    Last edited by barny; 11-19-2012 at 09:46 AM.

  14. #14
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    Depending on the weight of the fabric your hem may need to be wider to get it to lay properly.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Rose S.'s Avatar
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    Let us know what you end up doing and how they turn out eventually.

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    I had a similar problems with curtains I made for a friend years ago. Later learned that I should sew the sides and then measure the length before putting the heading on the curtain. It did work out for me with other drapes I made. Couldn't tell you why, but it did. Good luck with your problem.

  17. #17
    Senior Member busygranny's Avatar
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    I use to make drapes for people. I went to classes to learn how and the FIRST thing you do after measurement, is the hem. Yes that is what I said. (the hem should be double) You hem, then lay out the the hemmed panel and press the side hems in and sew. Then you lay out and measure from the bottom to the top and press the top banding over to your measure ment. Will hang perfectly straight when you put on rod.

  18. #18
    Senior Member busygranny's Avatar
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    I forgot to say one important thing--the hems are put in by hand. Machine prevents hem from hanging straight. I know, ladies you don't like to hand sew but some times it's the only way to do it professional for the best look. Any drapes that are special order will be hand sewn on the bottom. Try it. I guantee you will be pleased.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Phyllis nm's Avatar
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    When you sew hold the fabric front and back at the same tension by hand. Then “guide” your fabric through the machine at the same speed as you are sewing. And be sure you loosen your thread tension.>>

  20. #20
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    When you order custom made drapes from an interior decorator the hems are usually put in by hand. That will eliminate this problem.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Pat M.'s Avatar
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    Have you tried weights in the corner of the hem?

  22. #22
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    You all have been so wonderful with all your help. Thank you! I have finally finished ripping out all the seams. I sure did a nice job of matching the thread and boy did it make the picking out time consuming!

    I have decided to take my time and put in blind hems by hand. I am going to make sure they (the stitches)are rather on the loose side and I am undecided but I may use a single thread to keep it light. It will take me a bit but I can not stomach the idea of having to rip out any more machine stitches (even a machine blind hem) if they don't look nice this time.
    I plan to do one side of one panel, press it, put in some drapery weights if needed and hang the panel then see if it makes the grade before doing any thing to the other panels. Wish me luck and perseverence!!!! Did I mention I hate hand stitching?
    BTW Thanks again for all your help it has kept me motivated and hopeful.

  23. #23
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    YIPPPPPPPEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you thank you thank you! I just finished hand stitching on side of one of the panels and it hangs beautifully! I have a ton of work left to do but I don't even mind knowing that it does really work! I am so thrilled and relieved. Thank you all so much for your kindness in stepping up to give me help. I am so so pleased, they look great!

  24. #24
    Super Member LoisM's Avatar
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    Success!! It's a wonderful thing!

    I hate to admit it but I have a wonderful muted plaid fabric (think of a cozy cabin) that I purchased at least five years ago to make four simple panels for my living room but I'm scared to death to cut into it because I know matching the plaids is going to be a challenge. This thread has given me courage. I may just hand stitch it as you're doing so I can control the matching.

  25. #25
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    Lois,
    I hope you have good luck with your panels. I love plaids but every time I use them I swear I won't do it again. I can't stand it when the patterns don't match, it drives me crazy.

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