I usually make things depending on an upcoming event, and as I've booked a trip to Central America, the thoughts of breezy linen and cotton dresses, tops and skirts started to completely take over my head. It all started with a dress that I bought too much fabric for (well, I ended up altering my pattern to get the most efficient yield: working in fashion industry and trying to get better costing for garments leaves a certain imprint on your personality). That left me with a good amount to cut a simple wrap skirt, and even after that I had big remnants left to start thinking about another piece.
That other piece ended up being a button down shirt with a keyhole opening on the back. Everything here would have been a straight forward construction, but the fabric I chose for all these projects was slightly crinkled light weight linen, and as I started thinking about how I'm going to handle all flat felled seams, I started questioning whether i'll be able to execute it well. But then I remembered about my trusty Ban Roll tape that I use for way more things it was designed for and decided to use it as aid putting these seams together. The result was pretty successful, and if there are silk button down shirts in the future makes for me, I will definitely utilize this extra step.
So here's the recap of what I've been doing, but first I have to mention that I'm a big fan of small seams: baby hems, french seams, and flat felled seams, so i'm working with 1/4" seam allowance on one side, and 1/2" seam allowance on another for all seams using flat felled construction. Needless to say, this makes things more challenging.
In order to do a flat felled seam, the process is somewhat like this:
The difficulty here is turning and ironing down 1/4" allowance, and here is where the Ban Roll comes in: it helps doing this job clean and precise, especially around curves and seams cut on bias. In the following example I'm putting a shoulder seam together with flat felled method, so both of these seams cut on bias, and in this particular fabric are more unstable then they would, let's say, in cotton.
My Ban Roll "teeth" are 1/4" wide, the fabric is FACE DOWN and before stitching it, i'm changing the stitch width to a much wider stitch (about 4 1/2 on my machine), because it's going to be removed after.
After the tape is attached, the 1/4" seam allowance is turned and pressed
Tape is removed
And thread is removed
That's pretty much it for the extra step in helping with these seams. Now the construction is pretty straight forward. I'm aligning my 1/4" seam allowance piece against the fold that we created on 1/2" seam allowance piece (face to face)
And stitching a 1/4" away from the edge (don't forget to change your stitch setting to regular width)
For the next step our 1/2" seam allowance piece is already ironed down at 1/4", so now we just open up the pieces and stitch at the fold's edge
I know this may seem like a lot of trouble to go through for a flat felled seam, but if you ever tried to set a sleeve with this technique, especially in a very unstable fabric, adding this extra step can save you a lot of headache!
Enjoy your sewing!