Lapped Seams - Strapped Seams - How to Make the Strapping - Cording and Piping


"There are various methods of making seams in tailoring. In the one most frequently used the two pieces of material are placed together, the right side of the one piece facing the right side of the other, and machine stitched together on the wrong side. The width of the turning left beyond the stitching depends on the make of the material - e.g., if a firm, closely woven cloth is being used, a narrow turning, about half an inch in width, is sufficient; but if the material is of a loose make and likely to fray, such as serge, etc., the turning must be wider, or the seam will not wear. When stitched, the turnings of this seam are usually separated and pressed flat.

Lapped Seams

There are two methods of making lapped seams. One is to stitch the seams together as just described, but instead of separating the turnings, they should be turned over, the same side, and pressed double. The pressing must always be done on the wrong side.

It is advisable to cut the one turning slightly narrower than the other, so as to graduate the thickness to avoid, as far as possible, marking the material on the right side by a thick edge of turnings.

A row of ornamental stitching can then be made on the right side of the garment, on and close to the edge of the seam, or about half an inch from it.

Another method is to turn in the raw edge of one piece of the material on the line which has been marked (for stitching the seam) by tailor tacking, and tack it down so that the row of tailor tacking is along the edge.

The piece of material to which it is to be joined should be placed flat on the table, right side uppermost, and the piece with the tacked down edge placed on it, also right side uppermost, covering the raw edge of the piece on the table, pinned and then tacked, so that the turned down edge just meets the tailor tacked line of the under piece.

A row of machine stitching must then be made on the right side on, and close to the edge of the seam. A second row can, if desired, be placed about a quarter of an inch or more from the first row.

In a skirt the lapped seam usually turns towards the back.

In a coat with lapped seams the centre back seam must be stitched slightly to one side, so that when the seam is lapped the centre of the back of the coat is exactly between the two rows of stitching, otherwise the back of the coat will be crooked.

The centre back seam is not always lapped, even though other seams may be so made. In that case, the back seam would, of course, be stitched down the centre.

The shoulder seams usually lap over towards the back.

Sometimes the back seam of a sleeve is lapped (towards the back), but the inside seam is never lapped.

Strapped Seams

Strapping is used on the seams of coats and skirts; it is also used as a trimming, put on in rows and in patterns.

The material to be used for the strapping should be cut just double the width the strapping is to be when finished, and exactly on the bias. The simplest way to do this is to place the material on the table, face downwards, measure the number of inches of the width of the material, measure the same number on the selvedge, and make a chalk mark.

Take a tailor's square or a long rule and draw a straight line from the chalk mark to the opposite corner (see diagram 9). This line will be exactly on the bias, or cross, of the material.

Diagram 9 How to find the bias of a material

Diagram 9 How to find the bias of a material

N.B. - Crepe, serge, or any diagonal material should be cut across the diagonal, and not with it (diagram 10).

From the line just drawn measure double the width the strapping is to be when finished. Place chalk marks at short intervals, and with the square or rule draw a straight line through these chalk marks from one selvedge to the other. Continue to measure in this way until a sufficient number of strips have been marked to make the quantity of strapping required. Carefully cut through the chalk lines, join all the strips together evenly to form one long straight strip, with the edges all perfectly level. Note that the thread of the material of all the strips must run the same (the selvedge) way. In the short strips that are cut from the corner, and not from selvedge to selvedge, it is necessary to cut off a piece from the cut edge of each piece (before it is pinned to another strip) to make the thread run in the same direction (diagram II). It is better to join the shorter strips to the longer ones, instead of putting all the short ones together, as the joins are not so observable.

Diagram 10

Diagram 10

How to cut diagonal material on the cross

Diagram 11

Diagram 11

How to cut the strips

To Make the Strapping

When the strips have been stitched together, separate the turnings and press them flat, turn down (on the wrong side) the raw edge of one side to the middle of the strip of material, and tack it. Turn down the other edge to meet the first, and tack this also.

To ensure the strapping being perfectly straight, this tacking must be very neatly and evenly done.

The strapping must now be pressed on the wrong side very carefully, so as not to stretch it. It is now ready to be tacked on to the garment for stitching.

Very good tailors generally prepare the strapping by placing the two raw edges together, and sewing them over before tacking it flat, especially when the strapping is to be used for the seams of coats. The stitching on of the strapping must be done as near to the edge as possible.

For drill or other washing coats which are to be made unlined, the seams of the coat can be made on the right side, the turnings cut level, separated, pressed flat, and then covered over and made neat with the strapping.

Cording And Piping

To prepare the material for cording, cut strips from to 3/4 inch in width (according to the thickness of the cord which is to be placed in them), and perfectly on the cross. Join the strips together and press open the seams on the wrong side.

If it is required to join one piece of the garment to another by cording (such as the seams of a skirt or the flounce on to a skirt), place a cord along the centre of the strip, turn the material over it, push the cord well up into the fold, and run (through the double material) close under the cord.

The material for the piping for cording the top of a skirt, or the edge of any part of the garment, is cut, joined, and pressed in the same way, but, instead of the cord being placed along the centre of the strip, it is placed about one-third from the edge; the material is then turned over it, and the cord well pushed up into the fold. It is then run through the double material, as close as possible under the cord.

Cording and piping are usually made and put on by hand, as the ordinary presser foot of the sewing machine does not allow of the stitching being made close enough to the cord. A special presser foot, however, can be purchased with which cording can be made and put on; the price is about 3s. 6d. If much cording has to be done, it is well worth this small outlay, as, besides being much quicker than hand work, it is much firmer and also looks better.

An ornamental cord can be sewn as a trimming to the edge of any garment, such as revers and collar of a coat, etc. This cord can, of course, be bought ready made, or plaited by the home-worker.

It is put on in the following way: Place the cord along the edge and on the right side of the garment (the cord held next the worker) and over-sew it on; roll back the cord and press the stitches well down with the thumbnail, so that the cord may lie flat along the outer edge of the revers or other part of the garment. Another variety of cord for ornamental trimming can be made and sewn on in a pattern (as braid would be) to a dress or coat. This cord is made from piece silk or satin cut perfectly on the cross into strips about one inch wide. These strips must be joined together into one length, and the seams pressed on the wrong side.

Three or four strands (according to the thickness of the cord required) of fingering wool are then placed in the centre of the strip (instead of a cotton cord), and one raw edge of the silk or satin is rolled over the wool as tightly as possible, the other raw edge is then turned in and hemmed down over it.