Today I am sharing a tutorial that I have been wanting to post for quite a while! The dress in these photos is almost completed and will be photographed soon, but for now I wanted to share part of the construction of this dress; our method for finishing kimono sleeves.
I have seen several different ways of finishing them; in the past I have simply serged the edge after stitching it. and then clipped it (which just resulted in the serging coming apart), or clipped the edge and then topstitched on each side of the seam afterwards. The method I'm showing you today seems to work the best for us, however, and keeps the raw edges doing what they are supposed to; staying put! ;)
First of all, you want to sew your underarm seams on each side, leaving a left side opening for a zipper, if applicable. My seam allowances were 5/8". It is hard to see the stitching since the thread happens to match so well! Should have used red thread! ;)
After you stitch the seam, clip the seam in the underarm area around the curve.
I made about 6-7 clips, clipping from the sleeve end around the curve to the straight side seam ege. Clip to within 1/8" of the seam.
Now you are going to serge the underarm seams!
Starting with the zipper side (assuming you have one; if not, you're getting off easy!), open up the seam so that you are serging only one layer of fabric at a time. When you start on the sleeve edge, serge very closely to the seam, as shown in the left picture. When you get to the underarm curve, "pull" your seam out straight so that the clipped area is spread apart. Serge very close to the seam so that even the clipped areas are contained within the serging. Serge around the curve, and as soon as you are past the clipped areas, angle back out to the edge of the fabric so that you still have your full 5/8" seam allowances for the side zipper.
Repeat for the other (left side) seam allowance, starting at the waistline edge, and angling inward as soon as you get past the zipper opening.
For the right side seam, serge both layers of fabric at once, serging very close to the stitching line as with the other seam, pulling the underarm curve out straight, just as before.
And....voila! You have a beautifully (and easily!) finished underarm seam!
View of the zipper side.
Then you will press your seams from the outside.
Perfect curves, and a nice finished edge inside. :)
Credit for this method goes to my mom; she first discovered it when she was making this vintage baby bathrobe. Since then we've used it on every single kimono sleeve seam, and it works like a charm!
(Please forgive my selvedges....they got trimmed off, don't worry!) ;)
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial, and that it made sense! Please let me know if you have any questions!
I'll be back next week with photos of this dress. Stay tuned! :)