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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Yukihito
Date: 07-21-2007, 02:29 PM (1 of 8)
Hello! I have just sewn my first shirt, winging it with lots of sewing books and a envelope of patterns. I sewed it using a single-line stitch, because that's the only stitch my ancient sewing machine has.

As it was supposed to be a costume, I chose a silk-like fabric for it. Now, on second thoughts, I really shouldn't have chosen a fabric like that for a beginner like me...

At any rate, the seams on the sleeves have started fraying really, really badly. The threads near the seam are being pulled loose from the fabric, so I get about 1 cm of bars. Luckily, it's only on about 5-6 cm of the sleeve. How am I supposed to remedy this problem?

Sew it up again, use lots of anti-fray and pray? I was contemplating using a zig-zag stitch, but a few more holes is probably not going to help is it?

Sorry, beginner sewer here ^^", so please use simple sewing terms! I already consider myself lucky I didn't go home with the sleeves completely detached from the body XD. I think I will reinforce the whole shirt with anti-fray, just to be on the safe side.

P.S.: I'm from Singapore, so there's not much need to recommend products, unless you go to a Spotlight too!
User: Yukihito
Member since: 05-22-2007
Total posts: 2
From: DorothyL
Date: 07-21-2007, 02:59 PM (2 of 8)
Sometimes a zig zag will help. Sometimes you just have to line the garment made from certain fabrics.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: LeapFrog Libby
Date: 07-21-2007, 03:50 PM (3 of 8)
I would use a zig zag stitch if I had one in the seam allowance to stop any furthur fraying.. If you don't have a zigzag stitch, then use a regular straight stitch in the seam allowance.. (between the original seam and the edge of the fabric) If you have pinking shears they might help a little to keep the fraying down some..
Sew With Love
User: LeapFrog Libby
Member since: 05-01-2002
Total posts: 2022
From: Sancin
Date: 07-21-2007, 05:44 PM (4 of 8)
Hi Yukihito

If you are really attached to the shirt you could what we all did in the good old days and overcast all of the seams by hand, using fairly close together stitches. Did I gather that you do not have a zig zag on your machine? You could also bind the seams with bias tape or some of that nylon that comes on rolls. I like the nylon mesh tape as it curls as you pull it thus don't have to pin a great deal. Good luck
*~*~*~* Nancy*~*~*~* " I try to take one day at a time - but sometimes several days attack me at once."
User: Sancin
Member since: 02-13-2005
Total posts: 895
From: MartySews2
Date: 07-21-2007, 07:29 PM (5 of 8)
On your silk like fabric, you can take strips of bias tape and secure your seams by covering them with the tape. If you have a zig-zag stitch, by all means use that stitch on the edges to prevent fraying. Hope this helps.
User: MartySews2
Member since: 05-03-2007
Total posts: 293
From: paroper
Date: 07-21-2007, 07:47 PM (6 of 8)
Next time try a French seam (probably a bit late this time around. You sew a 1/4 seam with the fabric wrong sides together, trim the seam slightly. Press, if the fabric will press. Then pull the seam back inside itself, sew a 3/8 inch seam on the wrong side binding the first seam. This makes a very nice, clean double sewn finish on the item. If the garment is too tight, though it won't help as the fabric will still pull away.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: BettyF
Date: 07-21-2007, 07:57 PM (7 of 8)
It may not be too late to put a Hong Kong finish on your seams. You will need some bias strips of a very light weight fabric. Julie Culshaw, of Timmel Fabrics, has a tutorial for doing this on her website Click here (

I used this finish for many things before I got my serger, and it is not as difficult as it might seem at first glance. Your garments will look really smart when inside out.

User: BettyF
Member since: 11-15-2006
Total posts: 2
From: Yukihito
Date: 07-22-2007, 11:14 AM (8 of 8)
Okay then, thanks for all the advice! I'll see what works best for the damaged piece.
User: Yukihito
Member since: 05-22-2007
Total posts: 2
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