When you are going for some rough and tough action, you may be ready in all aspects but the seams of your clothing may not be. And that is embarrassing! Those ripped stitches, when it is unexpected is really distressing. There are some small improvements you can make on your stitching to avoid this.
First and foremost some general advice for stronger seams –
Use appropriate needle for the fabric. If you use thick needle for fine fabrics your fabric will have holes and this weakens the seam.
Use long stitches only for heavy fabrics ; for thinner fabrics you should use a shorter stitch length.
Ensure that the tension of the stitches are correctly set – There should be a fine balance between top and bottom threads ; check that the stitching is looking the same on both sides of the fabric. If not adjust the sewing machine tension to make it balanced.
Secure the thread at the start and end, with anchor stitches/backstitching.
Rip-free super strong reinforced seams
- Double stitching the seam line
You can make more than one stitch on the seam line for making sure that the stitching will hold. After this you can finish the edge with interlock stitches or zig zag stitches.
- Zig-zag stitching on the seam
This involves sewing a regular seam, then sewing right over the seam line with a narrow zig-zag stitch – this is made from the top. Use the same color thread as the fabric.
- Double interlocked seam which is zigzagged on both sides
Interlocking the fabric edges itself makes the seam safe and when it is combined with the zig zag stitches, super strong.
- Welt seam
Sew the seam, as usual, right sides of the fabric pieces together.
Bring the raw edges of the seam allowance to the inside. Sew in place (you can interlock the edges or zig-zag stitch as well). If this is bulky you can trim one of the seam allowance smaller and turn the other seam allowance over it and stitch in place.
Turn the seam allowance to one side. Use a fine zigzag stitch to sew this from the right side parallel to the seam.
The zig-zag stitch will give some elasticity to the seam. Remember that strain when wearing is the cause of ripped seams so if you have some elasticity across the seam this will be reduced- a zig-zag stitch is an elastic stitch.
- Use Seam reinforcing tape
This is a commercially available tape that you can attach on the seam to reinforce it. It is usually attached with a steaming machine or heat press. It is usually placed on the back of the seam but you can attach it to the front as well.
- Reinforce with other material
You can add a strip of fabric inside the seam allowance, before sewing it in a welt seam for reinforcing a seam; organza fabric is a good choice for this – it is very strong without being bulky. This method is usually used for fabrics that are thin and may possibly get ripped under strain.
Cotton organdy is also used for this – it is a less expensive and equally effective option. Preshrink and iron the material while it is wet before using it for this purpose.
- Reinforce with bar tack
Bar tack stitches are meant as reinforcement stitches on areas you are expecting wear and tear. You can read more on bar tack stitches here.
- Reinforce with Metal rivets
Metal rivets are another great way to reinforce a seam – you must have seen them on jeans the most sturdiest of all clothes. Rivets are added on all points of great strain. Learn how to attach metal rivets here.