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Sewing is the craft of fastening or attaching objects using stitches made with needle and thread. Sewing is one of the oldest of the textile arts, arising in the Paleolithic Era. Before the discovery of spinning yarn or weaving fabric, archaeologists believe Stone Age people across Europe and Asia sewed fur and skin clothing using bone, antler or ivory needles and "thread" made of various animal body parts including sinew, catgut, and veins. Although usually associated with clothing and household linens, sewing is used in a variety of crafts and industries, including shoemaking, upholstery, sailmaking, bookbinding and the manufacturing of some kinds of sporting goods. Sewing is the fundamental process underlying a variety of textile arts and crafts, including embroidery, tapestry, quilting, appliqué and patchwork. For thousands of years, all sewing was done by hand. The invention of the sewing machine in the 19th century and the rise of computerization in the later 20th century led to mass production of sewn objects, but hand sewing is still practiced around the world. Fine hand sewing is characteristic of highquality tailoring, haute couture fashion, and custom dressmaking, and is pursued by both textile artists and hobbyists as a means of creative expression.
Early 20th century sewing in Detroit, Michigan Whether the object to be sewn is made of leather, fabric, paper, or plastic, the basic components of sewing are the same: stitches and seams. In sewing, a stitch is a single loop of thread brought in-and-out of the fabric in a particular way. A variety of stitches are used for specific purposes, named according to the position of the needle and direction of sewing (running stitch, backstitch), the form or shape of the stitch (chainstitch, feather stitch) or the purpose of the stitch (tailor's tack, hem stitch). Basic machine stitches are chainstitch, lockstitch, and overlock. Fancy machine stitches mimic traditional hand stitches using variations on the basic stitches. A row of stitches fastening two objects together is called a seam. Seams are classified by their position in the finished object (center back seam, side seam) and by their construction (flatfelled seam).
Plain sewing: The making or mending of clothing or household linens Fancy sewing: Also fancywork. Purely decorative techniques such as shirring, smocking, and embroidery. Heirloom sewing: The imitation of fine hand-sewing and fancywork using a sewing machine and purchased trimmings.
Machine stitches By structure:
Chain stitch, made with one thread Lockstitch, made with two threads
Overlock, made with one to four threads
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Straight stitch zig-zag stitch stretch stitch
Hand stitches See also: embroidery stitch
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back tack backstitch - a sturdy hand stitch for seams and decoration basting stitch (or tacking) - for reinforcement blanket stitch blind stitch (or hem stitch) - a type of slip stitch used for inconspicuous hems buttonhole stitch chain stitch - hand or machine stitch for seams or decoration cross-stitch - usually used for decoration, but may also be used for seams catch stitch (also 'flat' & 'blind' -catch stitch) cross-stitch tack darning stitch embroidery stitch hemming stitch overcast stitch pad stitch running stitch - a hand stitch for seams and gathering sailmakers stitch slip stitch - a hand stitch for fastening two pieces of fabric together from the right side without the thread showing tent stitch topstitch whipstitch - for protecting edges
Chain stitch : Chain stitch is a sewing and embroidery technique in which a series of looped stitches form a chain-like pattern. Chain stitch is an ancient craft - examples of surviving Chinese chain stitch embroidery worked in silk thread have been dated to the Warring States period (5th-3rd century BC). Handmade chain stitch embroidery does not require that the needle pass through more than one layer of fabric. For this reason the stitch is an effective surface embellishment near seams on finished fabric. Because chain stitches can form flowing, curved lines, they are used in many surface embroidery styles that mimic "drawing" in thread. Applications
Machine embroidery in chain stitch on a voile curtain, China, early 21st century. Hand embroidery Chain stitch and its variations are fundamental to embroidery traditions of many cultures, including Kashmiri numdahs, Iranian Resht work, Central Asian suzani, Hungarian Kalotaszeg "written embroidery",, Jacobean embroidery, and crewelwork. Machine sewing and embroidery Chain stitch was the stitch used by early sewing machines; however, as it is easily unraveled from fabric, this was soon
replaced with the more secure lockstitch. This ease of unraveling of the single-thread chain stitch, more specifically known as ISO 4915:1991 stitch 101, continues to be exploited for industrial purposes in the closure of bags for bulk products. Machine embroidery in chain stitch, often in traditional handworked crewel designs, is found on curtains, bed linens, and upholstery fabrics. Variants
"Drawing" or outlining in basic chain stitch Variations of the basic chain stitch include:
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Back-stitched chain stitch Braid stitch Cable chain stitch Knotted chain stitch Open chain stitch Petal chain stitch Rosette chain stitch Singalese chain stitch Twisted chain stitch Wheat-ear stitch Zig-zag chain stitch
Basic chain stitch
Cable chain stitch
Knotted chain stitch
Open chain stitch
Petal chain stitch
Rosette chain Rosette chain stitch line
Twisted chain Singalese chain stitch Wheat-ear stitch stitch
Zig-zag chain stitch
Lock titch A lockstitch is the most common mechanical stitch made by a sewing machine.
Description The lockstitch uses two threads, an upper and a lower. The upper thread runs from a spool kept on a spindle on top of or next to the machine, through a tension mechanism, a take-up arm, and finally through the hole in the needle. The lower thread is wound onto a bobbin, which is inserted into a case in the lower section of the machine. To make one stitch, the machine lowers the threaded needle through the cloth into the bobbin area, where a hook catches the upper thread at the point just after it goes through the needle. The hook mechanism carries the upper thread entirely around the bobbin case, so that it has made one wrap of the bobbin thread. Then the take-up arm pulls the excess upper thread ( from the bobbin area ) back to the top forming the lockstitch ideally in the center of the thickness of the material, the tension mechanism prevents the thread from being pulled from the spool side, the needle is pulled out of the cloth, and the feed dogs pull the cloth back one stitch length, the cycle is repeated as the machine turns mechanically . Lockstitch is so named because the two threads, upper and lower, "lock" together in the hole in the fabric which they pass through. The term "single needle stitching", often found on dress shirt labels, refers to lockstitch, as opposed to chain stitch which unravels easily and is usually used on lower quality garments.
Prevalence Most home sewing machines are lockstitch machines, although sergers have entered the home market in the past ten years or so. Of a typical garment factory's sewing machines, half might be lockstitch machines and the other half divided between overlock machines, chain stitch machines, and various other specialized machines. Overlock stitch An overlock stitch sews over the edge of one or two pieces of cloth for edging, hemming or seaming. Usually an overlock sewing machine will cut the edges of the cloth as they are fed through (such machines are called ‘sergers’), though some are made without cutters. The inclusion of automated cutters allows overlock machines to create finished seams easily and quickly. An overlock sewing machine differs from a lockstitch sewing machine in that it uses loopers fed by multiple thread cones rather than a bobbin. Loopers serve to create thread loops that pass from the needle thread to the edges of the fabric so that the edges of the fabric are contained within the seam. Overlock sewing machines usually run at high speeds, from 1000 to 9000 rpm, and most are used in industry for edging, hemming and seaming a variety of fabrics and products. Overlock stitches are extremely versatile, as they can be used for decoration, reinforcement, or construction. Overlocking is also referred to as “overedging”, “merrowing” or “serging”. Though “serging” technically refers to overlocking with cutters, in practice the four terms are used interchangeably. Types of overlock stitches Overlock stitches are classified in a number of ways. The most basic classification is by the number of threads used in the stitch. Industrial overlock machines are generally made in 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5
thread formations. Each of these formations has unique uses and benefits:
1-thread: End-to-end seaming or ‘butt-seaming’ of piece goods for textile finishing. 2-thread: Edging and seaming, especially on knits and wovens, finishing seam edges, stitching flatlock seams, stitching elastic and lace to lingerie, and hemming. This is the most common type of overlock stitch. 3-thread: Sewing pintucks, creating narrow rolled hems, finishing fabric edges, decorative edging, and seaming knit or woven fabrics. 4-thread: Decorative edging and finishing, seaming highstress areas, mock safety stitches which create extra strength while retaining flexibility. 5-thread: In apparel manufacturing, safety stitches utilizing 2 needles create a very strong seam. For every 1cm of seam length you would require 20cm of thread to sew it.
Two- and three-thread formations are also known as ‘merrowing’. Additional variables in the types of overlock stitches are the stitch eccentric, and the stitch width. The stitch eccentric indicates how many stitches per inch there are, which is adjustable and can vary widely within one machine. Different stitch eccentrics create more or less dense and solid-looking edges. The stitch width indicates how wide the stitch is from the edge of the fabric. Lightweight fabrics often require a wider stitch to prevent pulling. Adding extra variation in stitch types is the ‘differential feed’ feature, which allows feed to be adjusted; extra-fast feed creates a ruffled or ‘lettuce-leaf’ effect. Finally, some merrowing machines contain parts to roll the fabric edge into the stitch for added durability.
2-thread, 1/8” wide, 4-thread, 5/32” 3-thread, ¼” 1-thread, 20 stitches per inch, wide, 17 wide, 7 stitches 5/8” wide, with differential feed stitches per per inch inch 12 stitches per inch The formation of an overlock stitch
1. When the needle enters the fabric, a loop is formed in the thread at the back of the needle. 2. As the needle continues its downward motion into the fabric, the lower looper begins its movement from left to right. The tip of the lower looper passes behind the needle and through the loop of thread that has formed behind the needle. 3. The lower looper continues along its path moving toward the right of the serger. As it moves, the lower thread is carried through the needle thread. 4. While the lower looper is moving from left to right, the upper looper advances from right to left. The tip of the
upper looper passes behind the lower looper and picks up the lower looper thread and needle thread. 5. The lower looper now begins its move back into the far left position. As the upper looper continues to the left, it holds the lower looper thread and needle thread in place. 6. The needle again begins its downward path passing behind the upper looper and securing the upper looper thread. This completes the overlock stitch formation and begins the stitch cycle all over again. Uses of the overlock stitch Overlock stitches are traditionally used for edging and light seaming. Other applications include:
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Sewing netting Butt-seaming Flat-locking Edging emblems Pearl stitching Rolled hemming Decorative edging
Stitch Class 100 Class Single-Thread Chain Stitch 200 Class Hand Stitch 300 Class Lock Stitch 400 Class Multi Thread Chain Stitch 500 Class Overedge Stitch
600 Class Covering Chain stitch Another type stitch Button Hole Stitches Button Sew Stitches 100 Class Single-Thread Chain Stitch :
Use Basting, or light construction
Use Blind stitch for Hemming
Embroidery, Blindstitch Hem on Cuffs, Bottoms, Saddle Stitch etc.
Use Basting, Tacking or Repairs
Stitch class 205
Stitch Type 205 Use Pick Stitch – Topstitching
Stitch type 301 Use Seaming Multiple Plies
Use Zig-Zag Stitch; a stretch lockstitch
Use Blind Stitch
Use Three Step Zig-Zag; a stretch lockstitch with more stretch
Stitch Type 401 Use Seaming Multiple Plies with moderate stretch
Stitch Type 406 Use "Bottom Cover Stitch; a (greater) stretch chain stitch
Use One Needle Overedge stitch for Serging
Use Overedge stitch for Serging with Crossover on Edge of Fabric
Stitch Type 504 Use Overedge stitch for Serging and Light Seaming
Use Mock Safety Stitch for Seaming with wide bite and Greater Stretch for Knits
Stitch Type 514 Use
Overedge Stitch for Seaming with wide bite and Greater Stretch for Knits
Four Thread True Safety Stitch Using Two Needle and Two Looper Threads Stitch combines Fed. Class 401 stitch with Fed. Class 503 stitch
True Safety Stitch for Seaming with Good Stretch for Wovens and Knits
Stitch Type 516 Use
Five Thread True Safety Stitch Using Two Needle and Three Looper Threads Stitch combines Fed. Class 401 stitch with Fed. Class 504 stitch
Typical uses; Overedge Stitch for Seaming Knits or Wovens Stitch has a medium bite and Moderate Stretch for Seaming on Knits or Woven Fabrics. Stitch has medium elongation along the edge of fabric with better coverage on the fabric edge
Four Thread Cover Stitch Using Two Needle and Two Looper Threads Typical uses; Cover Stitch for Over-stitching Seams, Seaming Stitch for Hemming on Knits, Decorative Stitch for Knits and Wovens
Stitch Type 605 Use
Five Thread Cover Stitch Using Three Needle and Two Looper Threads Cover Stitch for Over-stitching Seams, Seaming Stitch for Hemming on Knits, High Elongation for Foundation Garments Stitch is used for "Butt-Seams" (Joining Raw Edges Together)
Six Thread Cover Stitch Using Four Needle and Two Looper Threads Cover Stitch for Over-stitching Seams, High Elongation for Foundation Garments Stitch is used for "Butt-Seams" (Joining Raw Edges Together)
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