Hoppo Bumpo (n): A children's game. Played by folding one's arms and hopping on one leg. Aim is to bump opponents, so that they lose their balance. Last person standing wins.

January 14, 2009

Interesting seams - seem interesting?

My sewing kit circa 2006

Hello, my name is Hoppo Bumpo and in a former life I stapled hems. I believe I once also attempted to prevent a seam from coming asunder with a piece of sticky tape. This is the solemn truth. I am not proud of what I did. But desperate times (and lack of sewing skill) called for desperate measures.

If I recall correctly, early on in our relationship even Mr HB did a better job with seams. There was at least one hmmpphh ... gosh you're useless ... here give it to me moment. The man himself, would of course vehemently deny engaging in any perceived big girl's blouse activity, but as he doesn't read the blog, rebuttal is unlikely.

And as to me now? Well this is a sewing blog, so I hope you can see that I have tried to reform. To improve myself. The stapler was set aside some time ago.

These days I look longingly at sewing class descriptions with the words couture and techniques used in the same sentence. Don't get me wrong here. I would love to know how to do some of the fancier seam finishes, but realise I am not yet in the right league for a class like that. I'd be hopelessly at sea with setting in a jacket sleeves and or creating a welt pocket. So for now, I have decided to explore seams on my own.

I thought I might set about to make a seam sampler of sorts. Something where I could learn techniques and uses ... and check durability. I am particularly interested in finding beautiful finishes, which are as tough as nails. I am after all the Queen of Fray.

Which reminds me of a favourite joke.

A piece of string walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bar tender looks at it and then points to a sign. "Sorry mate we don't serve string in here". The piece of string leaves, but outside has an idea. He ties one end and musses a few threads. Ten minutes later the string returns and orders a drink. "Hey didn't I just tell you we don't serve string?" says the exasperated bar tender. "No, I'm a frayed knot" says the string.

Ahem ... I promise not to tell any more jokes ... back to the topic at hand. Over the coming weeks, I am going to trial some seam finishes each Wednesday. The list won't be as extensive as this (whoever knew there were so many seam types?) , but will include interesting things like French seams, Hong Kong finishes and Flat and Mock-fells.

Would you care to join in the experiments for this very casual seam-along? Or are you a frayed knot?

This week's goals

Do a bit of research and reading to learn about ...

  • Straight stitch finishes
  • Overcasting by hand
  • Overcasting by machine
  • Creating a clean finish edge
  • Pinking a seam allowance
... followed by sewing a sample of each and tossing them in the wash to check out how sturdy the seam finishes are. I'm also going to think about how/if/where I might be able to use these finishes again in the future.


  1. I use french seams and felled seams in clothing construction since I don't own a serger. My machine is capable of an overlock stitch, but it just doesn't produce as nice a finish as a french seam. I like using the felled seam on the front back seam of pants and it does seam to make the construction sturdier, I used to have a lot of problems with the back seam splitting when my kids wore their pants. Sounds like an interesting project, I will be following your progress!

  2. Can't wait to see all the different styles and especially how they hold up in the wash!

  3. You're so organised you make me feel tired....

    I want to learn how to do French seams! I'll play along for that part, ok?


  4. I have absolutely no idea about seams so I can't wait to see what you come up with!

  5. I'm *scared* of my gifted sewing machine .. it's so OLD and belonged to a friend's mum .. but i've got all these skirts from the Oppie I bought as I was 'coming down' after pregnancy, and I like them, want to keep them, but they need to be taken in.

    I went as far to take off the cover yesterday and wipe some dust off it ... *sigh*...

  6. Will be definitely keeping an eye out each Wednesday.. !

  7. Wow you are like the scientist of the blog world. I can't wait for more Hoppo Bumpo test experiments.

  8. Ha - I'd love to master all those things. Good Luck!

  9. a lot of that 'seam' talk sounds foriegn to me but I think seams are important - so I'm keen to learn more.

  10. I find seams a bit scary - and sadly I cant "a-long" with you until Im back in Aus, so may have to watch the seam action from the sidelines.

    P.S. Stand up comedienne as well - is there any end to your talents?

  11. Looking forward to seeing how you go - it will inspire me to get Janome out again. I must say SNAP with the stapler though - Mum and I did this for many years. In fact my year 12 dress had staples in it for 2 terms... Mum taught me how to use masking tape and pins from an early age!

  12. Yep, I'm in. I can do a french seam (or what i think is a french seam?!) and thats it. So count me in, I'll be seaming along on Wednesdays!

  13. Ok I am so going to try to be here every Wednesday ... Try being the operative !

    I must learn my seams ... I must !

  14. I went to a job interview with a safety pin holding up the hem on my pants just a couple of months ago... I should have used the stapler what a fantastic idea!!LOL....

  15. Never tried the staple trick before, but must confess to using a paperclip on several occasions :)

  16. I've stapled and sticky taped the hems of my pants a few times. So slack!

    I did a flat-felled seam on a bag I made recently and it looked fantastic, very professional. I need to get it back from it's recipient (finished it on Christmas eve and couldn't be arsed taking a photo) so I can photograph it though.

  17. Thanks so much for all the seam info. I have never been taught how to do stuff properly so this is really great. I think my next seam to practice is going to be the 'fell'. Thanks again.


Thanks for dropping by! I love hearing what people have to say. Leave a comment if you like.