Why – How – When to Clip, Notch and Trim

SEW important to good sewing technique is understanding WHY, HOW, and WHEN to clip, notch and trim – or NOT to!  For beginners AND seasoned sewers, this is important learning.

I used to think that ALL  corners needed to be trimmed!  I’ll admit that it wasn’t until I had a class with Claire Schaeffer when I brought her to my retail store in 2003 that I learned the following….

CORNERS

 

When to trim corners                             fabric supports the corner

 

Do you see that the fabric left IN the corner where there is only one seam allowance actually SUPPORTS that corner?

'Innie' Concave Curves     clipping concave curves   clipspreadinside

 

CONCAVE ‘Neckline’ Curves

As you see in the photo above at the left, this type of ‘innie’ curve needs to be clipped.  WHY?  the raw edge of this neckline which is smaller right now in distance will have to be able to GROW when it gets flipped DOWN into place once turned right side out.  Look at the right photo – see how those clips spread?  Another thing to see and consider is to not clip through both layers at the same time, but rather to clip through just one layer, STAGGERING your clipping.  This is especially helpful for sheer fabrics.

CONVEX Curves     notching convex curves

CONVEX ‘SCALLOP’ CURVES

For the ‘Outie’ type of curves as shown above, that cut edge will need to be shorter when it is turned right side out so that there won’t be ‘bumps’ of the seam allowance formed.  See the photo below.  That is why you cut out notches as shown on the right image.  A pinking shears is a great tool with which to both trim close AND notch at the same time.  However, AGAIN, this notching can be STAGGERED, notching through just one layer of the seam allowance at a time and alternating the placement.  This technique is especially helpful for both very heavy fabrics and sheer fabrics.

inside a convex curve

 

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