Bag making is a time consuming business, there’s no two ways about it, which makes it especially tempting as a beginner to think ‘Really? Do we need to faff about with these fiddly wee details? No-one will notice, right?’ Well that may just have been me in my naivety as a beginner, but there were quite a few things in my first pattern that I skipped over in an effort to just be done with the whole thing, and clipping curves was one of them.
So what exactly does clipping curves do?
Above is my first bag, the bottom corners of which should be nicely rounded, which clearly they are not, but just in case you couldn’t see it clearly, here’s a closeup:
Now fabric is a very pliable medium, but it does get stressed under certain conditions, curves being one of them (and you thought fabric therapy was a joke!) When you sew 2 pieces of woven fabric together to create the curve, at least one piece will get all bent out of shape, and the warp and weft of the fabric put under strain at angles they normally wouldn’t. The way to solve this is to cut notches into the seam allowance, which allows the fabric to relax a bit.
Here’s the top curve of one of my recent bags:
And here’s how it looks right side out – note the nice smooth curve:
Now it’s possible that I may go a bit overboard on the clipping of my curves, but I’m a subscriber to the ‘better safe than sorry’ school of learning, and having made bears for years, who have no end of curves, I’ve worked out the number of notches that work best for me, you may be able to get away with less, but if you notice that your curved pieces look more like a series of angled lines, you might need a few more!
This is so true, it is the same on garments, sleeves and such. The details are so worth it.
Yep, I've definitely made this mistake! I am guilty of rushing to the finish on bags and, well, everything. I'm trying to slow down and enjoy the process more! Because of course the finish is better!
Im an over clipper when I have to do curves ….
It's so difficult to explain to people though! I taught a class of kids making teddy bears from a basic back-and-front pattern so the concaves and the convexes needed snipping, but even with examples even the parents struggled with the concept!
I'm lazy and use pinks to clip my curves 😉
Such an important wee tip!! I clip all over the place, we can go to school together.
Great visual explanation of the process! Definitely makes a big difference!
um, er…. I know you are talking to me. I solemnly swear that I now clip my seams AS Much AS YOU DO! Can you believe it??!! Fact.
Also an over-clipper!