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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    3

    sewing help: what's going wrong??

    I am going crazy with this and so I thought I'd throw it out to ya'll and see what advice you might have.

    I'm sewing bags with a flat circular bottom. The bags are tubular, and are 16" in circumference (the fabric is cut at 17", then stitched into a tube with a .5" seam allowance). I cannot for the life of me get the bottom circle of fabric to be the right size and/or to fit correctly. Either the tube is too big and gaps and overlaps itself, or the circle is too big.

    Is there a technique for sewing circles that I don't know about? I've even used an online diameter calculator to no avail. Something goes wrong every damn time!

    Ideas are much appreciated. Thanks!!

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2004
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    Little Rhody
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    112
    I am not a seamtress, but what if the bottom circle is bigger a by a little bit and then just trim the extra off? I do that all the time with my stuffed creatures because they aren't an exact science. Maybe by fudging it a little you can make it work...

  4. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    los angeles, ca
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    51
    hmmm. I make yoga mat bags similar in shape to what you are describing. Making the pattern required me to dust off my geometry skills.

    If the circumference (including the seam allowance) of the long tube is 17", then the diameter of the circle you need is 5.4" (or 5 and 2/5".. maybe round up to 5.5" to preserve your sanity?).

    circumference = 2 * pi * radius
    OR
    circumference = pi * diameter

    So,
    17 = pi * radius

    radius = 17/pi

    =5.4

    To make a pattern piece this size, you could use my method of measuring every circular household item to find something 5.4" in diameter (a salad plate or small saucepan?) or you could use a compass with the circle radius set 2.7" (half of the diameter) and draw a pattern piece that way.

    Granted, I always seem to have to pin in a gather or two when sewing the tube to the circular base, no matter how carefully I measure.

    Good luck!

  5. #4
    Member
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    Jun 2004
    Location
    Pacific NW
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    78
    Sewing circles are tough, but not impossible.
    At the bottom edge of the tube - sew a stay stitch 1/8th of an inch from final seam allowance. Clip the fabric to the stay stich every 1/4" or so. Pin (use lots of pins) to bottom circle fabric. Then sew (clipped side up) the final seam slowly, pulling the pins as you go. TaDa!

  6. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    3
    Juna, thanks...
    I'm making yoga mat bags too! :)
    I had figured those equations out and was using a compass...you say that you always have a gather or two after you're done stitching? Then maybe I'm being too hard on myself. I've been trying to get the seams perfect...I still don't understand why I can't, but if you can't either maybe that's just the way it goes...I just am not comfortable with the imperfect sewing job!

  7. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    los angeles, ca
    Posts
    51
    Damn, and I was being such a fancy-pants with the geometry lesson!

    EmpressCrash's advice is probably the way to go. I usually don't stay stitch, and that might be the reason why I often use a couple of tiny pin gathers. Besides, extreme attention to detail makes me dizzy.

    Best of luck, and don't be too hard on yourself!

    ~j

  8. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    3
    Thanks empressCrash! I'll give it a shot. The extra work will be worth it if I can get those circles sewn on cleanly! I might be back with more questions...but hopefully just with a success report!

  9. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    2,021
    when i sew tubes to circles, i often tie a piece of thread around the tube a couple inches above the end to be sewn. it induces it to flare out into a circle, and helps keep any pleats that form very small.


 

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