Questions on Thread Tracing

sewing-the-muslin-296x300

LJ posed a several very good questions on thread tracing:

I am still confused
if i start w a pattern, how do i thread trace the seams for both pieces of the fabric?
why sew seam markings on a machine if (a) my question is whats the best way to get seam markings from pattern to fabric when the tracing wheel and wax paper combo is so ineffectual? and (b) what sew seams on at 13 stitches per inch if i may need to take it apart and make adjustments for a final fitting? and just how DO you thread trace?
any input will be appreciated, I presume everyone knows this but me!

Lets tackle these questions one by one:

if i start w a pattern, how do i thread trace the seams for both pieces of the fabric?

There are two answers here actually:

If the plan is to thread trace by machine the pattern is laid out and cut out as usual and then each pattern piece is run through the machine one at a time. The seam guide on the machine is used to mark the seam allowances. In the photo above my daughter is machine thread tracing a pattern piece. For hand thread tracing the pattern is laid out single layer and each piece is thread traced individually as shown in the red silk pattern piece in the photo below.

why sew seam markings on a machine if (a) my question is whats the best way to get seam markings from pattern to fabric when the tracing wheel and wax paper combo is so ineffectual? and (b) wht sew seams on at 13 stitches per inch if i may need to take it apart and make adjustments for a final fitting?

A tread traced muslin piece

A tread traced muslin piece

Marking a seam line with a tracing wheel and sewing wax paper is certainly okay, for me it just goes faster doing it on the machine. I also believe there is more accuracy to the fit with machine tracing because the stitching lines on the cut pattern pieces are calibrated to the machines seam guide. The seam line that is marked at 13 stitches per inch doesnt get picked apart, its just used as the guide for joining the fabric pieces. The stitches that do get picked apart are the seams holding the muslin together. I do those in a much longer stitch length in a contrasting color so its easy to rip and I can tell the sewn seam from the traced seam lines.

A sewn together muslin with machine tread tracing that marks the stitch lines

A sewn together muslin with machine tread tracing that marks the stitch lines

and just how DO you thread trace?

It can be done by machine as outlined above or by hand. When its done by hand the technique is slightly different. On a hand thread traced piece the seam lines are traced onto a single layer layout before the pattern piece is cut from the yardage. After the pattern piece is outlined in thread its cut as a big block and seams allowances are added on outside the hand tracing. The tracing stitch is a long running stitch that traces the outline of the pattern piece. The photo on the left shows a hand tread traced pattern piece. The seam allowances need to be added back on when its cut from the block.

Tread tracing done by hand

Tread tracing done by hand

Deciding when to do machine vs. hand thread tracing really depends on the project. When I made a dress from the red silk you see here I used hand thread tracing because I had to match a pattern along the hem. However, when I made the muslin for Ralph Rucci gown at right I used machine thread tracing. Generally speaking machine thread tracing is used on muslins and hand thread tracing is used on the fashion fabric.