This week I thought I'd give a run down on one of our new products in the Sewing Gem store; Clover loop pressing bars.
On the front of the packaging Clover states three uses for these bars:
1. To press the seam allowance of the loop to one side or open.
2. To straighten seams
3. To pull cord through the loop.
The bars themselves come in these sizes: 6mm, 9mm, 12mm, 15mm and 18mm.
Although they are often used for 3D appliques and Celtic quilting, they were also very useful for getting seam allowances to behave when making narrow straps.
I decided to test out the smallest loop pressing bar (6mm) as I felt when sewing garments this would probably be the most useful. I'm thinking narrow straps on summer dresses and the like!
Here's how I did it.
1. Start by cutting a bias strip big enough to fold around your loop pressing bar with around 6mm seam allowance. For the small bar I cut a 3cm strip. I used my Clover Bias cutting ruler to help with this job.
In the 'how to use' leaflet that comes with the bars it explains two main ways to use the bars, and I tried both.
First of all I pressed my bias strip in half. Then I wrapped the bias strip around the loop pressing bar and sewed with it inside. I used my zipper foot so I could get nice and close.
I found that this worked well.
Then I tried sewing the loop without the loop pressing bar inside. I found that the advantage of this method was that you could sew a slightly narrower loop and still get the loop pressing bar in the loop after sewing. Mine was 7mm when I did it this way.
Whichever way you sew the loop the next steps are the same.
2. Trim your seam allowance down so the seam allowances do not overhang the width of the loop.
3. Keeping the loop pressing bar in the loop, twist it round so that the stitching line is in the centre of the flat side of the bar. Press the seam allowance either to one side or open.
4. Then turn your loop to the right side. I used a loop tuner to do this. Click here for some tips on using a loop turner.
5. Then re-insert your loop pressing bar and to give it another good press. This is just incase the seams allowance moved around at all during the turning process. Then remove the loop pressing bar.
6. You may like to insert cord into your strap. The hole at the end of the loop pressing bar if for doing just this. Insert the cord in to the hold and re-insert the loop pressing bar into your loop, pulling the cord through.
This is a useful tool for keeping seam allowance inside loops nice and neat and flat. IT probably depends on what you are sewing as to whether this is important to you or not. As a bit of a sewing perfectionist I'm definitely going to reach for them again!!