Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cool Tailoring Trick: Carrier Strips

Unless you use the same materials and patterns over and over, you're bound to encounter construction challenges with each new tailoring project. In a current garment, I'm using silk gazar as an underlining in a silk faille jacket. I wanted crisp, bulk-free edges to the jacket front--and the gazar would have been bulky and messy in the seam allowances. In classic hand tailoring, twill tape is applied by hand all around the jacket front. In search of a more efficient solution, I decided to try the machine tailoring method outlined in my favorite tailoring book, Tailoring: the Classic Guide to the Perfect Jacket

This book outlines a method using "carrier strips," which I haven't encountered anywhere else. Essentially you use a separate muslin piece as a transition between your underlining/interfacing and the seam allowance. Here's how it works:

On your jacket front pattern, make an outline of the front edge, and then make a second line 1-1/2" in from the edge. Cut this out in muslin. It's basically a 1-1/2" muslin border to your jacket front, cut on exactly the same grain as your pattern.

Pin and stitch the muslin strip to the outside of your underlining/interfacing, and then stitch again right inside your first line of stitching. (Note: you may be using an heavy underlining like the gazar, or more probably, you're using a heavy interfacing like hair canvas. This method works for both.) Your first line of stitching is 3/4" from the edge, and the second is about 7/8" in from the edge (this is assuming a 5/8" seam allowance).

Turn the work over, and trim away the underlining/interfacing from the seam allowance.

On the right side, cut away excess muslin to the inside of your stitching lines.

Now you have a smooth transition from your underlining/interfacing to the muslin in the seam allowance. The muslin creates a smooth, bulk-free edge on your jacket.

The next step is to baste your underlining/interfacing to your jacket front (the one cut out in your fashion fabric).

I thought this technique was pretty awesome: quick, easy, and effective. You could use it on any garment where you don't want the underlining or interfacing to extend into the seam allowance, but still want lightweight support on the edges of the garment.


  1. great tip! i just picked this book up from the library to see if i liked it, nice to know it has your endorsement!

  2. Never thought about this! I wonder if you could use organza in the same way with lighter weight or sheer fabrics.

  3. I just got this from the online library a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately I haven't had time to really jump into it. I may buy it instead.

    I also got the Susan Khalje book :) Fun reading coming up.

  4. I saw carrier strips mentioned in the skirt pattern I'm currently making. I don't have to use them in my view which I was happy about yesterday but after your post now I'm thinking they're not so difficult and quite useful little things!

  5. Wow, so many questions! I think I'll need to check this book out to fall down the rabbit hole. :)

  6. Thanks for the heads up with the book, another one for the shelf :D

    Bundana @

  7. I bought this book last month, thanks to your recommendation, and am so excited to start using it. In fact I wish I would have used it on my last project-a 1940's suit. The pattern instructions called for twill tape to be stitched along the front edges, centered on the seam line, and I didn't do it because I was trying to avoid bulk. Had I checked out the book, I could have used this method.

  8. I really have to thank you Gertie for being so on point and generous with your information! ;)

  9. Hi Gertie,
    Read your e mail and then felt sure I had seen it before. I have the book, but it has a differnet cover here in the U.K. and some of the pictures are different; but the content is the same.

    I am busy with other projects at the moment, but I am excited now I have my mohair/wool/cashmere fabric ready and waiting for my very first tailored jacket. By that I mean my first adventure into pad stitching, tailors canvas etc. I think I will probably be e mailing you for guidance once I get underway.

    Have to say, I have read through this book a few times and I love that it has so many pictures to guide me along the way. Like you, I think its a fabulous book.

    Oh, your pattern arrived the other day, and my teenage daughter approves of my choice for her summer dress from me...............a gertie pattern!!

    Hope your Mum is improving.
    Hugs from the U.K.

  10. Marysia, the book is just a reprint of the Singer Sewing Reference Library, Tailoring, first published in 1988. If you have the Singer book don't buy this one but if you don't, this book under either title is worth having.

    Theresa in Tucson

  11. Just the kind of tip that I like - but I haven't quite puzzled it out yet. I get the principle, but not the detail. Hoping to use it on my next project.

  12. Tailoring is the most fantastic book! i wish I'd thought to use this technique on my winter coat! Oh well, next time!

  13. It is exciting! It took me a while to figure out how it works (all those parts of inches take some time to take root in my metric-operating brain), but it actually makes perfect sense. I haven't made anything truly tailored yet, but I'm definitely filing this away for when I do!

  14. Hi Gertie
    What's happened to you on Craftsy? I have two of your classes there and you're never there.

  15. I really have to thank you Gertie for being so on aspect and awesome with your information! finish line coupons codes

  16. This is such a great idea. Thanks for sharing this tip!

  17. I'm grateful to look for out so many useful details here in the peak, we need create more techniques in this respect, thank you for discussing.

  18. I had to hang it up to dry, and we've been having awful wet weather here, so it's day two of indoor bespoke carrier bags hanging to dry, and it's still a bit damp. It says explicitly not to put it in the dryer though, so I will just try and be patient while it dries (and use my Moby wrap in the meantime).

  19. In classic hand tailoring, twill tape is applied by hand all around the jacket front. In search of a more efficient solution, I decided to try the machine tailoring method outlined in my favorite tailoring book,


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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