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Topic: How to Sew 5 Different Finishing Seams: A Tutorial  (Read 7138 times)
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hannnahmaree
« on: October 03, 2015 09:28:53 AM »

Hello There! Today I'll show you step-by-step how to sew five different types of finishing seams. These are suitable for everything from curtains to garments.



This tutorial is originally from my blog. The specific post can be found here: http://palindromedrygoods.blogspot.com/2015/10/sewcabulary-part-3-five-ways-to-finish.html#.Vg_ywbRc3Vk

The original post is slightly more thorough.

Why finish your seams?

Well, firstly, they make the inside of your garment look professional and neat and if you're like me, you always want the inside to be as pretty as the outside.
Secondly, they prevent your fabric from raveling when laundered.
Thirdly, they can actually provide some structural importance, in the case of jeans, for example.

As my sewing knowledge has advanced, I find myself using finishing seams for nearly every project. If you're a beginning seamstress, don't be afraid! Now is a great time to learn these techniques and start incorporating them into those simple projects like pillowcases and curtains. If you're an intermediate or an advanced seamstress, these seams may be an overview for you, or perhaps one of them will be new to you! Comment at the end of the post and let me know if there is another one you'd like demonstrated, or if you sew one of the following seams differently than how I show you!



*We'll be using 5/8" seam allowances through this tutorial.*

1. The French Seam

This seam is great for sheer, lightweight fabrics such as voile, lawn, silks and lace. This is, hands down, the finishing seam I use the most. I use it to finish the majority of the dresses and blouses I make. I also finish all the pillowcases I sell on my Etsy store will french seams so that they don't unravel after being washed.

We're going to start with wrong sides together. If that seems weird to you, you're right, it is weird, but I promise I'm not leading you astray. Trust me!



Pin.



Sew a 3/8" seam.



We're then going to trim both of the seam allowance to just under 1/4".



Then, fold the fabric right sides together and press.



Pin and sew again, this time with a 1/4" seam allowance.



Ta da! Now you have encased the original seam allowance inside the second seam.



The french seam is incredibly neat on the inside and doesn't change the external appearance of your project at all.



2. The Clean Finished Seam

This seam is excellent for light to medium weight fabrics. Because this seam results in visible seams on the outside of your garment, it is good to use for garments such as unlined jackets and skirts where top-stitching can add be a cute detail. It can, of course, be used for plenty of other projects as well.

We'll start with right sides together. Pin.



Sew with 5/8" seam allowance.



Press seam allowance open and down each edge of the seam allowance, turn under 1/4".



Pin.



Stitch down each side of the seam allowance, just a hair from the edge.





Your resulting finished seam will look like this on the outside!



3. The Flat Felled Seam

This great finishing seam is often used in denim jeans (take a look at the seam on the inside of your leg if you have jeans on. That's a commercial version of what I'm about to show you!). It is also good for sports clothing and kids clothes because it's tough and adds strength to the seams of your garments.

We'll start with right sides together. Pin.



Sew with 5/8" seam allowance



Press open seam allowance.



Trim one side of the seam allowance to just under 1/4".





On the other side of the seam allowance, fold over 1/4" and press.



Then, fold the folded edge over the trimmed 1/4" seam allowance.





Pin and stitch close to the folded edge.



Your resulting finished Flat Felled seam will look like this on the inside.



And will look like this on the outside.



4. The Bias Bound Seam

This finishing seam looks so darn cute when done in contrasting bias tape. It's perfect for unlined coats, skirts and jackets. It is best for medium and medium/heavy weight fabrics.

Start with right sides together. Pin.



Sew with 5/8" seam allowance.



Iron out seam allowance.



Cut a piece of bias tape 1/2 longer than your seam. Fold out right edge of bias tape and press.



Place your fabric right sides together, leaving one seam allowance out.



Place your bias tape over the seam allowance, long edges even. Pin.





Stitch in the "ditch" left by the fold of the bias tape (that's what my scissor tips are pointing to). You'll be stitching through two layers: one layer of bias tape, and one layer of seam allowance.



Fold bias tape over the seam you just made.



Flip the whole thing over. Now you'll be looking at the opened seam allowance. Your main fabric pieces are still right sides together.





Fold half of the bias tape over the raw edge of your seam allowance.



Iron and pin.



Stitch along the edge of the bias tape (the edge towards the original seam).



When it's all finished, one of your finished seam allowances will look like this!



Repeat all steps on the other seam allowance and then both finished seams will look like this on the inside!



This finished seam doesn't make any changes to the external appearance of the project. Keep in mind that this creates a bit of bulk, and is not suitable for very lightweight or sheer fabrics because the seam finished would create 'lines' that you could see from the outside.

5. The Self Bound Seam

I'll be honest. This is not my favorite finishing seam. It's a bit tedious, but it does make an excellent finish on lightweight fabrics that don't ravel easily.

Start with right sides together.



Stitch a 5/8" seam.



Press open seam allowance.



Trim one side of the seam allowance to 1/8".





Fold over the edge of the other side of the seam allowance 1/4" and press.



Tuck the 1/8" seam allowance into the folded over seam allowance.



Fold the folded edge over the 1/8" piece again and press. (Lots of folding goin' on, eh?)



Push the main fabric pieces to one side and stitch along the edge of the folded seam allowance that is closer to the original seam.



When you're done, it should look like this! You'll have two rows of stitching very close to one another.



And this is what it looks like on the outside. This seam doesn't change the outside appearance.




So there you have it, five different finishing seams that should be in every sewists bag of tricks. What are your favorite finishing seams? Is there another one you'd like to see completed? Thanks for reading!





« Last Edit: October 03, 2015 03:37:32 PM by hannnahmaree » THIS ROCKS   Logged

MissingWillow
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2015 03:12:45 PM »

Thanks for posting such a detailed tutorial!
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« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2015 07:40:14 AM »

Nice selection of seam finishes!  Your tutorial explains them well!

I remember my favorite home economics sewing teacher saying that we should be just as proud of the inside of our sewn garments as well as the outside!

To be honest, for most clothing, I use my serger, but when I have a special fabric or want to make something for the pleasure of making a custom piece, I love the bias tape seam.  I sometimes even make the bias tape myself for a truly custom, professional look.

Thanks for sharing!
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« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2016 11:03:07 AM »

Pretty neat!  I've done quite a few french seams, but most of the others were new to me.  Great ideas to have on hand for special situations!
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2016 01:08:11 AM »

nice of you to share these! 

you can do #2 without topstitching by simply stitching down the fold on the seam allowances. 

and I've always done flat-felled seams on the outside of the garment (starting with the fabric wrong sides together).  Interesting to see it done the opposite way.
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hannnahmaree
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2016 04:34:41 AM »

nice of you to share these! 

you can do #2 without topstitching by simply stitching down the fold on the seam allowances. 

and I've always done flat-felled seams on the outside of the garment (starting with the fabric wrong sides together).  Interesting to see it done the opposite way.

Thanks for commenting, steiconi. I love these seams (and really sewing in general) because there are so many different ways to do each thing. I love to see what other people's techniques and tips are, so thanks for sharing! I love a flat-felled seam on the outside as well, especially for yarn-dyed fabrics.
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