When you sew two or more pieces of fabric together, you create what is called a “seam.” Seams are the most basic constructions for sewing. As you continue on the learning curve of sewing and stitching, you will discover that many sewing patterns instruct you to use a specific amount of “seam allowance” so that the pieces of fabric you are working with fit together properly.
Continue reading to learn more about seam allowances, and some helpful pointers for sewing a seam.
A seam allowance is simply the amount of material between the edge of a piece of fabric and the stitching line. The most common seam allowances for modern sewing patterns are 1/4″, 1/2″ and 5/8″. If you are using a seam allowance of five eighths, that means that there will be five-eighths of an inch of material between the stitch line and the edge of the fabric.
Many sewing machines come with throat plates with built-in seam guides. However, you can also set your own seam guide on your sewing machine. In order to use the stitching guide accurately, you must be sure that your needle is in the right position. You don’t want the sewing machine needle to be in the far left position when you need it in the center!
At some point in your sewing mastery, you will come across the need to sew curved seams. Sewing curves seams are just the same as sewing a straight seam except you will follow a curved edge rather than a straight one. These are common for arm holes, crotches, and other curved areas of clothing.
Flat Felled Seams
Flat felled seams are commonly seen on heavy-duty fabrics and apparel, like denim and jeans. They are seams with double stitch lines and no “unattached” seam allowance. They are used to close up all crude edges to form a durable and strong seam.
Seam Sewing Advice:
☑ Keep in mind the importance of seam allowances and seam finishes.
☑ Always rely on seam guides to create correct seam allowances.
☑ Be sure to align the pin and fabric edges. You can also baste them together.
☑ Observe the seam line while sewing instead of moving the sewing machine needles to properly sew a straight seam allowance.
☑ Seam finishes preserve the seam allowance and stabilize the seam, making them vital aspects of an apparel sewing project.