June 22, 2011

Decorative Seams Pt. II

Yay! This is the last seam finishing post! I hope you've really enjoyed this series. I'll be showing you some applications from some of my garments soon. To be honest, I've not tried all of the seam finishes I've shown you here, but gosh, now we've all got some food for thought, right? The last of these decorative seams can be really gorgeous - and they are a bit harder than the others, but not really by much. Just take your time and it will work out fine! Here goes:

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Lapped Seams

I've seen lapped seams done a few different ways, so I'll try to consolidate. The first application goes really well in bibbed type bodices, like here where Debi has shown and applied some instructions from a vintage pattern. Doing this in a curved typed seam will really help things go alot smoother.

Threadmark by machine or hand on one seam allowance. Press the other seam allowance under - this part is intended to go on top of the thread marked seam allowance.

Line up the pressed seam allowance along the threadmarks of the threadmarked seam allowance and pin in place.

Topstitch 1/8" away from the folded edge through all thicknesses.

Here's another version of a lapped seam:

For regular woven fabrics, thread mark your seam allowances and press seam allowance under 1/4".

With wrong sides together, line up the threadmarks over the top of each other and pin in place. Note: the pressed under edges should be folded in toward each other.

Topstitch down one side 1/8" from the folded edge on one side and then turn over and do the same for the other.

Now this is all fine and good for wovens, but where this lapped seam application comes in really handy is working with fabrics that won't fray, like leather, and felt or rug hooking wool. Instead of folding and pressing the edges over, you'll merely trim those edges off. You can also topstitch from the right side of the garment for both stitching lines by lining up the next stitching line 1/4" away from the first. Then turn over and trim the excess seam allowance down again. Make sense? The idea here is that you have overlapping seams and the thing to keep in mind is that you need to have the seam allowances be the exact same as if you were doing a regular seam.

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Tucked Seam

This seam follows the exact same process as the first lapped seam application above except that instead of 1/8" topstitch away from the folded edge, you'll stitch 1/4" away from the folded edge. This results in a tuck - something I'm aching to try on the princess seams of a skirt.

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Fagoted Seam

This is a totally gorgeous decorative seam detail. I have yet to give it a try, but its something you could apply to the yoke of a blouse. You could even apply an ethereal contrasting fabric behind it too, like in the slotted seam.

Turn the seam allowances under and press. Break out some heavy paper and cut in large and wide strips. Pin the folded edges of each seam allowance to the paper leaving a 3/8" space in between the folded edges. Machine or hand baste through all thicknesses.

Now stitch between the folded edges using a fagoting stitch. To fagot stitch, begin by stitching through folded edge and diagonally across opening, entering the fabric from underneath. Place the needle under the thread, creating a twist and stitch diagonally across the opening again, spacing your stitches evenly.

When finished remove the basting stitches and paper and trim the seam allowances to 1/8".

Enjoy Everyone!





  1. Thanks for the mention! I see lapped seams in early 40s patterns all the time. I am LOVING seam finishing week and have already referred back to it. I really want to try the faggoted seams...such a lovely detail!

  2. So inspiring! Thanks for these posts all about seams!

  3. ooh i love this one. but then, i've loved all of these tutes!

  4. Wow, that fagoted seam is absolutely wonderful! I really need to find a project for it.

  5. Loved your seams series! Pics and instructions were spot on! Thanks

  6. Just a comment on your older post about making a pencil skirt sloper.

    I love reading pattern drafting books and have tried slopers from a few of them. I have found that the number, position and width of darts on the skirt sloper can vary quite a lot, depending on which method you are following. One of my books (European Cut) even has a formula for working out the ideal number of darts, depending on the difference between your hip width and waist width at the back, and I think depending on your tummy shape at the front.

    I have also made a duct tape skirt, which I then cut up to make a sloper, and looked at where the darts ended up on that.

    It's a shame you only found a couple of skirts to try on. Lucky for you, you found one you liked! Good luck with your sloper.

  7. I've been enjoying the seam series - it's nice to have a resource like this when planning a project. I used a fagoted seam on my Sorbetto yesterday. I love the way it looks and will definitely be using the technique again.

  8. That's a nice one! I have been sewing for years and have yet to try this !

  9. As for the fatigued seam I took Susan Khaljes online course and she taught this. I tried and tried, but this was so hard! It is so beautiful, I may give it another go.

  10. Hi Sunni, are you going to show us where each of the finishes is "appropriate" in a garment? I just finished my first dress and i think i migh have used the wrong stitch in a place...or two :)
    Thank you so much and I can't wait for the next installment of the Sewing School!


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