June 14, 2011

Seam Finishes



Today, I'll be covering some basic seam finishes. Tomorrow, gear up for self-finished seams. Friday, I'll be back with some decorative seams which are going to be really fun and I think you'll have a ball dreaming up where to put those in your next garment. Let's jump right in - shall we?

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Machine Zigzag or Straight Stitch



Let's start with one that most people know and do - Machine Zigzag. After you've sewn a seam, you can use a zigzag (or a straight stitch) to finish the edge. Start by zigzagging (or straight stitching) down one side of the seam allowance, 1/8" from the edge. Next, do the other side. If needed trim your fabric close to the stitched edge. Use a smaller stitch length for lightweight fabrics and a longer stitch length for heavy, bulky fabrics. Easy, peasy.


Use for: lightweight to heavy & bulky fabrics.
Application: apply this seam finish after you've stitched a seam allowance and/or before you insert a zipper


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Pinked



For this next seam finish, you'll need a pair of pinking shears. I have a Gingher pair and I love them. To use pinking shears you'll need to first straight stitch down one side of the seam allowance, 1/4" from the edge. Then trim 1/8" from the edge with your pinking shears. Voila! Done!


Use for: firmly woven fabrics.
Application: apply this seam finish after you've stitched a seam allowance and/or before you insert a zipper



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Hand Overcast



This next seam finish is done in part with your machine and part by hand. You'll need to straight stitch down one side of your seam allowance 1/4" away from the edge. Trim away 1/8" and then overcast the seam by hand just past the machine stitching. The overcast stitch is done by taking diagonal stitches over the edge and spacing them evenly apart.



Use for: lightweight to heavyweight fabrics
Application: apply this seam finish after you've stitched a seam allowance and/or before you insert a zipper


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Turned Under Seam Finish



A turned under seam allowance is also a great option and looks really nice on the inside. To do this, simply turn under your seam allowance 1/4" or smaller and stitch in place 1/8" from the edge down each side of your seam allowance. If necessary, trim the inside raw edge close to the stitching.



Use for: lightweight to medium weight fabrics
Application: apply this seam finish after you've stitched a seam allowance and/or before you insert a zipper


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Serged Seam Finish



For those of you who have a serger, you can easily finish a seam allowance by serging down each side. I also like to finish with my serger before and instead of pressing the seam open. After I serge, I then press the seam to one side.



Use for: lightweight to heavyweight fabrics
Application: apply this seam finish after you've stitched a seam allowance and/or before you insert a zipper


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Bound Edge & Hong Kong Finish




Bound Edge finishes are very similar to the Hong Kong finish, except that you use a double fold bias tape to finish it off. To do this seam finish, you can buy or make your own 1/2" double folded bias tape. Sandwich your seam allowance inside of the double folded bias tape and pin.



Stitch through all layers of fabric (top bias tape, seam allowance, bottom bias tape) 1/8" in from the edge of the bias tape. And your finished!



The Hong Kong Finish is a really great option for many different types of fabrics, especially jackets that are unlined. For this seam finish, you'll need 1 1/4" wide bias strips. With right sides together, stitch the bias strip to one side of your seam allowance with a 1/4" seam allowance. Trim the bias strip to 1/8" from the edge.



Press the bias strip over towards the seam allowance edge.



Turn the bias strip to the back of the seam allowance and stitch in the ditch (where the bias tape and the seam allowance fabric meet) from the right side of the seam allowance.


Use for: lightweight to heavyweight and bulky fabrics
Application: apply these seam finishes after you've stitched a seam allowance and/or before you insert a zipper


Happy Seam Finishing Everyone!


xoxo,


Sunni

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