Seam Finishing Week!

I received numerous emails and comments, during the course of the Ginger Sewalong, on how to best finish seams. You know, like should you zigzag the edges or pink them or serge them, that kind of stuff. To be honest, I didn’t give very good answers and I thought it was something that I should dedicate a whole week to instead. So, this week I’ve deemed Seam Finishing Week! I think you might be surprised at how many ways there are to finish a seam, because there are several. So let’s jump right in, shall we?

image source

Why, when and where should you seam finish? Let’s start with Why. If you’ve probably noticed with fabric, all, well nearly all fabrics fray. In fact, I think the only type I’ve seen that doesn’t fray are knits, and even then it depends on the type. And we’re not just talking about fraying in the laundering phase either. Fabric will fray while you’re handling and wearing it too. Yeah, even if you plan to dry clean a garment, there will still be fray-age be the mere fact that you will be wearing it. That’s why you want to seam finish – to add life to the garment.

image source

When do you seam finish? When you seam finish depends on where you are in the garment construction phase, what type of seam finishing you’ll be using and where you want the seam finished. I used to think that it was a grand idea to just get all the seam finishing out of the way before I even starting constructing a garment. Then I found that certain seams – like enclosed seams – end up producing shine (after pressing) with certain types of seam finishing methods. Not only that, but you can also stretch and distort cut pieces of your pattern by seam finishing before you actually start constructing. So, its my personal feeling that you should seam finish during construction always planning the seam finish just one step ahead of the place you are with your garment.

the center front seam of my seamfoam silk ginger skirt featuring a french seam finish

What about the Where? Seams that are exposed are a great place to start thinking about what types of seam finishes you want to do on a seam. What do I mean by exposed? Well, let’s take a skirt for example. Even more to the point, let’s have a look inside my Seafoam Silk Ginger skirt. This skirt does not have a lining – though even for skirts with linings, I like to seam finish – so the exposed seams run down the center front, center back and side seams. What I’d do for the center front and side seams? I used a french seam – a favorite for silk type fabrics with me. I’ll be showing you how to do these later on this week. Center back seam? Well this seam has a zipper in it and in the interest of time, I used my serger, though there are plenty of other seam finishes I could have used (which might have even been a little better too).Ā  Let’s talk about the seams that aren’t exposed for a minute. Those are located in the waistband area. What did I do there? I did not seam finish any of those seams, instead I graded them to reduce bulk. The hem? Nope, didn’t seam finish that area either. Since edge of the skirt hem is not exposed, I find that seam finishing, especially with hems, can produce shine from pressing on the right side. And the shine you get is the imprint left from the seam finish itself. Make sense?

the center back seam of my seafoam silk ginger skirt featuring a serged seam finish

Tomorrow I’ll be back with some basic seam finishes and as the week progresses we’ll get more advanced and tricky. What about you? Where and when do you seam finish?




10 thoughts on “Seam Finishing Week!

  1. I’m not sure how I survived without my serger!!! Actually I would use my mothers old Kenmore machine and use the overlock stitch and finish my seams that way, however it took forever and used a ton of thread! Sometimes if the fabric isn’t prone to raveling and I’m not that crazy about the garment anyway, I’ll just use my pinking shears on the seams.



  2. I’m looking forward to this! I’ve got a skirt in my queue that’s been sitting there a while because I’m really uncertain how to finish the seams.

  3. What a great idea for a theme week! I’ve found that it’s really awesome to have quite a few seam finishing techniques that you are familiar with since different types of seams work best with different finishings. Hopefully, I’ll be able to add a few more to my repertoire.

  4. it will be great to find out some new tricks. Since I bought my serger I have been using it to finish my seams. I use french seams for fine fabrics. I still use my zig zag stitch around curves or pronounced corners when I am not confident to use my serger. I never tried lapped seams or bound ones as they seem more time consuming.

  5. yay! thank you for this! seam finishes are definitely not something printed on patterns in great detail. for my first dress (just a few weeks ago), i was working with chambray – and boy did it fray a lot! i had never done any seam finishes before, and had to think of a creative way to do *something* before i lose all of my seam allowance (due to fraying). i decided to bind the seams with lace – someone commented later that it’s similar to hongkong finish? post is here and i would love to learn of other seam finishes! thanks!

  6. Hi Sunni, thankyou so much for sharing with us.. Great info.. I apprecaite it. Have a great evening.Happy Sewing.

  7. As a complete beginner ….. well, I was before I did a ‘Ginger’ in your sewalong šŸ™‚ …… so can I now say green novice instead? šŸ™‚ …….. thank you for doing a Seam Finish Week. I look forward to learning even more from you šŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s