Simple – but effective – routine to beautiful seams.
How your seams look will define a lot of the quality and finish of your sewn garments.
The quality of your seams will tell if you are skilled or just starting out.
But luckily there is a simple and easy routine, that will get you perfectly well-sewn seams every time. You can do this, even if you are new to sewing. And if you don’t – well, then your seems will look like you are a complete beginner, even if you have years of sewing behind you.
Make this routine a good sewing habit, then you will be better off for your future sewing projects. A lot of things you will throw at yourself while sewing will be much easier, and you can use your energy on learning new skills, instead of spending time fixing simple mistakes, that could easily have been avoided, using this routine.
It is three easy steps.
Follow them every time you sew, and you will be rewarded with beautiful looking seams over and over again.
Step 1: Sew the seam
For the first step, you sew the seam. No tricks there. Remember to secure the seam when you start and stop, sewing 1,5 cm backwards.
When starting the seam, start 1,5 cm from the edge of the fabric, sew back to the edge before sewing the seam. When ending the seam, sew to the edge before sewing backwards 1,5 cm.
Step 2: Press the seam
If necessary, first press on top of the seam to set the stitches into the fabric. This is not always necessary, but if your machine does not sew super even and tight stitches, it may be a good idea.
Then press your seam. In lightweight fabrics with a smaller seam allowance of approximately 1 cm, press the seam allowance to one side.
In medium and heavyweight fabrics, and when your seam allowance is 1,5 – 2 cm or more, split press your seams, so the seam allowance is pressed to each side. This will make your seam more invisible in the finished garment, and it will make the fabric hang more evenly in the seams.
Step 3: Edge the seam allowance
When your seam is pressed, you can sew the edge of the seam allowance. The best result is an overlock seam, preferably with a three thread overlocker. If your regular sewing machine has an overlock seam, that might also be quite good. And if you don’t have either an overlocker or an overlock seam on your sewing machine, you can use a zigzag seam to finish your seam allowance.
There are other options as well, but for most garments and fabrics, this is perfect.
(Wondering about the “F” written in chalk on the fabric? It indicates that this is the front piece. It is not important for this guide, but it is handy to know when sewing).
You might want to finish your seam by giving it a light press.
The edging process will often disturb the seam a bit, so it may need to be pressed flat again. But be very aware not to make press marks and press shine on the right side of the fabric. In some fabrics, you can accidentally press the edging through to the right side of the fabric. You do not want to do this, so be gentle with your final pressing.
Super easy, and now you have a beautiful seam.
Do this with all your seams, before sewing across them, then you will have a great finish build into your garment step by step.
Pressing each seam before sewing across it, makes it a lot easier to make the final finish check on your garments, and to get great results every time.