Seam Finishes Simplified

on May 16 | in Sewing + Quilting Tips, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 141 Comments

Tess has style. She’s full of fun, creativity and her talents are limitless. She produced this comprehensive Seam Finishes Simplified guide to share some of her sewing expertise with all of us. Armed with this guide you can create even more style in your women’s clothing, incorporating finished seams for a more beautiful and sophisticated final product. Tess blogs at Made by Tess and she has a Made by Tess shop featuring beautiful pins, bags, aprons and much more. Bookmark her blog and her fantastic resource for seam finishes below!

When I took my first (last, and only) sewing class in college my teacher always said our garments should look “handmade not homemade.” Being the scrappy kid that I was I thought she was being a bit snobby… What was wrong with things looking homemade as long as they had pizzazz? What was wrong with my two rectangle skirt with no hem, sloppy mis-matched thread seams and safety pins instead of a waistband?

Since they I’ve realized my resistance to seam finishing and tidy sewing was likely a personality conflict with my teacher, and that seam finishing isn’t our enemy… It’s our friend! Seam finishing is very simple when you break it down and really makes a difference in the look and durability of your garment. Many seam finishes can be done with out fancy-pants equipment (many don’t even need a zig zag stitch)!

There are many different seam finishes and I’ve organized them based on equipment needed: Just a Sewing Machine, A Pair of Pinkers, and The Lovely Overlock. So it seems it’s time to talk about seams!

WCMTessPrettySeams.jpg

Just a Sewing Machine
All this time you thought you were stuck without fancy seam finishes because you don’t have a serger. As it turns out the most professional and beautiful seam finishes are done with just a machine. Many of the more complicated, but not difficult, seam finishes (French Seam, Mock French Seam, Bound Seam, and Clean Finish Seam) are employed in the finest of high fashion garments. In today’s disposable world you will very rarely find a garment with anything else besides an overlocked seam (which I’m not knocking, I’m just saying there are other choices) which scores another point for handmade, in the store versus home battle. This means we, the home sewers, have the equipment, skills and knowledge available to us to make garments just as beautiful inside as the garments walking down the high fashion runways. And for much less than $10,000.

So from easiest to most difficult, let’s begin!:

  • Straight stitch seam finish
    This is simple, quick, and only needs the straight stitch function on your machine. I don’t usually use this technique but I’ve seen it employed in vintage garments that have a sheer fabric with a solid underlay. This is appropriate for all weights of fabrics but won’t work with easily-raveled fabrics.

    1. With right sides together stitch your seam.
    2. Using presser foot as a guide straight stitch 1/8” from the cut edge of your fabric. Press seams.
  • Zig Zag Edge
    This is a very quick and tidy seam finish that you can use for all most fabrics including those that are thick and fray easily. Use caution when using this technique with sheer fabrics as it can make them shred! For all these techniques, but especially this one, test a scrap and try a few variations of stitch widths and lengths to see what gives you the most tidy finish.

    1. With right sides together stitch your seam.
    2. Using presser foot as a guide, zig zag as close to the cut edge of your fabric as you can. Some machines have an overlock function; you can use that stitch in the same way you’d do a zig zag finish. You can also do a straight stitch ¼” from edge for extra durability. Press.
  • Clean Finish Edge
    This seam finish is easy and look so nice! You can use this on light- to medium-weight woven fabrics.

    1. With right sides together stitch your seam.
    2. Press open seam allowances.
    3. Press raw edges under ¼”, wrong sides should be together.
    4. Stitch down.
  • French Seam
    French seams are one of my favorite seams of all time! They are so fancy looking but so incredibly easy. French seams are appropriate for most light- to medium-weight woven fabrics, but anything too heavy will be very difficult and bulky. This technique is especially good for sheer fabrics since the entire seam is encased. When planning your garment bear in mind that French seams can only be used on straight seams. This is easiest with seams ½” or greater. Instructions are for ½”.

    1. With WRONG sides together stitch ¼” from edge.
    2. Press open then to one side, pressing helps lock the stitches in place and makes the next steps easier.
    3. Cut excess fabric to approx. 1/8”.
    4. Fold right sides together, press.
    5. Seam ¼” from edge; your seam is done!
    6. Press again and stand back and admire your work. The seam will look like this on the inside…
    …and this on the outside.
  • Mock French Seam
    Mock French seams are useful for situations where you can’t use a French seam because of a curve, such as on a princess seam or armhole.

    1. With right sides together stitch seam.
    2. Fold and press the cut edge of each seam allowance in toward the seam line at ¼“. For curvier seams clip or notch as needed to make the seams lie flat. You can hand baste if necessary.
    3. Match the folded edges and stitch as close to edge as you can. TIP: Instead of getting moving your fabric or presser foot, why not move your needle over a position? This makes it easy and fast, you can still use your presser foot as a guide but now you know you’ll be super close to the edge.
  • Flat Fell Seam
    The flat fell seam is a super durable seam often used in children’s clothing and jeans. This is best for medium- to heavy-weight woven fabrics.

    1. With WRONG sides together stitch 5/8” from edge.
    2. Trim one side of seam.
    3. Fold and iron ¼” and fold over trimmed edge and press.
    4. Stitch down 1/8” from folded edge.
    Admire you handy work! (Cat butt not necessary for seam finishing, by the way!)
  • Bound Seam
    Bound seams are beautiful and durable. They can be used on a variety of fabrics, but they are best on heavier fabrics where they won’t disrupt the drape of your fabric. You can either bind both pieces of fabric together or separately depending on the look you want. For example, on a jacket, bind the side seams separately and the neck edge together. This finish is great for armholes on both knit and woven fabrics; it helps prevent the seam from distorting and makes it more durable. This method of binding the armhole is good for all fabrics.There are many different types of binding you can use, and many different ways of applying them. There are two that I find the easiest so I will describe them:

    • Do It Yourself Bias Tape (This is best done with thinner fabrics like silk or a thin cotton.)
      1.Cut a piece of bias tape 1 1/2 inches wide and fold and press down the center. You will now have a piece of bias tape ¾ “. This will make a 1/4″ binding when all is said and done.
      2. Align the raw edges of your garment with the bias tape and stitch ¼” from edge.
      3. Fold bias tape towards raw edge and press.
      4. Fold around cut edge and press again. Pin in place.
      5. With unsewn side in the back, stitch in the ditch along the original bias seam. This will catch the folded edge of the bias tape.
      If you are using matching thread yours will look much tidier!Alternatively, you can hand sew this edge down which is extra lovely!
    • Double Fold Bias Tape
      You can either purchase this pre-made or make it yourself with a bias tape maker. Application is simple:

      1. Wrap bias tape around seam edge. Top stitch down catching both layers of bias tape.

    A Pair of Pinkers

      Pinking sheers not only make a cute pattern, they are also useful for finishing seams. This is a very simple finish and really only useful for fabrics that don’t fray easily. These techniques can either be done to both pieces of fabric at the same time or to each side separately.

    • Pink
      1. Make your seam.
      2. Pink about ¼” away from seam.
    • Stitch and Pink
      1. Make your seam.
      2. Stitch ¼” from seam.
      3. Pink as close as you can to stitching.

    The Lovely Overlock Machine/Serger

        Are you wearing a shirt (I hope so)? Look inside; it is likely to be finished by an overlock machine with a seam that looks like this:

    WCMTessoverlock.jpg

    Doing the overlock seam finish is super simple: just put the fabric in the machine, press the pedal and let her rip! An overlock machine works by trimming your seam allowance and finishing it at the same time.

    You can find out more about the nitty gritty of your serger in your manual as every machine is different! A basic rule of thumb is for thinner fabrics use a shorter stitch length and any width is fine. For bulkier fabrics a longer and wider stitch is more appropriate. The most important part of finishing seams with a serger is making sure not to throw it out the window. Just kidding, though sergers can be frustrating. Just remember to breath deeply and if it’s being screwy you probably threaded it in the wrong order. Seriously, in all my years of using a serger that’s been the problem 99% of the time. Not tension. Not a new needle. Not bad timing. Just threading it wrong.

    Anyway, back to the most important thing to remember: test on a scrap to find the right tension/stitch length and width combo. This will save you time and frustration.

    An overlock machine is expensive but is incredibly useful if you sew a lot of garments, make things for kids, or use knits a lot. You can do a lot of damage without one, but for simple, quick seam finishing this is Queen. An overlock machine isn’t the end all, be all of seam finishing though. All these techniques that I’ve talked about are not only useful but beautiful and easy to do!

    That’s it for seam finishes. Thank you for reading! I know this is a lot of information to process all at once, but try out one or two on your next garment and see how you like it! The extra care you put into your garment will be noticeable inside and out!

    Check out these pictures on Flickr by other sewers to see beautiful seam finishes in action!:
    Bound edges by bitsandbobbins
    More bound edges by Humblelabor
    Clean finish seam by Megan Young
    Zig Zag overcast by hasrik
    French seam by Danny Mansmith

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141 Responses to Seam Finishes Simplified

  1. paketresor says:

    really enjoyed what that you posted . it just is not that easy to find even remotely good posts to read (you know.. really READ and not just browsing through it like some uniterested and flesh eating zombie before moving on), so cheers mate for really not wasting my time on the god forsaken internet. :)

  2. Kim says:

    This info will be so useful for me in my future sewing adventures! lol

  3. Melissa says:

    I am so glad that you put this info all in one place! It might be helpful for newbies to know why one should finish seams;a.k.a. what happens when you don’t. I remember my first skirt where the sides rouched terribly after it was washed twice. Ah, Mom always was right!

  4. Angila Gupta says:

    hmmm yeah i can roll with this aha :P

  5. frosty says:

    This will definitely be bookmarked on my laptop for future reference. Very nice!

    Thanks

  6. Dramaderry says:

    Thank you!! Very helpful to me as I learn to sew.

  7. Megan says:

    great information but im looking for the turned and stitched seam

    thanks

  8. liesl says:

    Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  9. Leslie says:

    this could not have come at a better time…i was wanting to do french seams on a garment that i was making and was having a hard time figuring it out…but this made it so easy and fun. i was thrilled

  10. MomaToTheFithPower says:

    Great information! I purposely bought a (used) serger because I had a very vintage Singer that only produces straight stitch…how little did I know there are other truly great alternatives!

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  12. Donna Ferris says:

    I have some blouses that have the overlock stitching. How does one keep them from itching or being so stiff feeling? I’ve tried a soap bar, clear nail polish, and tape for hemming. Have any advice? I’m bookmarking this page because you have a lot of interesting things I never knew about. Thank you for helping all of us.

  13. Great article, thanx for information :)

  14. Lucy says:

    Thankyou, This Was So Helpful…!! :)

  15. Bianca says:

    Thank you for the refresher. This brings back memories of the clothing construction class I took in high school.

  16. kisha says:

    Very good information. I am learning to sew and this page simplifies the basic stitches as well as provide pictures to guide you as you go along.

  17. Mary says:

    I wish I had come to this site first! What a wonderful tutorial. Thanks.

  18. Linda says:

    I am some what an intermediate sewer. I know the basics but not the ticks. This information is wonderful. Thanks to all that made it possible.

  19. carol says:

    What a great article!!!

  20. Amy M. says:

    This is fantastic – thanks so much! I’ve never seen such a clear explanation of all of these finishing methods. I can’t wait to work on my next skirt.

  21. Carol says:

    This info is so incredibly useful. Thank you! I’ve never seen a mock French seam, but it’s definitely useful.

  22. Diane says:

    Super instructions! So nice to have it all in one place. Thank you!

  23. Caroline says:

    Thanks so much for the tutorial! I usually just go at it trying to imitate the seam I’m re-doing, but now I feel like I actually might know what I’m doing!

  24. Tricia says:

    I am brand new at sewing. I just got my first machine. This was quite helpful! Thank you so much!

  25. Megan says:

    Thanks for this tutorial! I’m going to try the French seam, too. I’ve been feeling like I NEED a serger real bad but now I’m going to try these other seam finishes before taking the plunge.

  26. kristena says:

    This is fantastic! Thanks for the info.

  27. This was helpful!

  28. Susan in SC says:

    This is wonderful information! Thank you so much for this tutorial! Susan

  29. Tanya says:

    Very helpful tutorial. Thank you taking the time to create it.

  30. Kimmie says:

    Thanks for the excellent tips-perhaps now I can get past the fear of screwing up!
    lol
    Kimmie
    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted

  31. Wendy says:

    This is a perfect resource for my students. Thanks for all the time spent putting this together!

  32. Pauline Perh says:

    These are great tips, simple and yet essential for anyone who is learning to sew to know.

  33. Chris S. says:

    I heart french seams! Love, love, love them. I just practiced the mock french seam last night and will definitely incorporate into an upcoming project. This entry is bookmarked on my computer for good!

  34. Ane says:

    A seam finish for every occasion, I’ll have to try all of them.

  35. Stacy Leigh says:

    This is awesome, I am SO bookmarking this to come back to later!

  36. debra says:

    Thanks for all the clear explanations. I love to use french seams in the clothing I make for my girls but sometimes it is just not feasible and I would thus love to have a serger. Since that is not happening any time soon I will have to try out the other seam finishes you describe!

  37. Lauren says:

    This was reallly helpful, thank you !!!!!!!!!!

  38. Susan says:

    Wonderful tutorial! I’ve been sewing for years–without a serger, alas–but I’ve gained a new respect for my sewing machine. Thank you.

  39. Judy says:

    Great tutorial. I’ll be sure to bookmark it…

  40. Nichole B says:

    Thanks for all the tips! I also like to finish edges with fold over ealstic.

  41. Tammy Mattox says:

    What a great tutorial! I thought I knew how to finish seams, but there are a couple of these that I’ve never heard of! LOL! Now I know! Thank you so much.
    Tammy

  42. anja says:

    loved all the detail and the reminder of some of these finishes that i had forgotten about. thanks for the clear and simple descriptions and the great photos!

  43. Libby says:

    Lots of great info on seams. Hopefully my seams will look a little more “finished”.

  44. wendy says:

    Thanks for the mock French seam instructions. I’ve been trying to do a proper French seam on curved seams, and it never looks good. This way looks so much easier. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself!!!

  45. Sharon Gollman says:

    This was wonderful! I always wondered what to do with French seams on a curve! Thank you!
    Sharon

  46. Julia Molewyk says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write and post this article. Very helpful. I have sewn clothing for my daughter, but would like to sew for myself. I feel I have been able to gather all the info and helps I need this month from posts like these on your site. Thank you, again.

  47. BethAnn Stenquist says:

    This was so helpful. I just picked up my first pattern to make. And readding the instructions I wasn’t sure how to finish the seams. The really helps. Thanks

  48. Anna says:

    These tuts are great. I always struggle with chosing a method of “beautifying” my seams.

  49. Amy G says:

    I’m a new gal to sewing. I learned when I was 10, but had long since forgotten proper seams. I struggled for days reading french seam tutorials online to figure it out. A month later, you posted this great tutorial! I sent a link to this article to heaps of friends because it’s extremely helpful!

    Thanks heaps!
    Amy

  50. Emily says:

    Oh how I love a french seam! Thank you for teaching me some other great options though. I think the french seam is pretty quick, but there are some places were it just doesn’t seem to be doable. This does not end my yearning for a serger though!!

  51. Shelby says:

    I am just starting to sew and this article was so informative. I had no idea there were so many different types of seams. Thank you for all the info!

  52. Carrie says:

    I sent this one to all my sewing girlfriends! I love how easily the seams were explained – with pics too! SUPER!

  53. Sarah W. says:

    Thank you! Thank you! This must have taken awhile to put together but I love it! I feel more confident to take on more projects since my standby is the straight stitch. I also don’t feel so limited since I don’t have a serger now. Thank you!

  54. Paige says:

    So helpful – I’m rather new to the world of sewing, so this should be super useful for me. Thanks!

  55. Tess says:

    Lisa has a good question “So.. you’re supposed to finish seams on clothes? I guess I need to research that. What is the impact? Why not do it on everything if it’s important?”

    Seam finishing adds durability, reduces bulk (which helps garments to hang the way they are supposed to), and for me it’s more comfortable because I’m not being tickled by threads. Not to mention it looks nice. You don’t need to use seam finishes on everything, like on a quilt you don’t need to finish every seam, when quilt all the layers together it adds durability and will prevent your project from unraveling. If I’m making a stuffed animal I usually don’t finish the seams, but if it is a stress point I will reinforce with row of double stitching, or binding depending on how strong it will be. You don’t even need to finish every seam in a garment. For example, if I am making a dress with a collar and a lined bodice, I will only need to do a seam finish on the skirt section. The unfinished seams and where the collar + sleeves join the bodice will be covered (and strengthened) by the lining. I don’t use seam finishings on lined bags, though I’ll do the same thing as I’d do on a stuffed animal and reinforce stress seams. If I were to make an unlined bag, I would use a seam finish (probably a binding) because after a few uses my bag would begin to unravel.

  56. Janice says:

    This is great info..and so nice to have it all in one spot. Thanks so much.

  57. Christy says:

    I’ve always been jealous of people with sergers. Now, I know I don’t have to be!

  58. Christine says:

    What a great resource! I come from a long line of sewers that were mostly self taught (or mom-taught) and so I’ve never had the opportunity to learn about other seam finishes. I always do the zig zag. The french seam, though, would be SO useful in so many situations. I can’t wait to try it! Thank you so much!

  59. Ally says:

    Oh how I LOVE french seams!!! They the best!!!

  60. Toni says:

    Thank you for taking the time to do this. Now I can use some alternative ways of finishing my pants :)

  61. Abi Buening says:

    you make it look sew easy.

  62. sarah says:

    My newest bookmark right here!

  63. Jody says:

    Thank you. This was very helpful.

  64. Barbara says:

    What a great tutorial! Reminds me of my Grade 10 sewing class :)

  65. Ellen B says:

    This was very informative and it was great to see pictures explaining the finishes…
    Thanks as always for the great information!

  66. Lil' d says:

    Great tutorial – thanks!

  67. Amber says:

    This was such a great post – thank you!

  68. Carrie says:

    Wow! Great information to have. I will be saving this page!

  69. Becky says:

    Lovely tutorial, very helpful for beginners like me. I think my favourite seam has to be the French Seam. It’s a bit difficult to wrap your head around it at first because the first few steps go against everything that you were taught about regular seams (sewing with the right sides together as opposed to the French Seam where you sew with the wrong sides together), so my first attempts at it were hesitant to say the least. I was so worried I was going to mess something up!

  70. Rhiannon says:

    wow. Thanks so much.

  71. nettie says:

    this is wonderful! thank you!

  72. Angela says:

    This is wonderful resource. The right seam finish makes the difference between looking home-made in a good way and looking home-made in bad way. :)

  73. Maryalice says:

    I tried French seams this week… so easy. Thank you!

  74. Michelle says:

    Just absolutely brilliant information. Thank you so much, this is going to help me LOADS!

  75. Nicole says:

    whipping up a pair of lounge pants from a VERY ravelly fabric last night, i realized my serger was out of needles…boo hoo. then i recalled this article! you’ve saved the day!

  76. kim says:

    So helpful. Especially appreciated the photos of each finish. I went home and did this to a skirt I’m making last night. Thanks!!

  77. Bianca Tovar says:

    Thank you SO much for this. I, too, thought I was out of luck without a serger. I took a small Introduction to sewing class where we made a pillowcase and tote bag, and the instructor finished our seams for us on a serger. When I asked her what those of us without a serger could do at home for finishing seams, she responded, “Get a serger. You can’t do it without one. Everything will fall apart.” I was very discouraged to hear that I would have to invest in something else before I could truly be happy with my sewing.

  78. Kim B. says:

    Wow! So much great info! Thank you for this post!!

  79. BookwormDragon says:

    The French Seam sounds so easy and useful, I can hardly wait to try it!

  80. Staci says:

    HOW GREAT! This was exactly what I was looking for without even knowing it. I am new to sewing garments and pretty much thought that if you didn’t have a serger you couldn’t have nice seams. I have something cut out right now waiting for all these cool techniques, I was just to afraid to start sewing, worried that it would turn out to “homemade” looking. Thanks so much.

  81. Christina says:

    I never realized there were so many options. I hate finishing seams too (except french seams, those are fun!) but now I might give it a try!!

  82. AndreaLea says:

    I ♥ the mock french seam! I will have to try it on my next garment attempt.

  83. Mel says:

    I will never leave another seam unfinished again!

  84. denitza says:

    great, awesome, cool amazing info! Thank you , thank you , Thank you!

  85. Jacquie says:

    I always thought without a serger I was out of luck. Not so! Thanks for sharing.

  86. Joanna says:

    loved the pics and instructions, I used one of your techniques yesterday – now hopefully my hard work wont fall apart in the wash LOL

  87. Celeste says:

    This was a really, really helpful post–thank you! Finishing my seams has always mystified me a little–no one really seems to talk about it, and they often don’t even mention it in patterns or tutorials. So thanks again.

  88. Rachel says:

    thank you thank you thank you!! great post!

  89. Shelley says:

    I’m a beginning sewer and a bit of a perfectionist (lots of unfinished projects lying about!) – this guide is incredibly helpful to me. Off to test out some techniques!

  90. edina says:

    Great tutorial – thanks!

  91. Kendall says:

    I love this tutorial! I had no idea there was so much I could do with just my sewing machine–and that it would look even nicer than serging! Thanks so much.

  92. Lisa says:

    So.. you’re supposed to finish seams on clothes? I guess I need to research that. What is the impact? Why not do it on everything if it’s important?

  93. Sharyn says:

    Thanks for the clear and easy directions!

    sharyn

  94. britt says:

    Great information! Thanks a ton I am going to try the french seam the next time I work on a garment!

  95. Amy Hodge says:

    These are great! Thanks so much for the information!

  96. Katie says:

    Thanks for this post…you inspired me to try some new stitches on my machine to make my projects sturdier and more finished looking :-)

  97. Amy says:

    This is a great tutorial and I’ve bookmarked it. I’ve never been one to finish my seams until recently and on my next baby clothing project I’m going to give the french seam a try.

    thanks!!

  98. Anna T says:

    Thank you! I gave up sewing about 14 years ago because of finishing seams. I’m now trying to get over this stumbling block for me and start sewing again. Perfect timing!

  99. Maggie says:

    Loved this article! I am self-taught and do not have a serger, so I was never sure about finishing seams, this helped a lot!

  100. Dana says:

    Thanks for guilting me into doing a better job on finishing my projects. I’m so slow and it takes more time, but it truly is worth it!

  101. Michelle Jadaa says:

    what a lovely clear presentation.I so want a serger,i’m bugging my hubby for one right now.I’ve realised after years of sewing that the one thing i’m not happy with is the inside finish of seams.To cleanly finish them without adding bulk will be amazing.
    I have to say i’m also addicted to sewing blogs now,theres such a wealth of information and its nice to see other fabricholics LOL.
    THANKS!

  102. LeAnne says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I have just started to sew clothing and was wondering what I could do to finish seams without a serger. I know I will be coming back to this page often for tips!!! Thanks again!

  103. Tricia says:

    This is one of those basic things that’s easy to miss if you’re self-taught! I’m so glad to have read this.

  104. Neus says:

    Wonderful. I’m printing a copy of this and keeping it next to my sewing machine.

  105. Heather B says:

    I usually pink or stitch & pink, but I’ve been wanting to try the french seam. Your explanation makes it seem doable …

  106. Casey says:

    This is going to be very helpful. thanks!

  107. Great tutorial! I’m immediately posting a link here from my own blog!!! Keep up the great work!

    xoxo

    Krissi
    Krissi’s Stitchery & “Altared” Clothing
    Mixed Media Mexephemera

  108. Rachelle says:

    Fabulous post! It makes me want to go sew something right now! Very informative and inspiring.

  109. Mel says:

    How wonderful! I was considering buying a serger – but this site has been so helpful and I’m going to hold off! I can’t wait to practice finishing my seams on a new machine now. Thank you.

  110. Lovely tips and great info. Will come back again.

    Thanks

    Latha

  111. this was so incredibly helpful!! thank you! :)

  112. lisa says:

    This is the best tutorial on seam finishes ever. I always take the time to finish seams on a garment, it makes all the difference!

    Lisa

  113. andrea says:

    Very helpful and informative. Thanks!

  114. Karen says:

    Thank you for the EXCELLENT tutorial…seam finishing is so important.
    In the past I’ve used my serger, but am currently sewing on a 1960s model Singer right now because it is handy so I’ve been making French seams or using pinking shears.
    I’ve never heard of a mock french seam…and I’m going to try that one really soon!

  115. Jean says:

    This is awesome- so comprehensive- and makes one of my least favorite parts of sewing interesting!

  116. Tess says:

    hey stefanie! Let’s see what would I do for a baby onsie if I wasn’t going to use the serger . . The great thing about knits is they don’t ravel, the bad thing is a lot of seam finishes unless done carefully with distort the fabric. That said I’d do either a zig zag seam finish, or just fold the seam over and stitch down 1/4-1/2 from the seam allowance which isn’t exactly a finish but it will look tidy (since the fabric doesn’t fray) and add lots of durability.

    Mellissa: when I am not going to be using my serger for a while I just snip the threads and leave the machine threaded. When I’m ready to use it I just tie the new thread to the old. Use very sturdy square knots, trim about 1/4-1/2″ from knot, set all the tension discs to 0 and run the machine very slowly. This usually works provided your knots are sturdy, and it saves you the time of having to re-thread your machine. I do this to change colors as well. I love to sew much more than I like to fuss, so I take all the short cuts I can :)

    Thanks so much for the great feedback, guys! Ask any other questions you might have!

  117. Sarah says:

    Great information! Whenever I finish seams with my sewing machine, I always think to myself how nice it would be to own a serger. After reading this, however, I’m much more content with my machine. Owning a serger can wait… Thanks for taking the time out to write this!

  118. Alejandra says:

    SWEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANKS A BUNCH.

  119. Mia says:

    Neat! You made this super easy to understand for someone whose pretty new to sewing!

  120. Jen Nelson says:

    Awesome!!! Great pictures & instructions!!

  121. Teresa says:

    Thanks for all of the info. I didnt know I could do so much with my simple sewing machine!

  122. Avlor says:

    How cool! I never understood french seams when people explained them.

  123. Margie says:

    Wonderful information. I now how have many choices for seam finishing. I often wondered if I did certain seams wrong but this really helps me! Thanks so much.

  124. Lindsey says:

    wow. that’s some great tips thanks!!

  125. Serena says:

    This is a wonderful resource for seam finishes! I LOVE French seams, and use them on almost everything!

  126. Ms. Cleaver says:

    I did a “clean finish edge” on my last project, but I had no idea it had a special name! I am intrigued by the French seam as well – may have to give that a go sometime soon.

    Shout out to Sew Mama Sew- absolutely loving Women’s clothing month!

  127. Carrie says:

    Thank you so much! I’ve never actually had anyone show me how to make a french seam…I always thought they were difficult to do, but this looks so easy. I usually just use a zig-zag seam, but I will definately be trying another technique on my next project.

  128. Erin says:

    Fantastic, amazing guide with clear instructions and detailed pictures!!!! Great information I hope to put to use someday ;-) Thanks!

  129. Mellissa says:

    Wow, that is a great post. I’ve been looking for other seam finishes. This was a perfect post about the topic. Thank you so much for putting all of these ideas in one place. I have a serger, but sometimes I don’t want to thread it for a small seam, and you have given me ways around this problem.

  130. Loral says:

    Terrific tutorial! Thanks for taking the time to put this together- great job!

    Loral

  131. Tammy says:

    Great tutorial!

  132. amanda says:

    Wow this is very useful! I’ve been stumped a lot of times on how to finish the ugly insides of my sewing. I’ve only tried French seams and zigzag stitch. I’m definitely going to try some of the other options. Thanks!

  133. stefanie says:

    I like the way the french seams look, but what would you suggest to use when finishing a “onesie” or other baby items in knit fabric? I have a serger, but I so don’t want to get it back out of the box…I will if I have to, though…

  134. Amy W says:

    One summer my Momma sat my sister and I down and did this with us. I still have the notebook with all the information in it. I find this information to be invaluable!!!

  135. This is a great tutorial! I know I’m going to be referring back to this one when I dust off my sewing machine! I’ve only ever used French seams…but this inspires me to branch out! Thanks for putting this together!

  136. BIkini says:

    Awesome summary! Thanks for the tutorial, and for putting it all in one place!

  137. Sandy says:

    Thanks I always want to try the French seams. The pictures make it looks so easy

  138. Andi says:

    I love this, thank you! My mother was trying to explain to me how to do a French Seam over the phone and I just didn’t get it. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words! I can’t wait to try these out.

  139. Cary says:

    Very helpful.
    Thanks.

  140. Amy G says:

    This was incredibly useful for me. I’m still sorting my way through sewing. Your pictures were very clear and helpful!!! Well done!

  141. Lynne says:

    Wowee, this is such great information! I am going to bookmark it so I can keep referring back. Thank you SO much; this must have taken forever to put together.

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