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July 2010
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How To Do Basic Seam Finishes


          A seam finish is any technique used to make a seam edge look neater and/or keep it from raveling.  Though not essential to the completion of the craft item or garment, it can add measurably to its life.  Three basic seam finishes are discussed here.

          Pinked:  (1) Cut along the edge of the seam allowance with pinking shears.  For best results, do not fully open the shears nor close all the way to the points.  If the fabric is crisp and lightweight, it is possible to trim two edges at once before pressing the seam open.  Otherwise do one edge at a time.  Pinking is attractive, but will not of itself prevent raveling.

          Turned and stitched (also called clean-finished):  (2) Turn under the edge of the seam allowance 1/8” (1/4” if the fabric ravels easily) and press.  Stitch along the edge of the fold.  It may be helpful, on difficult fabrics or curved edges, to place a row of stitching at the 1/8” or ¼” fold line to help turn the edge under.  This is a neat, tailored finish for light to medium weight fabrics, and is suitable for an unlined jacket

          Zigzagged:  (3)  Set the stitch for medium width and short (about 15) length.  Then stitch near, but not on, the edge of the seam allowance.  Trim close to the stitching.  This is one of the quickest and most effective ways to finish a fabric that ravels.  It can be used for a knit, but special care must be taken not to stretch the seam edge, or it will ripple.

        These “how to” tutorials are an excerpt from our book “Basic Clothing Construction”.   This book is a handy addition to have in your sewing room, so you can refer to the various sewing tips and tutorials at any time 


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