We’ve slowly been combing through our post archives in order to update older posts, and simultaneously identify gaps in the resources we provide. Outside of two French seam posts – one that covers a how to for straight and curved seams and another for right angles – we’ve never provided a comprehensive guide for common seam finishes. Seam finishes are an essential part of garment and accessory construction when working with woven fabrics.
In addition to providing neat and tidy insides, the finishing stitch is what keeps your fabric from fraying or unraveling and ultimately weakening your construction stitch. Different seam finishes can also provide additional reinforcement that will make your garment or accessory durable and able to withstand the stress of everyday wear or use. Being aware of different seam finishes also empowers with the knowledge to choose a finish that’s best for the fabric or project you’re working on. This comes in handy if you use a different fabric than suggested by a pattern and you need to reduce seam bulk or otherwise conceal raw edges.
We’re discussing 8 common seam finishes below and have included step-by-step instructions for a few of them. Scroll down to read and learn about them all!
A pinked seam finish is created by using pinking shears. Simply snip close to the edge of your seam allowance using your shears, and the zig-zag edge will help to prevent fraying. You can also sew a straight line of stitching close to the pinked edge in order to prevent fraying. This option is useful for fabrics that will become bulky when turned under and stitched.
This finish is best for tightly woven stable fabrics and curved edges.
Turn and Stitch
This is a quick finish that will keep your raw edge tucked under and out of sight. Fold the edge of your seam allowance under 1/8 inch (0.32 cm), press, and and stitch close to the folded edge.
This finish is best for light to medium weight wovens, course weaves, and tweeds.
In addition to being a quick seam finish, the zig-zag stitch is an available stitch option the majority of sewing machines. One option is to stitch both pieces of the seam allowance together and press to one side. Or you can separately finish each edge of fabric with the zig-zag stitch prior to sewing the seam with a straight stitch. This option is useful to reduce bulk when working with heavier fabrics.
This finish will work on most fabrics to prevent fraying, but delicate fabrics may get eaten by your sewing machine. We recommend testing the stitch on a scrap piece of fabric and adjusting the stitch width and length to suit your fabric. Heavier fabrics require larger settings and lighter fabrics will require smaller settings.
Serged seams provide the construction and finishing stitches in one pass, but require the use of a serger. Similar to the zig-zag stitch shown above you can serge the edges of your fabric piece separately before stitching them together which allows you to press the seam open. Or, you can serge your fabric pieces together and press to one side. You can use a three or four thread seam finish – we’ve shown a four thread finish above.
We serge nearly everything in the studio from wovens to knits; however, we recommend a different finish for sheer garments, unlined jackets, or items that need to withstand a lot of stress.
A French seam is best for sheer, lightweight, or delicate fabrics that are prone to fraying and unraveling as the finish fully encapsulates the raw edge.
The seam finish is sewn in two parts so you’ll need to divide your seam allowance in half. In this example our the total seam allowance was 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) so we will be sewing 1/4 inch (0.635 cm) at each step. Begin by placing your fabric together with wrong sides matching. Sew at 1/4 inch (0.635 cm).
Trim excess fabric or seam allowance to 1/8 inch (0.32 cm) and then fold the right sides of your fabric together so that the raw seam is now sandwiched between both pieces of fabric. Press, and then sew 1/4 inch (0.635 cm) from the folded edge. Press again and you’re French seam is complete.
Bias bound seams take a little more time, but they stand-out visually and are recommended for fabrics that fray, unlined jackets, and formal garments.
You’ll need store bought or self-made bias tape that is 1.5 inches (3.81 cm) wide. Cut a piece of bias tape that is slightly longer the seam you’re finishing and pin to seam allowance edge with right sides facing.
Turn over and check that you’ve only caught one side of your seam allowance. Ensure the rest of your fabric is out of the way. Turn right side up and sew the bias tape to the seam allowance 1/4 inch (0.635 cm) from the edge.
Press the bias tape away from the garment.
Fold the free edge of the bias tape over the edge of the seam allowance around to the back. There’s no need to fold the edge of the bias tape under. From the right side, stitch near the edge of the the bias tape in order to anchor the binding in place.
Trim any excess bias tape that hangs over the edge of the seam. Repeat on the other side.
Mock Flat Fell
A mock flat-fell seam finish provides the visual appearance of a flat-felled seam without the bulk. The drawback is that it doesn’t provide the strength a true flat-felled seam provides.
Before sewing your seam finish one edge of your fabric with a zig-zag stitch or by serging. Leave the other edge unfinished and proceed to sew your seam. Trim the unfinished edge to a 1/4 inch (0.635 cm). Press both seam allowances to one side so that the finished seam allowance edge covers the unfinished trimmed edge. Using a straight stitch, sew a line of stitching 1/4 inch (0.635 cm) away from the original seam. You’ll catch the finished seam allowance edge and encase the trimmed unfinished edge. We also sewed a line of stitching 1/8 inch (0.32 cm) away from the original line of stitching to provide additional visual detail
This finish can be used on denim jeans, shorts, jackets, canvas accessories, duckcloth, and sportswear.
A true flat-felled seam provides more than a clean finish. The overlapping seam makes this an incredibly durable and sturdy finishing stitch. We recommend using a flat-felled seam finish for garments that will experience a lot of stress – denim or canvas jeans, jackets, outerwear, and sports related garments.
After sewing your seam, trim down one side of your seam allowance to 1/4 inch (0.32 cm).
Fold the untrimmed seam allowance in half, press, and then fold over the previously trimmed seam allowance. Pin in place and edgestitch along the folded edge.
Do you have a favorite finish stitch? Let us know below!
Hi all! We were doing a pretty good job of steadily working on and providing progress updates about our Tamarack Jackets, but then things got busy around here. Before we knew it half a year had gone by! That doesn’t mean we weren’t paying attention on social media – we’ve loved seeing all of your finished Tamarack’s pop-up in the Tamarack Society Hashtag on Instagram!
With more of us in the studio, Jen and Lexi have been able to squeeze in a bit of time on their jackets, and Lexi was able to fully finish hers. Scroll down to see more pictures!
Lexi chose to quilt around the pattern on the fabric and put a lot of thought into cutting out her jacket pieces. She is an expert at pattern matching and this coat truly highlights her skill. She chose to make a longer version by lengthening the jacket approximately 10 inches (25.4 cm).
She chose to add some visual intrigue along the side seams by adding an inset panel. To do this, she sewed the side seams to about hip length and left them open below that point. Then she bound the jacket front seams, sewed on the inset panels, and bound her side seams and the inset panel seams as one continuous seam.
Lexi is excited to wear this showstopper later this Fall. We’ll be back with an update on Jen’s finished Tamarack as soon as it’s complete. Finger’s crossed for a 2019 finish
A global study performed by Dove showed that 70% of women don’t feel represented by images they see in advertising. Feedback from our sizing survey supports this finding, and many participants expressed a desire to see new patterns shown on a variety of bodies.
Inclusive representation is important, and a recognized limitation of working with one model per pattern release is that the resulting images only show the patterns on one body. We’re fortunate to have a huge community of sewists who share the garments they sew using Grainline patterns on social media channels; it allows for realistic and diverse portrayal of people in our patterns to circulate in the world. That said, we don’t want you to have to wait for hashtags to fill up in order for you to visualize yourself in one of our patterns. We want you to discern how a garment sewn with a Grainline pattern might fit on your body as soon as it’s released.
So, we’re reaching out to the real people who make up this community and asking for your help in providing authentic and inclusive representation as part of the Grainline Studio Sew Visible Project. We’re looking for people who are interested in sewing our forthcoming patterns and then sharing pictures of themselves in their completed garments to social media on release days. We’ll send you new patterns prior to their official release and provide compensation.
If you’re interested in getting involved, please click the image above and fill out the form so that we can learn more about you and contact you if selected. We will be selecting a diverse group of makers from the pool of applicants and plan on working with a different group of people for every launch. To be considered for our upcoming pattern release please fill out the form no later than June 21st, 2019 at 5:00 pm CST. Feel free to share the Grainline Studio Sew Visible Project link with anyone you think may be interested. We’re looking to represent diversity in all forms and we need a pool of diverse applicants to do so. If selected we will reach out to you with more details.
Thank you for your support!
In today’s tutorial we’re showing you how to turn your scraps into fruit themed zippered pouches. The inspiration for these incredibly cute bags came from the above pictured leather fruit pouches Jen spotted a few weeks back on Cuyana. We originally had something else planned for today’s scrap busting series, but when we were looking through our leather scrap drawer and saw that we had pink, green, and yellow scraps on hand it felt like too big of a coincidence to overlook.
If you don’t have leather scraps you can still make these pouches. We recommend using thicker weight woven fabric scraps or interfacing your pieces so that your pouches retain your shape. In addition to the fabric you’ll also need a zipper and thread. Our pouches are big enough to hold a few small items, but they don’t fit a cell phone. Feel free to make your pouches, or fruit, as small or large as you’d like! We’re not providing a pattern template this week as these shapes are easy to draw on your own using any circular object. Scroll down for detailed steps on how to make a watermelon and jumbo lemon.
Watermelon Zippered Pouch
To get started you’ll need two half circles of any size of your main fabric, two small rectangles in your main fabric, a longer rectangular piece of fabric in contrast fabric whose width will be determined by your zipper plus seam allowance and whose length will be the same as the length of the rounded edge of your fabric plus seam allowance, a zipper, thread, marking tools, leather needles, and clips to hold your pieces together while sewing. Any hole you put in the leather will remain so we recommend clipping your pieces together versus pinning; however, you can pin pieces together within the seam allowance if needed. When in doubt cut out larger pieces – you can always trim things to size if needed.
Begin by placing the left side of your zipper along the straight edge of one of your half circles with the right side facing down. We positioned our zipper so that the start of the teeth and zipper stop were approximately 1 inch (2.54 cm) from either end.
Use a zipper foot to sew the zipper at 1/8 inch (0.32cm). Start where the zipper teeth begin and stop at the zipper stop. Flip the seam allowance to the wrong side and press.
Place the right side of your zipper right side facing down along the straight edge of your other half circle. Clip in place. Be sure to place your zipper at the exact height you placed it at on the other half circle. Pull the zipper closed and flip everything so that the right sides are facing up and double check to ensure everything aligns before sewing. Sew from the start of the zipper teeth to the zipper stop at 1/8 inch (0.32 cm).
Cut two smaller rectangles out of your main fabric. These should be cut at a width of your zipper plus 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) and the length will be based on the measurement from the start of your zipper teeth to the edge of your main fabric plus seam allowance on both edges. As mentioned previously, it’s better to cut this longer than you might need as you can always trim it down to size if it is too long.
Fold the short edge of one of your rectangles under by 1/4 inch (0.635 cm) and topstitch 1/8 inch (0.32 cm) away from the folded edge. Repeat steps for second rectangle.
You are now going to attach the two rectangles to either end of your main zippered piece. Starting at either end, clip your rectangle piece to the zipper only. Sew the rectangle to the zipper starting on one side, pivoting at the corner, going across the previously topstitched edge, and up the other side at 1/8 inch (0.32 cm). Repeat on the other end.
Topstitch along both edges of your main fabric.
Measure and cut a rectangle in a contrast fabric. The measurements will be determined by the width of your zipper and length of the rounded edge of your main piece plus seam allowances. We didn’t have one piece that was long enough so we cut two and sewed them together in order to make a long enough piece.
With right sides facing each other, attach the long edge of the rectangle to the rounded edge of the main piece. Align the center of the rectangle with the center of the curve.
Carefully sew using 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) seam allowance being sure to ease as needed to avoid puckers. Pink and clip your seam allowance to create a smooth curve.
Press the seam allowance down towards the contrast fabric and topstitch 1/8 inch (0.32 cm) catching the seam allowance in the process.
Repeat the previous steps to sew the remaining raw edges together. Make sure your zipper is open so that you can turn everything right side out at the end. When you topstitch this second edge you might not be able to sew all the way up to the edge closest to the zipper on either sides due to the limitations of the pouch opening. We recommend starting in the center and topstitching as far as you can up one side and then repeating in the opposite direction.
Turn your pouch inside out and align the top edge of your main rectangle with the top edge of your contrast rectangle. Sew whatever seam allowance you included when measuring both pieces – for us this was 1/2 inch (1.27 cm). Trim, turn right side out, and enjoy your new bag!
Lemon Fruit Pouch
We can’t get enough of this jumbo lemon! The bright color and circular shape make it fun and functional. We’re already planning on bringing it to the beach, to summer festivals, and wherever else we end up this summer.
You’ll need two circular pieces of fabric, three rectangular pieces that are half the length of the outer edge of your circle and a width of your choice plus seam allowances, a zipper, and thread.
Place your zipper along the edge of one of the rectangles with right sides facing together. Use a zipper foot and sew at 3/8 inch (0.95 cm).
Flip to the right side and press.
With right sides facing sew the second zipper edge to right edge of your second rectangular piece at 3/8 inch (0.95 cm).
Flip to the right side and press. Grab your remaining rectangle and clip the short edges together with right sides facing. Align the center of the short edge with the center of the zipper.
Sew at 1/4 inch (0.635 cm). Flip and press.
Topstitch at 1/8 inch (0.32 cm) and again at 1/4 inch (0.635). Repeat the previous steps on the opposite side to create your outer rind.
With right sides facing, clip one of your circle pieces to the edge of the loop you previously created. Sew at 1/2 inch (1.27 cm). Pink and clip your seams to create a smooth curve.
Press the seam allowance towards the loop and topstitch 1/8 inch (0.32 cm) from edge.
Repeat the previous steps with your remaining circle. Be sure to open your zipper so that you can eventually turn your pouch right side out. When topstitching, the opening of the zipper may prevent you from topstitching around the circle entirely. We recommend starting at a central point and going in one direction as far as you can go and then repeating in the opposite direction.
Feel free to attach a chain or trim a small leather or fabric piece and loop it through your zipper to make pull tab.
Today, we’re sharing two of our favorite, incredibly simple, modifications that transform the Uniform from tunic to shirt! These quick adjustments increase the number of options this incredibly versatile pattern offers. The Uniform Shirt is the perfect alternative for you if you don’t think of yourself as a tunic person.
Please note that you will need the Uniform Tunic pattern to complete this modification. Looking for resources or additional help sewing up the pattern? You can access our sew-along page here: Uniform Tunic Sew Along
Uniform Shirt Modification - Option 1
The modification for Option 1 is barely a modification – just leave off the skirt! You won’t be able to include the inseam pockets if you choose this modification, but you could always draft patch pockets and add them to the front of your shirt if desired.
We’re using the round neckline pattern piece illustration, but the modification is the same for round or v-neckline options. Assemble your bodice front through Step 2 of the instructions.
To finish the Bodice hem, fold 1/4 inch (0.635 cm) along the bottom edge of the Bodice to the wrong side and press. Fold and press at 1/4 inch (0.635 cm) again and edgestitch the free folded edge.
Pick up the instructions at Step 15 or Step 21 depending on the sleeve option you’ve chosen and follow through to finish your Uniform Shirt!
Uniform Shirt Modification - Option 2
The straightforward pattern modification for Option 2 allows you to make a Uniform Shirt without sacrificing any design features. By applying a length change between the lengthen / shorten lines on your bodice piece, you are able to make your Uniform Shirt as short as you prefer. Additional length can also be taken away from the hem of the skirt front and back pieces and pocket pieces if needed.
Start by cutting between the lengthen / shorten lines marked on the Bodice front piece. Overlap the two sections by the amount you want to shorten your piece, and make sure to keep the grain line of the two pieces aligned. Remember to factor in seam allowance when you remove length. Shortening this piece will cause the dropped waist seam line to hit higher on the torso. We recommend making a muslin to determine your optimal length.
Trace your overlapped piece, including all notches, onto a separate piece of paper, and blend any gagged edges along the side seam. Repeat the adjustment to your back piece as well.
Proceed to cut out your remaining pieces and follow the instructions to complete your Uniform Shirt!
Are you envisioning any other modifications to the Uniform Tunic? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
We are so excited to release this standalone Uniform Tunic pattern. The Uniform Tunic was originally released as a traceable pattern in the collaboration book Uniform-Knit & Sew with Madder. We received numerous requests to release the Uniform as a standalone pattern from people who wanted printed and PDF versions of the pattern that didn’t require tracing as well as those who weren’t interested in purchasing a knitting book. This brings us to today!
The pattern was designed as a choose your own adventure sewing pattern. While we have provided four options for you, the possibilities are endless as all of the design features mix and match! This makes it easy to sew a version of the pattern that works for you. Choose between your favorite neckline, skirt, sleeve, and pocket option.
We suggest using light to medium weight woven fabrics such as cotton, linen, voile, and chambray; but, we also love how it looks when made up drapier fabrics like tencel or silk noile. We’ll be sharing multiple versions over the coming weeks to showcase the difference in fit and look of the garment in different fabrics.
Read about the design features of the pattern below!
- Two neckline options: choose between a round or V neckline. Both are finished with a facing that’s edgestitched down to keep it in place.
- Two sleeve options: choose between a sleeveless version finished with a bias facing or set in bracelet length sleeves
- Bust darts: provide a flattering fit!
- A topstitched drop waist or generous inseam pockets
- Two skirt options: a straight skirt fits closer to the body while the lapped skirt option provides more room for movement
We’ve provided four example options of how you might mix and match the design features of this pattern to get you started. Option 1 is a sleeveless and features the rounded neckline, inseam pockets, and straight skirt.
Option 2 features the v-neckline, bracelet sleeves, drop waist seam, and lapped skirt.
Here we’re showing Option 3. This option features a round neckline, long-sleeves, inseam pockets, and the lapped skirt.
This is Option 4 on the pattern envelope: a sleeveless v-neck version with a straight skirt.
Grab your copy of the Uniform Tunic below and stay tuned for additional posts featuring Uniform Tunics in different fabrics as well as modifications you can make to the pattern. Back when Uniform – Knit & Sew was originally released, we put together a series of posts to ensure a smooth sewing experience with the Uniform Tunic pattern. Click here to read more about fabric choices, supplies needed, common adjustments, and sew-along posts.
Make sure to use the hashtags #uniformtunic and #grainlinestudio so we can see your versions! Let us know below what you think of the pattern and the options of the pattern you’re planning to make.
What are you looking for?