Friday, August 3, 2012

"But I don't own an Overlocker/Serger!"

Never fear - you can still have neat seam edges!

Actually, in my opinion, these finishing techniques are nicer than overlocked or serged seams....

So last weekend I sewed nothing... not a thing...  Instead I flew to another state and had a photoshoot with the very talented Cheech Sanchez from Cheech-o-Rama!  And while I haven't got all my shots back yet, I do have one as a sneak peak that I will include at the bottom of this post as a reward for reading the whole thing (or you could just scroll down now)

I wonder how many of you did just scroll down... ha!


Because I can't show you anything I've sewn, I thought I might show you my two favourite seam finishing techniques instead!

First up we have something I thought I came up with, but I now know someone else came up with and called the Clean Finish Edge (boring name!).  It works really well with seam allowances of 5/8" or more, but it gets a bit fiddly with anything narrower...

Sew your fabric together as normal - so with right sides together - then press seam edges out like this:

Its easy so far!  Then, fold the raw edge of the seam allowance underneath to the stitch line (or thereabouts) and press again.  Try very hard not to burn yourself with the steam from your iron.  It will look like this:

Don't forget to do the other side as well!  Then, sew a line of stitching down the centre of the folded seam allowance, like this:

Press the seam open again, and what you will end up with is something like this:

The underside shows that the folded under piece is caught in the stitching, which will keep it looking neat and minimise fraying.

Easy huh!

My other favourite seam finish is a French Seam.  This requires a bit more concentration so I recommend not trying this one if you are tired, distracted, or under the weather in any way.

First of all - and the hardest thing for me to do - is sew the first seam WRONG SIDES TOGETHER!  And don't just go in there and sew wrong sides together at the full seam allowance (eg 5/8" or 1.5cm)... noooo, you need to sew wrong sides together at HALF the seam allowance (eg 5/16" or 75mm from the edge)... see, you have to keep your wits about you with this one!

Then cut close to the stitching, but not too close!

Then iron the seam to one side.  Fold the fabric so the fabric is right sides together and iron again.

Then stitch the other half of the seam allowance (eg 5/16" or 75mm from the edge) and this is what the inside of your garment will look like:

This one is really good for fabrics that fray like no-one elses business, as the raw edge is full encased, and it also looks super neat for sheer fabrics.  However, you can't do it on curves.  Mind you, you can't do the first one on curves either...

The best thing to do with curved seams is bind the seam with bias.  Now, I could do a how-to on this one, but The Haby Goddess has already done an awesome one with great photos (much better than mine), and you can find it here.  Bias binding is also my favourite way finish edges and hems on dresses and skirts.  I love using contrasting bias!  I love it soo much I have put a Simplicity Bias Tape Maker on my Christmas list!!

And now, as promised, a picture of me from my weekend photo shoot!

Have a great weekend!



  1. You make sewing look so easy! I love it! And you look stunning in your new photos!!! xox

  2. lovely pic
    the first seam treatment you showed is one i found in gerte's book - i love it and agree it's super pretty. as for having trouble sewing pieces the wrong way out... i have no trouble doing that roflol ;)
    i just finished my 2nd dress - i'm soooo excited!!!!