Category Archives: Sewing

5 Seam Finishes Every New Sewer Should Know

When I first started sewing garments it didn’t occur to me that I needed to do anything to the inside of my seams to keep them from fraying or to finish them nicely and neatly.  As long as it fitted (more or less) and it was tidy enough on the outside I was thrilled, proud of my clever sewing and a more than a bit chuffed with myself.

An unfinished, unpressed seam. Look at it, flapping about and fraying without so much as a by-your-leave. We can tame that. I’ll show you how.

The more I sewed, the more my skills developed, and my standards changed.  Now I find myself to be quite a fussy sewer and I would never dream of leaving my seams unfinished.

Well, practically never.  If the seams are enclosed within a lining and will never be exposed it isn’t always necessary to finish them (unless it’s to keep a very fray-prone fabric from unraveling out of sight and eventually undoing your seams.)


There are a few things I would urge a new sewer to pay special care to, and finishing your seams properly is definitely one of them.  It will make your work look neat and professional both inside and out, and will, depending on the method you choose, reinforce and strengthen your seams.

The 5 seam finishes that I believe every new sewer should be aware of are set out below.  With the exception of the Overlocked Seam which requires an overlocker, they are easy techniques which will immediately lift your sewing and make your finished garments look so much more impressive.

  1. Zigzag stitch
  2. Pinked Seam
  3. Bias Binding
  4. French Seams
  5. Overlocked Seams

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Why do girls and boys clothes button differently?

As I was drafting a recent pattern (the shirt dress pattern which is about to be put through its paces by my wonderful team of testers), I found myself hesitating over which way the buttons should go – EVERY TIME I sewed a new sample.

I have obviously been buttoning myself up successfully for *cough* many years, but still, I can never remember which way they go when it comes to putting in button holes.  And Googling isn’t always immediately helpful – “ladies clothing has buttons on the left side” it tells me – great, but what does that mean? Whose left?  The wearers’ left or the viewers’ left?

So I get confused.  And I have to do an image search or inspect the buttoned garments in my wardrobe.

"Left is the hand that is Left when I Write"

“Left is the hand that is Left when I Write”

The thing is, whenever I put on men’s clothing (I used to buy army surplus trousers and jackets in my grungy youth)  it’s immediately obvious that they button the wrong way.  So you might think that I should know instinctively on which side I should put the buttons.  But I don’t.

Left-Right Confusion

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Paper or pdf patterns?

Are you an analogue or a digital kind of a sewer?  How will you decide between the convenience of a downloadable pdf pattern or the solidity of a paper pattern?

The benefits of digital patterns are obvious – you can purchase a pattern and receive it almost immediately.  You don’t have to pay for or wait for postage, you can print the pattern from home and start making straight away, and you can print it again and again and again, in different sizes, you can make sizing alterations without tracing, and you can keep it safely on your computer.

All of your beloved and precious paper patterns could fit onto this iddy-biddy little USB stick.

All of your beloved and precious paper patterns could fit onto this iddy-biddy little USB stick.

But how much do you really enjoy taping multiple sheets of A4 together?  Unless you have a home plotter or are willing to take your pattern to the local print shop (which negates the immediacy of the digital pattern, as well as the cost saving of not having to pay for postage), printing, trimming and taping sheet after sheet of A4 is what you will be doing.  As a crafty type you might well enjoy this, or you might find it frustrating  when you just want to get to the good bits.


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