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Looking Good From The Inside Out: A Seam Finishes Re-cap

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"Give us the tools and we will finish the job." Winston Churchill. One of the signs of a truly well-made project is that it looks nearly as good on the inside as it does on the outside. Finishing a project's inside raw edges will not only elevate the final appearance, it will also elevate your sewing skills to a new level. In general, the purpose of any seam finish is to prevent fray-prone fabrics from raveling beyond the seam, leaving a hole in your sewn project. It also helps to reduce bulk on certain fabrics, like fleece. And, finishing stitches always provide added strength to a seam and the fabric edge. However, it's often just about the look, and most professionals recommend you even finish fabrics that don’t appear to require it.

If you're a power sewer, you may turn to a serger to handle a lot of your seam finishing, but there are many available solutions using just your trusty sewing machine. That's what we have collected for you today.

Since we started with a quote about finishing, I'll end that way as well. With words of wisdom from Dave Barry:

"My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished two bags of M&Ms and a chocolate cake. I feel better already!"

We have four tutorials covering a wide range of finishing options. You can use the handy links below to click through to each and every one. 

Part 1 of 4: Most Popular, which covers straight stitch options, zig zag and overcasting, plus reviews some of the specialty presser feet that can be used.

Part 2 of 4: French Seams, a pretty option and ideal for sheer and/or delicate fabrics.

Part 3 of 4: Mock French & French Wrapped, these come to us by way of fine couture and heirloom sewing, but have a variety of flexible uses.

Part 4 of 4: Hong Kong & Bound Seams, learn two advanced techniques for wrapping a seam allowance's raw edges with a bias cut strip of lightweight fabric.


If you'd like to continue to build your knowledge about other seam finishes check out the following Sew4Home tutorials:

Flat Felled Seams

Understanding Understitching

Introduction to sergers

Sewing with Sheers

Simple Hem

Blind Hem

Rolled Hem

Corner Hem


Comments (8)

kewilly said:
kewilly's picture

Your sewing is always so beautiful what sewing machine did you use in this tutorial?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

kewilly - thank you for the compliment. We do our sewing on Janome machines; and they are the exclusive sewing machine sponsor here at S4H. One of the reasons we use them is the beautiful quality of the stitching. From the top-of-the-line model to the entry level models, the stitches are always precise. For this particular article, we used one of our older machines, the Memory Craft 11000 Special Edition. The current top-of-the-line is the Memory Craft 15000, which comes out next month. It is amazing! But if you're looking for a new machine, check our all the options at your local Janome dealer. You'll love them. 

Dawna said:
Dawna's picture

I love all the ideas and tutorials too. They are well written. I have been sewing for 40 years and I can still learn new things. When this fresh new crop of sewers I am learning some tricks. Thank you.

Jane Coombs said:
Jane Coombs's picture

Is there a comparable cheat sheet for a serger?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Jane Coombs - we don't really do much with sergers. You could probably search online and find something.

Barb said:
Barb 's picture

I don't know what's up with the first 4 Comments above, but I would like to say "Thank You" a million times over for this site.  I have learned so much from reading Sew4Home.  It is a constant source of inspiration, creativity and information.

thank you so much for sharing all of this with your readers.

Carlyn said:
Carlyn's picture

I really appreciate ALL of your tutorials as they have been extremely helpful to me... and other than a15 year break, I've been a seamstress since I was 16.  Your tutorials are well documented in word and photo. Thank you

PS I always repost my favs to my Pinterest board and I also download the PDF for quick access. 

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