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Machine Sewn Seam Allowance Finishes: Looking Good from the Inside Out

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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, which would then leave a hole in your sewn project. It also helps reduce bulk on certain fabrics, such as fleece. And, finishing stitches always provide added strength to a seam and the fabric's edge. However, it's often only about the look, and most professionals recommend you finish fabrics that don’t even 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, we'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

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... and so much more.

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.


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