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Forum > Beginner's Forum > Easing a seam- what does that mean ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Easing a seam- what does that mean
North Carolina USA
Member since 9/23/08
Posts: 51
Skill: Beginner
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Date: 3/25/09 7:01 PM

Hi Ladies.. what does easing a seam mean?

Here are the directions. I dont understand this:

"Ease the Topline Seam of the front panel slightly"

Thanks so much!

Illinois USA
Member since 3/23/09
Posts: 87
Skill: Beginner
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Date: 3/25/09 7:13 PM

I've been wondering the same thing, thanks for asking!! The books I have were not very detailed.
-- Edited on 3/25/09 7:14 PM --

Member since 1/23/09
Posts: 25
Skill: Expert/Couture
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Date: 3/25/09 8:30 PM

It means that when you hae two pieces of fabric that are joined at a seam, one is longer than the other. You need to gather the longer one down so it fits to the short one or stretch the shorter one to match to the longer one. It's usually for giving some curve and room to a garment piece, like in a sleeve or such.

To ease a lnger piece to a shorter, you can either use gathering stitches or pins or both. I saw a post about it here
Easing a slleeve

California USA
Member since 9/18/04
Posts: 1957
Skill: Intermediate
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Date: 3/25/09 8:52 PM

Sometimes you will be instructed to ease a straight seam. Again, one seam line is longer than the other.

Because of alterations I make, I usually end up easing the back should seam into the front shoulder seam in a bodice or top. The back shoulder seam isn't actually gathered, but the back seam line is "crowded" into the front seam line.

I usually run a line of stitches (maybe 3.0 or 3.5 stitch length) right on the back shoulder seam line, then pull the bobbin thread until the seam line is shortened to the length of the front shoulder seam line, then sew the seam. The easing isn't particularly obvious in the finshed seam.


Georgia USA
Member since 7/20/08
Posts: 3731
Skill: Intermediate
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In reply to CM_Sews

Date: 3/25/09 8:59 PM

I ease by putting the longer length on the bottom (so that layer touches the feed dogs) and then I put my fingers behind the presser foot (behind not under ha ha!!) When I start sewing, I try to keep the fabric from coming out behind the presser foot. It does come out of course but the bottom layer feeds in slightly faster than the top layer. The layers were pinned together first and it usually turns out perfectly.

If it doesn't, I rip the seam and try one of the other methods already mentioned.

You want to make sure that you don't have tucks or tiny pleats in the seam (you'll see them from the side of the longer layer if they exist.)

Natural fiber fabrics ease much more easily than synthetics by the way.

I'm not really "up" on sewing so if there is a better way, someone please say so. I do this though and it works very well for me.


minggiddylooloo  Friend of PR
Member since 5/17/05
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Date: 3/25/09 9:07 PM

I was taught that if the two pieces are slightly different in length from each other, always put the longer piece on the bottom. This way the feed dogs will automatically ease the difference in for you as the pieces get sewn up.

Also, for set in sleeves, pinning the pieces together and stretching the sleeve piece slightly as you pin also helps with easing it in.

I had two teachers in my sewing classes that had different sewing backgrounds: one worked in industry where they hardly pinned anything, and the other a custom seamstress who pinned A LOT. Personally I'm a slow sewer with a penchant for perfection, so I might over pin things... but usually the results are worth the pain.

I'm finally a blogger!

ryan's mom
ryan's mom  Friend of PR
Member since 11/30/04
Posts: 5230
Skill: Advanced
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Date: 3/26/09 6:38 AM

There are different ways to ease. Easing is not the same as gathering.

I primarily ease 3 ways:

1. Pin Ease. With the longer layer on top, I pin the longer, upper fabric to the shorter, lower fabric piece starting with two pins at each end. Then I place one pin in the middle with the excess fabric on the top layer distributed evenly on both sides of the center pin. I continue pinning both sides, evenly distributing the excess to both sides of additional pins until the pins have "taken up" the excess. Stitchy your seam.

2. Run an easeline (really just a line of straight stitching) of about 4.0 or 4.5 length along the seamline of the longer layer. Pull the bobbin thread until the longer layer is the same length as the shorter layer, pin both layers together, then stitch.

3. Use both methods together.

4. Other ways.

Sometimes I'll baste the two layers together before permanently stitching, but not usually. Always sew with the longer layer on the bottom, the layer to be eased. Yes, your pins will be against the feed dog if you pin ease, so sew slowly and carefully, removing pins if they give you problems.

I'm finding the recommendation now with new machines is to never sew over pins, but that's not how I learned. I was told just as long as the pins are perpendicular to the seamline, sew over them slowly. And yeah, be prepared with extra needles in case your needle breaks from a pin.

Those are the primary methods I use to ease. There are others depending on what I'm doing.

Easing is simply taking up the excess without puckers.

-- Edited on 3/26/09 6:43 AM --

Big 4 Pattern size 12, RTW bottom: 6, RTW jacket 8, RTW top (no size fits me well!)
Measurements: 34 HB/36 FB (34C bra)/27.5/36 (and working hard to keep it that way.)
Machines: Sewing: Elna 760, vintage Kenmore Model 33 (1967), Janome Gem Gold 3, Singer Model 99, Singer 221/Featherweight. Sergers: Babylock Imagine and Babylock Enlighten. Embroidery Only: Janome 300E. Embroidery/Sewing Combo: Brother Dream machine. Coverstitch: Babylock BLCS. Straight Stitch: Janome 1600P.

If you think your sewing is better than everyone else's around here, get out of my way b****. I hate sewing snobs.

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Mom to 5
Mom to 5
Maryland USA
Member since 2/5/09
Posts: 1029
Skill: Beginner
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Date: 3/26/09 7:48 AM

edit cuz I cant link properly
-- Edited on 3/29/09 1:35 PM --


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