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Forum > Sewing Techniques and Tips > When do *you* finish the seams? ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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When do *you* finish the seams?
before assembling or after?
MasoumaRose
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MasoumaRose
California USA
Member since 3/13/06
Posts: 754
Skill: Advanced Beginner
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Date: 9/1/10 0:35 AM

I'm starting to sew garments from woven fabrics (blouses and trousers), so now I am dealing with finishing seams. My question--when do you finishes the seams so the fabric will not unravel?

Should I finish them after I assemble all the pieces together? or should I finish the fabric edges after I cut out all the pieces? ( i.e. finish the fabric edges that will not be exposed). My seam finishes are either sewing machine overcasting or adding bias tape.

I'm curious to find out what others do.

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Needles Pins Thorns (my sewing blog)
needlespinsthorns.blogspot.com

3HoursPast
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3HoursPast
AUSTRALIA
Member since 12/7/08
Posts: 658
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Date: 9/1/10 6:25 AM

I finish first if it is :

Really ravelly fabric

Children's clothes

Hems of sleeves

Crotch seams (I mark the seam, trim it close, then finish, then sew)

Otherwise I finish after I make the seam. I think it is one of those "sewing style" things rather than a "right or wrong" issue, you'll find which way you prefer to do it.

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http://3hourspast.com- Vintage Style, Sewing, and Ethical Fashion

Vireya
Vireya
Australia
Member since 12/10/05
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Date: 9/1/10 8:53 AM

I usually do it after sewing the seam, except for very ravelly fabric.

dfr2010
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dfr2010  Friend of PR
Florida USA
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In reply to Vireya


Date: 9/1/10 11:28 AM

Quote: Vireya
I usually do it after sewing the seam, except for very ravelly fabric.

I'm another finish-as-I-go type. It just seems (seams lol) easier to do it while I have the seam right there, and I don't like forgetting a seam if I try to go back later. Also, some seams are harder to get at if you don't finish them immediately. Never really tried finishing edges before I start construction - I'm usually pretty eager to get to putting the pieces together.

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I don't really make mistakes ... I create "learning opportunities"! Murphy says: The better you match the thread to the fabric, the more likely you will need to rip some stitches out! I spend more quality time with my seamripper than I like ...
Yes, I DO love fabric!!
Happy owner of a band of Brothers: LX-3125, CS-770, CE5500 PRW, a PE-770 emb ... and now Kenmore 158.18032 and 148.12190
Blogging my "learning opportunites" at http://sewingmissadventure.blogspot.com/

MasoumaRose
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MasoumaRose
California USA
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Date: 9/1/10 5:30 PM

Thank you for the responses!

When I see the seam finishes (I'm thinking seam binding), the results look so elegant, that I had a hard time imagining that they were added towards the end of the sewing process. Obviously, I need to practice and build up my sewing skills. :)

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Needles Pins Thorns (my sewing blog)
needlespinsthorns.blogspot.com

CathrynR
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CathrynR  Friend of PR
New Hampshire USA
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Date: 9/1/10 5:36 PM

If I have not otherwise marked where to sew the seam I will finish seams after because I use the allowance as measure guide and would not want to distort the width. But if I have otherwise marked the seam line (and I would have done this with a ravelly fabric) I would finish the seam allowance first.

JuneHawk
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JuneHawk  Friend of PR
Florida USA
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Date: 9/14/10 4:54 PM

I finish as I go as well.

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http://www.theserialhobbyistgirl.com/

Margasweet

Margasweet  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/14/10 7:40 PM

I finish the seams as or after I sew them-- usually flat-felled, sometimes French, sometimes pressed open then each side pressed under and topstitched (what's this called???). DM insisted that each seam be totally enclosed, and I've found myself making "wearable muslins" with flat-felled seams... silly. Funny how a mother's voice echoes in a person's head! I'm actually working on the idea of NOT finishing seams if it's a quick trial of a pattern.

Marguerite

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2007 fabric in: 7 1/2 yards; sewn: 7 yds +1/2 yd
2008 fabric in, 23 yards; sewn 20 yds; given away 6 yds -3 yd = -2 1/2 yd
2009 fabric in 41 1/4 yds, sewn 29 yds, given away 22 1/2 yds ; totals -10 1/4 = -12 3/4 yd
2010 fabric in 91 1/2 yds, sewn 27 yds, given away 1 1/2 yds; +63 yd = +50 1/4 yd
2011 fabric in: 55 yd.; sewn: 21 yd; given away: 20 yd +14 yd = +64 1/4 yd
2012 fabric in: 60 1/4 yd., sewn 25 1/4 yds, given away 16 yds, thrown away 3 yds scraps; UFOs completed: 7 ; totals +16 yd = +80 1/4 yd
2013 fabric in: 28 yds; sewn 25.7 yds.; given away 5 1/2 yd.s; projects 8, UFOs 4 -3 1/4 yd = +77 yd
2014 fabric in: 40.5 yd; sewn 33 yd; given away 12 1/2 yd; projects 7, UFOs 10; fabric totals this year -5 yds, since 2007 +72 yds

2015 fabric in: 15 yd
2015 fabric sewn: 10 yd.
2015 fabric given away:
2015 projects: 5 (2 gift bags, tablecloth, 2 gauze chemises)
2015 UFOs: 1 (journal cover)
2015 upcycles: 1 (velvet shirt cuffs=zippered bag)
started:

ClaireEmily
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ClaireEmily
Washington USA
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Date: 9/14/10 10:37 PM

I finish as I go except
1) seams with zippers in them, much easier to finish before you put the zipper in
2) if I think I might need to alter the seam for fit, I sew enough seams to try it on, alter if necessary, then finish the seams, them move onto the next step.

=)

------
Claire - Australian in Seattle

iSewQuiltArt
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iSewQuiltArt
AUSTRALIA
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Date: 9/15/10 3:10 AM

It depends...sometimes I finish the raw edges with the overlocker or a three step zig zag before sewing, particuarly fabrics that fray badly by even looking at them.
Other times, I will sew then finish. I like the option of wider seam allowances in some garments to be left in as it allows for alterations in the future to fine tune size changes such as the side seams I might want to let out later, and if I trim the seams then finish that eliminates that option and I cannot let the seams out later if I ever want to.
You can trim off and re-finish any edges if necessary but its hard to add that allowance back on again!

I have seen some really nice edge finishes, the Hong Kong method comes to mind. I've seen people cut silk or fine cottons on the bias, or use bias cut rayon ribbon to do this with. Nicer than bias binding I think with not much more work except sourcing the material and in the case of silk or cotton, the cutting. Easy if you have rotary cutting equipment.

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Quilting up a storm
Bernina Girl, in possession of a small herd...

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