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How to Sew a Seam

Sew a Seam

You're surrounded by seams every day. From your clothing to your throw pillows, they're everywhere. In fact, they're so prevalent you might think there is something mildly mystical about them. Seams are strong and hold many garments, backpacks and furniture items, but in fact they are fairly simple and easy to create. The trick is to take your time and work slowly so you get the perfect seam the first time around.


Creating seams by hand

If you're working by hand, it might take a little longer to get your seam finished, but you can still produce something that is beautiful and strong. Place your fabric with the right sides together and begin stitching close to the edge. Always remember to knot the end of your thread so it doesn’t pull through the fabric. A running backstitch is the sturdiest straight stitch for your seam. Unlike a regular running stitch, which runs forward with every stitch, you go a little bit backwards so that there are no gapes between stitches. Take one stitch forward, and then go a half stitch back for a full stitch. This way, every stitch is reinforced just as if you had done it on the machine. Keep your stitches nice and small so that they are not prone to breaking or slipping out. If you have a fabric that is likely to fray or slip, then you may want to put some long basting stitches in the edge before you start on your seam stitch, just to keep everything in place. Once you're done with your seam, you can easily pull the basting stitches out.


Sewing machine seams

You can sew seams a lot more quickly on the machine, which is great if you have a lot of projects or a lot of yardage to work with. For example, many quilters love the speed of a machine for attaching all those tiny pieces together quickly and accurately. Machines give you nice, even stitches and help you sew in perfectly straight lines when you need to. If you have slippery fabrics, you can still machine baste the edges. You can also throw a zigzag stitch onto the edge of fabric that might fray before you sew your seam so that you won’t lose any yardage to delicate fabric mishaps. A serger or overlock machine is a great way to get seams done super fast. Remember that your serger will cut off any extra yardage as you sew, so take your time and get it done right the first time. Also watch out for bunched or folded fabric that might get caught under the blade when you aren't working. Sergers make very sturdy steams that can stand the test of time.


Basic seams are easy and simple to sew; one running stitch along the seam line is all you need to complete the task. If you want to reinforce your seam, you can always press the fabric and sew another straight stitch for a double-stitched seam. On denim garments like jeans, you may even want to roll your seam into a flat-felled seam, a more advanced and durable type of seam. No matter what type of seam you choose to use, you will need the tools to get the job done.

Sew a Seam

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