Woven fabrics ravel, or unweave, on cut edges. The extent of
this raveling varies depending on the nature of the fabric and
the grain of the cut edge. Because woven fabrics have this
property, some kind of seam finish is necessary to provide added
durability and increase the wearer's comfort.
Those seam finishes that do not reduce the dimension of the seam allowance can be applied before the garment pieces are stitched together. This is much quicker and easier. Those seam finishes that do reduce the dimension of the seam allowance must be applied after the garment pieces are sewn together. Characteristics of a given seam finish should be considered before choosing any one or a combination of them when planning the construction of a garment. For instance those that add bulk to the seam edges are not suitable for light weight fabrics.
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