Chapt 9 - Seam Finishes
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Table of Contents ] Chapt 1 - Fabric ] Chapt 2 - Tools and Equipment ] Chapt 3 - The Sewing Machine ] Chapt 4 - Patterns ] Chapt 5 - Pressing ] Chapt 6 - Marking The Fabric ] Chapt 7 - Preparing to Begin ] Chapt 8 - Seams ] [ Chapt 9 - Seam Finishes ] Chapt 10 - Stabilization ] Chapt 11 - Control of Fullness ] Chapt 12 - Finishing Edges ] Chapt 13 - Hand Sewing ] Chapt 14 - Closures ] Chapt 15 - Body Measurements ] Chapt 16 - Ease In Clothing ] Chapt 17 - Pattern Alterations ] Chapt 18 - Finished Dimensions ] Chapt 19 - Common Terms ] Chapt 20 - Common Costume Fabrics ] Index of Sewing Exercises ]

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.

Five seam finishes will be discussed, covering most kinds of fabric. The first three seam finishes outlined can be done on a straight stitch machine so they are usable in almost any situation.

bulletSINGLE EDGE STITCH. This finish is adequate for most closely woven fabrics that don't ravel easily. It is fast, simple to do, and does not produce any additional bulk to the seam edge, nor does it reduce the dimension of the seam allowance.
bulletDOUBLE EDGE STITCH. This finish is adequate for almost any fabric. It is fast and does not add bulk to the seam edge or reduce the dimension of the seam allowance.
bulletCLEAN FINISH. The clean finish is very durable and neat. It is time consuming and does add bulk to the seam edge. The dimension of the seam allowance is also reduced.
bulletZIG ZAG FINISH. This seam finish is the most widely used seam finish in situations where a serger is not available. It is very durable and appropriate for almost any fabric. It does add a little bulk to the seam edge and reduces the dimension of the seam allowance slightly.
bulletSERGED, MARROWED, or OVERLOCKED FINISH. This is the fastest and most durable of all the seam finishes. It must be produced on a serger. The serged seam finish resembles the zig zag finish, but can be accomplished in about half the time. Serged seam finishes do reduce the dimension of the seam allowance.

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.

Seam finishes

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