Sewing Seams

A plain seam is the most usual way of joining one piece of fabric to another. It may be machine-stitched or back-stitched by hand.

The edges of the fabric should then be neatened to prevent fraying. There are various neatening methods for different fabrics and garments. Decide the finishing method before beginning the seam, as this may affect its construction.

1 Level together the edges of the fabric to be joined with right sides facing unless otherwise directed. Pin at the ends, at the centre, at any notches and then at 5 cm (2

inch) intervals in between. Tack along the stitching line.

2 If machine stitching, place fabric under the presser foot with the edges to the right, and lower the needle onto the stitching line about 15 mm (½ inch) from the back edge. Reverse stitch to edge and then stitch forward to opposite edge close to the side of the tacking. Reverse stitch for 15mm (½ inch) and cut threads.

If hand stitching, work along the tacking in back stitch, keeping the stitches even in size and tension.

3 Press the seam flat, as stitched. Then bring the fabric under it and open out the turnings; press again. Leave like this or close the turnings and press to one side, according to finishing method.

Joining straight fabric to a curved edge Prepare straight edge by stay stitching outside seam. Clip the edge, up to the stitching, at 2 cm (¾ inch) intervals. Pin the straight strip to the Curve, allowing the clips to open out on outward curves or to overlap on inward curves. Machine stitch.

Joining straight fabric to an angle

Measure the edge of the angled piece along the seam-line. Mark the same measurement on the straight strip.

Stay stitch the seamline for 2.5 cm (1 inch) on either side of the mark and then clip to the mark from the edge.

Pin the straight strip to the angled piece, allowing the clip to open as it turns the corner.

Stitch the first edge of the seam as far as the mark, leave the machine needle down and turn the work to stitch the second side.

Joining a concave edge to a convex edge Stay stitch seam lines and clip the concave edge. Stitch the seam and press open.