Neat Seams Are Sweet Seams

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Last week was class #4, and class meets five times. So we only have one more meeting! I’m already a bit sad for my class to end…but right now, it’s not over yet.

I’d planned for the day to be a sewing day, and had a loose plan to demo seam finishes. I’d planned to make a bunch of samples and bring them to class, but I must admit – my schedule is starting to get to me. I work two part time jobs totalling 45+ hours a week, not including travel time between them, plus this weekly class. Including my teaching night, I now work three doubles in a row each week. That’s three days in a row where I work from 830am until 9 or 930pm. It’s only thirteen hours, but it feels like forever!

Anyway, because of my crazy schedule, I did not have the samples made up in advance – but I did show the class several ways to finish seam allowances using student scraps and sewing machine. My teaching takeaway from this? Prepare all of my planned samples and handouts before the class even runs, and then I’ll have time during the teaching phase to make impromptu handouts and samples. I suppose another takeaway is to work less, but when you don’t finish college your options are either marry rich or work your tail off. If only I could do age 19 all over again…

But you know what I can do again? Those seam finish samples! Here they are below, in case you were looking for ways to neaten your seams that don’t involve purchasing or using a serger. Finishing seam allowances on the sewing machine is one of my passions! I believe everyone should know how to do this. And for all that serged seams are touted as ‘professional’ and ‘neat’ – I defy anyone to turn up their nose at the beauty of a flat felled or bound seam, or deny the clean simplicity of pinking. <3

pinked:

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stitched and pinked:

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turned and stitched:

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zigzagged:

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topstitched:

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enclosed:

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flat felled:

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simple bound:

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There are also bias bound and Hong Kong finishes, rolled finishes (by machine or hand), and more! The end result of all of them is that seams don’t fray or lose integrity through wearing and washing. Some seams are flatter, faster, or simpler than others, but they all work well. I can vouch personally for all of the seam finishes presented in these samples, as I’ve used them all many times. Why? Because when I learned to sew, taking the time to finish my seams in creative ways was the true mark of a garment made with love, and an easy way to express my love for myself. What could be more body positive?

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3 Comments

  1. Well, mostly self taught. I grew up watching my mother sew but except for showing me how to sew on a button when I was 7 there was never any, “Okay, this is how you do this,” kind of teaching; it was just me watching. My great aunt, my grandmother’s little sister, showed me how to thread the treadle machine and the rest I just started doing on my own. It all just seemed natural to me. And of course I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way. I guess you could say I’m still teaching myself even after more than 40 years of sewing.

    I didn’t get an electric machine until about 3 or 4 years ago but now it’s having issues so I’m back to sewing exclusively on the treadle. I keep thinking I will get out the new machine and tinker with and see if I can make it sew again but I rarely miss it.

    I’ll post a picture of the treadle machine sometime. I thought I already had but I can’t find it.

  2. I usually pink my seams. Occasionally I zig zag and I have done French seams a couple of times but those only work well with lightweight fabric. I do most of my sewing on a 100 year old treadle machine. I inherited it from my grandmother when I was 18 and taught myself to sew on it. When I got it there was a pair of pinking shears in the drawer. They wouldn’t cut at all anymore so I went out and bought myself a new pair and that’s what I’ve used ever since.

    1. Hi Lynn! I didn’t realize you’re also self-taught – very cool. :) When you say treadle machine, does that mean you’re actually powering the machine with your feet? Also extremely cool! I would love to use a machine like that one day.

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