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How to Make a Seam Using Different Sewing Techniques

I've acquired craft skills from Pakistan, England & Sweden, including pottery, metal forging/welding, wood sculpturing and resin creations.

 The choice of a suitable seam for joining pieces of fabric may borrow from several different styles, including French, overlocked, plain, and flat-fell seams.

The choice of a suitable seam for joining pieces of fabric may borrow from several different styles, including French, overlocked, plain, and flat-fell seams.

Different Techniques and Styles

When making any soft furnishing, it is necessary to use a number of specific hand and machine sewing techniques to create a durable and neatly finished article. The choice of a suitable seam for joining pieces of fabric may borrow from several different styles, including French, overlocked, plain, and flat-fell seams. Consider the task ahead before selecting the most suitable method for the purpose and appearance of the seam.

Basic Seaming

The plain seam is the most simple and versatile means of joining together two lengths of fabric. Always pin and tack the lengths of fabric together along the seam line before sewing.

Neat corners and curves are achieved by cutting and clipping: at a corner, cut away a triangle of fabric, and along a curve, cut a serrated edge or snip into the seam allowance.

Plain Flat Seam

Pin and tack, then position the fabric under the machine needle and clamp it in place with the presser foot. Secure the thread in the seam by sewing forwards and backward along the seam line for 1 cm several times.

Sew along the seam as required, and finish by stitching back and forth on the seam line again. Remove the tacking stitches and press the seam open. When using a new stitch or type of fabric, sew a short length of test seam on a scrap first to check that the machine settings are correct.


Clipping Corners

At corners, cut across the seam allowance after sewing the seam. Leave about 6 mm between the seam and the cut edge of the fabric, or the seam allowance may fray away when the piece is turned right sides out.

Clip a convex seam into a serrated edge.

Clip a convex seam into a serrated edge.

Clipping Curves

Clip a convex seam into a serrated edge to reduce its bulk and prevent distortion. Snip into the seam allowance of a concave seam to ease the fabric and prevent pulling. Be careful not to cut too close to the seam.


Neatening Raw Edges

The raw edges of pieces of fabric should be finished to prevent them from fraying—this is called neatening. It is particularly important on furnishings that will have to endure hard wear.

You can neaten a raw edge in one of several ways: by oversewing or overclocking it; by sewing zigzag stitch alongside it; by applying bias binding to it; or simply by serrating it with pinking shears.

Probably the easiest and most commonly used neatening technique is zigzag sewing with a machine. Bias binding ensures that no raw edges are available. Overlocking also hides raw edges, but you must allow extra fabric for this. When you reverse the fabric, any and all seams will be visible. It may be worth using a self-neatening seam.

Machine ZigZag

Set the machine to zigzag stitch, and clamp the raw edge under the needle. Secure the thread, stitch along the fabric as close to the edge as possible, and fasten off at the end.


Oversewing By Hand

Make evenly spaced stitches from the back to the front of the fabric, bringing the thread over the raw edge. Do not pull the stitches too tight, or the fabric will pucker.


Bias Binding

Unfold one edge of the binding and align it with the raw edge. Pin, tack, and sew on the binding fold. Fold the binding over the edge, and sew through all the layers.



Make seam allowances 2.5 to 3 cm deep. Trim one to 5 mm after sewing, and fold the wide edge over it, tucking the raw edge under. Pin, and stitch along the fold.



Pinking shears cut a serrated edge. Pinking is a quick and easy way to neaten a raw edge, but it is not hard-wearing, and is, therefore, best used only on internal seams.


French Seam

This is a strong, self-neatening seam, which does not show any additional stitching line from the right side of the fabric. It can, however, only be used on straight edges.

You must allow 1.5 cm for the seam allowances when sewing a French beam. It is an ideal seam to use if both sides of the fabric will be visible; for example, when sewing sheer fabric.

1. First Seam: Pin and tack the pieces of fabric wrong sides together. Machine sew a plain seam 5 mm from the edge. Take the fabric from the machine and remove the tacking stitches.


2. Trimming Seams: Carefully trim both of the seam allowances to 3 mm with a pair of sharp scissors. Turn the pieces of fabric right sides together, fold along the seam line, and press.


3. Second Seam: Tack the layers of fabric right sides together close to the folded edge. Sew a second seam 1 cm from the first (which is now the folded edge), enclosing the raw edges.


4. Finished Seam: Remove the tacking stitches and unfold the fabric right side up. The neat seam will be visible with no stitching evident. Press the seam allowance flat to one side of the seam.


Flat Fell Seam

The flat fell seam is extremely useful where both strength and a flat finish are required, which is often the case with upholstery. The stitching will, however, be visible on the right side of the fabric with this seam.

1. Sewing Seam: Sew the pieces of fabric right sides together, 1.5 cm from the aligned edges. Trim one allowance to 5 mm.


2. Folding Seam: Fold the wide allowance over the narrow one. Lay both to one side, the raw edge underneath, and tack.


3. Second Seam: Sew along the tacking from the right side and press the seam flat. One row of stitches will show.



This is a sample technique, which can be used to emphasize a line such as a seam. A thick, contrasting thread or a long stitch can be used to give more emphasis.

Pin, tack and sew a plain seam, remove the tacking stitches, and press the seam open. Run a line of stitching along either side of the seam from the right side.



Quilting not only provides extra thickness of insulation, but it also gives a decorative finish. Wadding can simply be stitched between the layers of fabric, as seen here, and the edges bound.

Alternatively, you can tack the wadding to the wrong side of one piece and put the pieces' right sides together. Seam on three sides, turn right sides out, and slipstitch the fourth edge.

1. Marking Pattern: Decide on the pattern. Diagonals are simple and prominent, but you might quilt around designs on a fabric. Mark the quilting lines on the fabric with a suitable marker.


2. Assembling Layers: Cut the wadding, the backing fabric, and the main fabric to the same size, and sandwich the wadding between the layers of fabric. Pin and tack the layers together.


3. Sewing Quilting: Run lines of tacking across the fabric to hold the wadding firmly in place. Sew along the quilting lines. Remove tacking and trim wadding out of seam allowance. Bind the edges.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Temoor Dar