Monthly Archives: October 2015

For the Beginner #4: some seam finishes and darts

Here is another post for beginners: #4, a few more seam finishes and darts with a single end and double ended.

There are several ways to finish a seam, depending on your fabric, the level of quality you want the garment (or other item) to have, and how much the fabric cost or how much you’re charging (if you’re making it for someone else).  I already showed you how to sew a plain seam that is unfinished and a French seam, as well as how to bias bind a seam.  (You might also wish to see Some Tips and Sewing Tips 2.)  What you’ll see most commonly is a seam that has the edges of the seam allowance overlocked (the proper term for serged).  If you don’t have an overlock machine, you can use a lockstitch machine to zigzag the edge or clean finish the edge.  First sew a plain seam then finish the edges of the seam allowance.

Top: overlocked seam (you don't have to press the seam open--you can press it to one side or the other).  Bottom left, zigzagged seam.  Bottom right: clean finish seam.

Top: overlocked seam (you don’t have to press the seam open–you can press it to one side or the other). Bottom left, zigzagged seam. Bottom right: clean finish seam.

 

The overlocked seam.  Simply run the edge of the seam allowance through the machine.

The overlocked seam. Simply run the edge of the seam allowance through the machine.

 

To zigzag the edge, simply set your machine to the zigzag stitch and run the edge through the machine.  To make the clean finish edge, fold the edge of the seam allowance under and stitch with the running/straight stitch.

To zigzag the edge, simply set your machine to the zigzag stitch and run the edge through the machine. To make the clean finish edge, fold the edge of the seam allowance under and stitch with the running/straight stitch.

 

What the under side of the clean finish seam allowance looks like.

What the under side of the clean finish seam allowance looks like.

 

One of the ways that garments are fitted to the body is with darts.  For a single-ended dart, you straight stitch starting at the wide end of the dart and go toward the point.  Chain off–sew off the edge of the fabric without back stitching (stitching while holding the reverse button), leaving a tail around 2″ long.  For a double-ended dart, you can start at the wide part and go to the ends in 2 steps, or you can sew it in one step.

Most of the time, I first mark my darts with tracing paper and a tracing wheel, like on the right, but sometimes in a production environment, you'll see the dart marked with 2 notches at the edge of the fabric and a hole punched below.  In this case, you stitch to 1/4" past the hole.

Most of the time, I first mark my darts with tracing paper and a tracing wheel, like on the right, but sometimes in a production environment, you’ll see the dart marked with 2 notches at the edge of the fabric and a hole punched below. In this case, you stitch to 1/4″ past the hole.

 

Fold the fabric in half and stitch from the wide end to the point and chain off.

Fold the fabric in half and stitch from the wide end to the point and chain off.

 

The darts from the wrong side, stitched and pressed.  With a real dart (as opposed to this sample), a bit of fabric is at the top of the dart to line it up with the rest of the fabric edge when it's stitched.

The darts from the wrong side, stitched and pressed. With a real dart (as opposed to this sample), a bit of fabric is at the top of the dart to line it up with the rest of the fabric edge when it’s stitched.

 

The single-ended darts from the right side.  I used this striped fabric so you can see how the grain changes.  Make sure you fold your fabric so you have right sides together.

The single-ended darts from the right side. I used this striped fabric so you can see how the grain changes. Make sure you fold your fabric so you have right sides together.

 

A double-ended dart, which would be on a garment like a shirt or a dress that has no waistline seams.  The single-ended darts are usually seen at the waistlines of skirts and pants.

A double-ended dart, which would be on a garment like a shirt or a dress that has no waistline seams. The single-ended darts are usually seen at the waistlines of skirts and pants.

 

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The double-ended dart is stitched, above.

I cut the dart intake through the center so it will lie more flatly when pressed.

I cut the dart intake through the center so it will lie more flatly when pressed.

 

The double-ended dart from the right side.  Note change in the grain lines.

The double-ended dart from the right side. Note change in the grain lines.

 

Here, the change in the grain lines is more dramatic.

Here, the change in the grain lines is more dramatic.

 

As always, let me know if you have any comments or suggestions or need any clarification.

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Filed under Beginner, Parts