Sometimes, you have to finish a seam allowance so it won’t fray. (Or, possibly, you’re like me and compulsively finish seams, whether they need it or not.) There are times when you can’t use a french seam, or you are working in an area too tight for a felled seam, and you want something nicer than an overcast edge. This method of finishing a seam allowance by hand will prevent them from fraying, and lightly reinforce the seam.
Best For: Unlined Garments
This is a really nice looking edge finish. It’s decorative and fully sealed. It shows up all throughout the ages – sixteenth century ruffs, smocks and chemises of all eras, even on modern blankets (of all things). It’s also a great utility stitch – milliners use it to whip wire down to buckram hat brims.
Yes, I said perfect. I’ve made a lot of turned hems over the years. The official Right Way To Do It(tm) involves ironing. While that’s a great habit in sewing, it takes time and it’s a little risky when you have two cats in the room. I forget where I stumbled upon this technique, but it works like a charm even for those of us who suffer from advanced iron-itis.
The machine rolled hem is, of course, completely not period before the advent of sewing machines and special task machine feet. But it’s neat, it’s quick once you get the hang of it, and it’s a fantastic way to finish simple linens.
The French Seam is my favorite seam of all time. It’s fully encased and leaves no visible stitching on the right side of the garment. Any time I have to make an unlined garment, you can bet I’m using french seams (or some variant thereof).
The Fake Flat Fell Seam makes a fully finished seam that is identical on both the front and back sides. This is useful for transparent fabrics or applications where both the front and back are visible. So far as I know, it’s not a real seam, but the result of my inability to follow simple directions for a proper flat fell.