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.
Niceness: Perfectly OK
This is a wonderful trick I learned in a millinery class. It’s one of those silly things that someone shows you and you wonder why you never thought of that…. It’s simply the fastest way to tie a knot at the end of your sewing thread. I mean, right at the end, every time, without the knot slipping off the end of the thread.
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 “selvedge” (not “salvage”, which is what I always thought my mother was saying) edge of the fabric is created as the fabric is woven on the loom, as the weft is taken back and forth. It’s a completely finished edge. Wise use of selvedge edges can make your costuming life much easier, but you need to know when you can and can’t use it.
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 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.