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Finishing a Seam Allowance by Hand

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.

Here’s how you do it:

cutting down the seam allowance
Cut down the seam allowance to 1/8".
beginning the finish
With each stitch, you will catch 1 thread from the body of the fabric 1/8" from the seam, then pass the needle through the seam allowance just above the seam. This overcasts the seam allowance and secures it to the fabric.
continuing the finish
Continue sewing in this manner, catching a single thread of the main fabric each time.
the finished seam
When you're finished, the seam is completely encased in thread and bound down. You can see the difference on the right, where the edge is bound, from the unfinished left side.
outside view of the seam
If you've been careful to catch only a thread at a time from the main fabric and not over-pulled your stitches, the finish is pretty invisible from the outside of the garment.

One Comment

  1. sewer
    sewer January 30, 2011

    Thanks, I’m going to try this. I was looking for an alternative to the hand overcast stitch to finish a seam by hand. The time I tried the overcast stitch it didn’t look as nice as it should have for all the time I spent on it. Admittedly, the hand overcast takes a long time to master.

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