Seams and seam finishes

The most basic method used in nearly every sewing project.
These are methods for woven fabrics.

Hand sewn seam – video from Bernadette Banner.
Until about a century ago, all clothes were made this way, and couture ones still are (celebrate that modern sewists have the time to do this to high quality).

All the following links are to written tutorials with photos.

Machine sewn seam :
Sewing an open (plain) seam
Pressing an open seam

Seam finishes :
These posts include both ‘open’ and ‘enclosed’ seam finishes :
Grainline Studio.
Five seam finishing techniques (Sew Essential)

And here are some individual tutorials.

Plain seam finishes :
Getting a better zigzag seam finish
Examples of serged seam finishes from sdBev
Hong Kong and bias bound seams, photo tutorial from Closet Case patterns.

Enclosed or ‘self-finished’ seams :
Flat fell seam without a special folding foot, from Sew Me Something patterns.
Flat fell seam ending in a seam split, from Carolyn.
French seam, curved french seam, mock french seam.
Lapped seams and darts in non-fray fabrics – see half way down this tutorial from The Sewing Workshop.

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Zippers

Well worth developing skills with sewing zippers. They open up the possibility of making more fitted garments in woven fabrics.

Classic centred zipper tutorial from Colette patterns.

Here’s the Closet Case patterns round-up of all their zipper tutorials :
– lapped,
– invisible (old method),
– separating zippers : placket, in a coat, exposed,
– fly zippers : jeans, trousers.

Some individual tutorials :

Invisible zipper :
There’s now a much better method, using a zipper at least 2-3″ longer than the opening, a haemostat or tweezers, and a conventional zipper foot. See this invisible zipper video from Kenneth D. King at Threads magazine.
Here’s a photo tutorial for the same method from Sew Essential.
Stitch down the fold of the zipper.
Invisible zipper, my post on the classic method, best done using an invisible zipper presser foot.

Exposed zipper, 2 types :
Separating zipper
video tutorial from Professor Pincushion

Exposed zipper in letterbox opening
Exposed zipper video from Fashion Sewing Blog TV.
Make the opening width at least 5mm-1/4″ more than the widest part of the zipper pull.

An alternative method is to make the letterbox opening using a facing.
Video demo at Sewing Quarter, scroll to 1hr.24min. to 1.32.
Photo tutorial from Whipstitch on exposed zipper.

Best not to expect perfect results first time. Make many samples and adjust your method until you get a result you are happy with. Perhaps use basting stitches for your first efforts, so it’s easy to reclaim the zipper and try again !
Good Luck with developing skills with these.

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Openings/ Plackets

Placket openings need careful sewing for success, but greatly increase the quality look of your garment.

This post is referred to in several of my recommendations :
Faced slash-slit opening (Sewingplums)

Sleeve opening plackets :
Continuous band sleeve placket
– The secret of success lies in the initial stay-stitching (as well as working slowly and carefully). Don’t sew a sharp-bottomed Vee : sew and Y-cut a blunt bottomed Vee – see my tutorial on sewing a faced slit opening.

‘Tower / steeple / castle / house’ sleeve placket :
2 main methods, using 1 or 2 fabric pieces.
– 1 fabric piece :
shirt placket pdf from Lynn Cook of Australian Stitches.
Photo tutorial from Cutting Line Designs (scroll down for Part 1).
– 2 fabric pieces :
sleeve placket tutorial from shirtmaker Pam Erny.

Neck opening half-plackets :
Polo / hidden placket
– added fabric strip behind main fabric. Sewn the same way as the continuous band sleeve placket.

Henley / tab placket – added fabric strip is visible.
Often sewn the same way as a tower/steeple shirt sleeve placket. So several methods. Here’s a Professor Pincushion video.
If the bottom of the placket tab is inside the garment, that does need a different technique, see half way through photo tutorial from kbenco.

Hmm – some people name henley and polo the other way round. . . such as : Ralph Lauren Polo’s have placket with a visibly separate strip. So learn both techniques and don’t worry about the name !

Exposed zipper half placket – Many exposed zipper neck openings are in a seam.
If you want one ending in the middle of the fabric, make it like half of an exposed zipper pocket, see post on zippers.

Good techniques to add to your skills. Like zippers, well-made plackets make clothes look more ‘professional’.

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