How to Get a Professional Finish [Seam Allowances]

Jan 22, 2019

Last week we talked about how to get a professional finish on your handmade garments and I introduced you to some fashion industry techniques that you can use at home to help you achieve a high-end ready to wear look.

This week we’re diving a little bit deeper and I’m going to show you how varying your seam allowances can elevate your sewing. 

If you’ve been sewing with commercial patterns for any length of time, you’ll know that the seam allowances are generally a standard 5/8” (1.5 cm) on every pattern piece. This seam allowance definitely has its advantages and can even be a saving grace in many cases. It allows you some leeway for making fitting changes after a garment is cut, is suitable for a wide range of fabrics, and can accommodate several different kinds of seam finishes. This is smart considering pattern companies have very little to do with the type of fabric and seam finishes a sewist might choose to use on their project.

But this seam allowance, in some cases, can add to your sewing time and cause some undesirable effects. If you’re new to sewing, you might find it difficult to stitch in a straight line, which may result in a wavy looking seam. The wider seam allowance often requires trimming and clipping which adds to the sewing time and can affect the outward appearance. These are just a couple of the sewing techniques used in home sewing that can make your garments look homemade.

Watch the video to see examples of some different seam allowances and learn when to use them. You'll also see a close up view of the In-House Patterns New York Mini and I'll show you what seam allowances were used and why they help to create that professional finish you'll love.

Next week, we’ll continue our conversation and talk about what’s referred to in the industry as the “order of operations” and give you some tips on how prepping you garment pieces before you sit down to sew can save you loads of sewing time and help you achieve the professional finish you’re looking for.

 So tell me, do you think you’ll try applying varying seam allowances on your next project? Drop your comments and questions below.

All My Best,


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