Seam is the stitching line or pattern where two fabrics are sewn together. It is the building block of garment manufacturing. Any garment or clothing is composed of thousands of seams but a single bad quality seam can be crucial to the overall quality of the garment. This is why garment manufacturers are very conscious of the seam line of their products particularly seam allowance (SA) and patterns. Here is an a guide on how to sew common types of seams.
Sewing Different Types of Seams
1. Regular Seam
Also known as plain seam or traditional seam but referred to as single needle butterfly stitch by professional fashion manufacturers. Plain seams are done through straight stitches and sometimes through zigzag patterns most especially for knit and stretchable fabrics. The main advantage of a regular seam is its simplicity never adds bulk to the seam line but its single stitch line also makes it not very durable.
- Keep two fabrics side by side with a possible stitching line aligned.
- Stitch along the seam line you have set.
- Start stitching and do a back stitch to strengthen. Do not forget to do a back stitch and a forward stitch at the end to seal the seam.
- Heat press the seam open.
2. Regular Seam w/ Single Stitch
Much like a single needle butterfly stitch except there is a single overcast stitch for strength.
- Simply do the regular seam and after pressing the seam allowances, do a top stitching on the end to seal.
3. Regular Seam w/ Double Top Stitch
This seam is often used as a decorative seam. The double top stitch does not only provide seam strength but also gives plus for aesthetics.
- Do the regular seam but after pressing, do a top stitch on both sides at equal distances.
4. Hairline Seam
This is an enclosed seam popularly used for collars and enclosed areas. Hairline seam allowances are not visible from the outside as they are enclosed making it popular among white label clothing products.
- Do a plain seam with a very tight straight distance and the fabrics side by side.
- Trim away from the stitching line before pressing the seam.
- Pull the right side out.
- Do a top stitch to seal the seam.
5. Tucked Seam
This type of seam is often used for heavy fabrics such as leather, suede, felt etc.
- Choose which fabric will be on top of the tucked application.
- Turn under the seam allowance of the chosen fabric and press.
- Keep the tucked fabric on top of the other along the seam line and make sure it is aligned.
- Pin both fabrics to keep in place then edge stitch along the folded area.
- Press further to eliminate the bulk.
6. French Seam
Commonly used for sheer fabric by garment manufacturers, this seam tucks the raw edges so they cannot be seen from the outside without adding bulk. It is ideal for straight edges but can also be applied to curved edges as long as you tuck it the right way.
- Instead of starting with the right sides of the fabric, you have to do the opposite in order to match the stitching line.
- Provide a ½ inch allowance on the right side of the fabric for seam allowance then mark a line halfway through the wrong side which is most likely ¼ inch from the stitching line.
- Stitch from this ¼ inch seam line.
- Trim until desired seam line is achieved.
- Fold the fabric by the seam line to keep the right sides together and then press.
- Stitch again on the ½ inch seam line and press from each sides to secure the raw edges.
There are a lot more types of stitching which can be used by clothing manufacturers out there but we’ll cover the following for now. Stay tuned for more complex types of stitching we’ll cover in future blog posts which can be useful for your clothing line and new product development.