Sunday, December 4, 2011

Flat-felled seaming

Flat-felled seaming is a good finish for a seam where there might be some strain and so where a bit of extra strength is a good thing, such as shoulder seams.  You see it on jeans too... Also where double topstitching a seam allowance down is indicated, such as the armscye seam allowance on a tailored shirt, or the princess seams on a tailored ladies' shirt.  I used flat-felled seaming in the latter way on my little triple-collared sleeveless shirt made last month, and took a few photos to illustrate...
Sew the seam and press the stitching, as normal...
Press the seam allowance to the side that it is to lie permanently...
Carefully snip the underneath seam allowance to just less than half its width, taking care to NOT snip the upper seam allowance...
Fold the upper seam allowance over the lower narrower one, encasing it inside, and press... This is pretty easy to get nice and even if you are sewing a relatively straight seam, such as a shoulder seam.  It takes more careful pressing to get this bit nice and even if you are flat-felling a slightly curved seam, such as a princess or an armscye seam.  If the fabric was not pliable and the edge was very curved I would even consider running a gathering thread along that upper seam allowance to help it fold in and sit flat, but we're talking extreme couture stuff there!  Something for another tutorial... 
Stitch down...
Finished! and doesn't it look nice from both the inside (at left) and the outside? 
It might seem like a bit of extra work, but it is only a leetle bit of extra work, really!  Increasingly, I'm aiming for my clothes to look just as good on the inside.  I think well finished garments are such a joy to wear, to launder and to, well, just to have.
Sounds so dorky, but I do get such a buzz if I feel something is truly the best I could make it...

17 comments:

  1. Hi Carolyn!
    This flat felled seam is intimidating but I should give it another try.
    I´m one of your blog readers and admirer of your beautiful stitches. I hardly ever leave comments because I´m always in a rush, but this tutorial is just on time for me and I wanted to thank you. So... thanks for showing your work here!!
    María

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  2. I have always had trouble with curved flat-felled seams and now I know how to ease it in should I have to do one like that again - a gathering type running stitch! So simple really ...

    I am so jealous of how much sewing you get done! Sometimes I'm just about to leave a comment admiring something you've made and you've already updated with something else new and amazing so I'm just going to a bit of a "catch up comments" comment here.

    Ages ago you made a jacket with a fur hood that was simply awesome. I had seen that pattern in Burda and put in on my never ending "must make list".

    That pattern magic crisscrossed front shirt you made a while back, well a NZ designer called "World" has made it into an amazing gold lame party dress. They've called it "the kriss cross" dress but the design is unmistakeable (and unfortunately hidden here behind her necklace and gloves but underneath is that pattern, you have to trust me on that. Anyway I thought it was an interesting interpretation of how to use that design.

    http://www.worldbrand.co.nz/spring-summer-2011-2012/womens#item-67

    After I read about how you nearly lost your blog I could certainly understand you'd have some anxious moments - since you obviously give it a lot of effort it would be devastating to lose it all....

    I've seen a few blogs come down with bugs recently so I suppose it's something everyone with a blog has to think about at some point.

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  3. Thank you for this tutorial, I have never tried it before but am going to give it a go on the dress I'm just about to start.

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  4. Ooh, that's what I should've done! Well I'll know for next time.

    I have a question, when you stitch for the second time, are you stitching over the existing stitches or are you stitching on the other side of the seam, in a parallel fashion? I got confused... Thanks!

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  5. Donna; the second stitching is parallel to the original stitching. In the "stitch down" picture, you can see the original stitching just to the left of the presser foot.

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  6. You're so right - well-finished clothing are such a pleasure to own!

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  7. Ah yes ... thanks for this tutorial. I am planning to pick up a pattern for five panel boxers for kids, and for obvious reasons one wants the inside to be nice and smooth as well. So the flat felled seaming is used throughout. Apparently, doing that on the small scale of a child's boxer shorts can be challenging! The running stitch idea is a good one, esp. for the crotch curve. I'm not sure I'm going for "extreme couture" on kids undies, I might be okay with some nips and tucks and flaws, but like you (though a while behind you) I am becoming increasingly interested in all the details being done right, even the invisible ones. ...

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  8. I agree, it is so satisfying to see the inside of a garment look just as nice as the outside! Thanks for the tutorial. I think I'll give this a shot, once I'm home and back to my sewing machine.

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  9. Great tutorial! All those pictures really help.

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  10. Nice tutorial Carolyn. I just finished a trial run on a vest pattern and used a mock flat fell seam on the hood (this is a knit)but am bothered by the teeny raw edges showing. I think I'll do the real thing on the next version.

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  11. Thanks so much for the great tutorial, Carolyn! I've just spent much of the morning reading about various seams, including the flat felled seam, in Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide book. Her knowledge is amazing, but her illustrations are a bit difficult to follow. Your excellent photographs are so very helpful!

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  12. Heavens - that's not dorky at all, just good sense. Great tutorial!

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  13. Thanks for the tutorial Carolyn. I have to do some flat felled seams tonight on my jeans. Cheers.

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  14. This is a technique I've never used, but lately I agree with you about the inside. I made my sister a skirt a while back with all French Seams and as she is much taller than I am and is all legs she decided to give it and ask for a longer one. I want to wear it inside out all the time now as I like the detail the seams make.

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  15. So that's how it's done - thanks for the tutorial, I'm keen to try it out.

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  16. Great tutorial. There is nothing dorky about seeking perfection.

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