Understanding Seam Allowance
Seam allowance is the extra fabric between fabric pieces sewn together and the raw edge of the fabric. Not only does this provide a neat and finished look, but it also allows a seam to be adjusted or resewn if necessary. This is especially helpful when working with tight curves and delicate fabrics, as extra fabric allows both sewing the the seam and pressing it afterwards.
Learning to mark seam allowance can be difficult, and it takes time to perfect the technique. Many sewers use a ruler and marking pencil, pattern weights, and rotary cutters to help them mark seam allowances correctly.
In order to mark seam allowance on a sewing machine, it is necessary to have several pieces of equipment, including a marking pen or pencil, a seam ripper, a ruler, and a fabric tracing wheel. The tracing wheel is used to trace the seam allowance onto the fabric, and the marking pen or pencil is used to trace the tracing wheel and make the markings permanent.
Mark the Seam Allowance
Once all of the necessary equipment is gathered, it is time to mark the seam allowance. Start by using the fabric tracing wheel to trace the seam allowance onto the fabric. Then, use the marking pen or pencil to trace the traced line and make the markings permanent.
If the fabric is marked with a pattern, then use the marking pens or pencils to fill in the marked seam allowance lines. It is important to keep in mind that the seam allowance should always be drawn on the wrong side of the fabric.
Sewing Seam Allowances
The next step is to begin sewing the marked seam allowances together. First, align the two fabrics with the wrong sides together and the seam allowances facing outwards. Then, stitch along the marked seam allowance.
It is important to keep the stitching straight and even when sewing seam allowances, so start by adjusting the tension on the machine. The tension should be set slightly lower than normal to ensure that the stitches remain neat and even. As each stitch is completed, use the seam ripper to backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. This will keep the stitches in place.
Pressing The Seam Allowance
Once the seam allowance has been stitched, it is time to press it. Start by pressing the seam allowance open with a hot iron. This will flatten out any bumps or irregularities and make the seam look neat and professional.
Then, use a pressing cloth or thin piece of fabric along with the hot iron to press the seam allowance down. This will help to hold the seam in place and make it easier to sew the fabrics together.
Finishing The Seam Allowance
The last step to mark seam allowance is to finish off the edges. This can be done with a variety of techniques, such as a zig-zag stitch, pinking shears or bias binding. All of these techniques will help to keep the raw edges of the fabric from fraying and make the seam look even neater.
Cutting The Seam Allowance
In some cases, it may be necessary to trim down the seam allowance. This can easily be done with a pair of scissors or rotary cutter. When trimming, be sure to cut along the marked seam allowance line to ensure accuracy.
Seam Allowance Marking Tips
When it comes to marking a seam allowance, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, use a clear ruler and marking pencil to help guide yourself and to ensure accuracy. Second, use marking pens or pencils that are designed for use on fabric. Third, be sure to mark the seam allowance on the wrong side of the fabric. And finally, always double-check your work before sewing to ensure that you have marked the seam allowance correctly.
Seam Allowance Variations
When it comes to seam allowances, there are a few variations to keep in mind. The most common seam allowances are 1/4 inch and 5/8 inch. But, depending on the type of fabric and project, the seam allowance may need to be adjusted. For thicker fabrics, such as wool or quilting fabrics, a wider seam allowance may be necessary to provide more room for adjustments.
Presser Foot Options For Seam Allowance
When it comes to sewing the seam allowance, presser feet can be used to help guide the fabric and keep the seam allowance in place. The most common presser foot is the straight stitch presser foot, which is great for straight seams and has a guide to help you keep the seam allowance even. However, there are also zig-zag, quarter inch and curved stitch presser feet that can be used, depending on the type of project.
Seam Allowance Finishings
Once the seam allowance has been stitched, there are a few finishings that can be used to keep the raw edges from fraying. These include binding, pinking shears and topstitching. Binding is a type of fabric that is stitched around the edges of the seam allowance for a smooth finish. Pinking shears can be used to cut the edges of the seam allowance, and topstitching is a type of stitching that is used to finish off seams and add detail.
Seam Allowance Types
When it comes to seam allowances, there are a few types to be aware of. The most basic type is the single seam allowance, which has one layer of fabric and is used for lightweight fabrics. There is also a double seam allowance, which consists of two layers of fabric and is used for heavier fabrics. Another type is the French seam, which encases the raw edges of the fabric and is often used for home decor projects. Finally, there is the flat felled seam, which is a durable seam often used for jeans and other heavy-duty projects.