Friday, November 15, 2013

Seam Finishes


Allow me to step back in time about 34 years.  I was a newlywed.   Christmas was coming so I decided to make flannel nightgowns for the little girls in my new extended family.   They were darling.  One was mint green and the other a pale blue.  Lace trim and ruffles were stitched and pressed.  Sweet, sweet nightgowns.  Well at least on the outside.  Eek.  (I'm sure you know what's coming...)

Christmas morn the presents were opened and the sweet nightgowns were unwrapped and the little girls ran over to their mom to show them off.  Well the mom turned them inside out to see how they were made.  Her response was "You didn't finish the seams."  Oh dear, I was embarrassed and even a little hurt that she chose to find fault instead of delight.  But I learned a very good lesson.  What a garment looks like on the inside is just as important as on the outside. 

So now I try to make sure I finish the seams.  I am working on flannel pajamas for our granddaughters.  And although I know neither of my sweet daughters-in-love would embarrass me by checking my work I want the PJ's to be darling and well made. 

I am on my first top and it has been a hoot.  The first seam I did a French seam as that  is one of my favorites - well the flannel is thick so it seemed a bit bulky.  So the next seams, shoulders, I decided to do a 'turned and stitched' finish.  That worked well but when I went to the next seam there was gathering so I did an straight seam, zigzag and pinked the edges - okay by now I'm feeling silly that I have three seams and they are all different finishes... What to do?  I called my mom.  We laughed about my progress so far.  Mom had a great idea - seam binding.  Perfect but I want it soft not scratchy.  The answer make my own seam binding from the same flannel.

My plan is to go over the pinked seam with seam binding - does it need it?  No, but it will look more uniform with the rest of the top.  Happy sewing - and after 34 years I'm still learning!!  :-)

mark the lines on the bias I did 1.5 inches wide

line up and sew into a tube

Cut continuously to the end

My strip ready to be ironed

This is a great little tool I bought at Nancy's Notions.  It folds the seam binding and you just follow it with an iron.

7 yards of matching flannel seam binding
I didn't use the tool she shows.  Just my normal cutting guide - it worked great.
Just for fun I'm adding the pictures of the different seams so far...
At least my mom will get  giggle.
Outside of PJ top so far
Pattern called for seam binding at neck to finish the raw edge.
The French seam  - as you can see it's bulky

turned and stitched shoulder seams

Back bodice stitched to gathered back - straight stitched, zigzagged and then pinked the edge...
Good grief, Charlie Brown!
We are going to the store today.  I think I will stop and buy one more yard of this fabric and start again.  I can just save this for reference of different seam finishes.



  1. No one should ever be embarrassed like you were, and definitely not at Christmas. What the mother did was very rude. I think your seam finished look great. Another option for the top at least would be a lining with a lightweight fabric. Also, for seam binding, there is a nude, bias cut nylon binding called Seams Great that I just love. Also, there are several sellers on Etsy sewing fold over elastic in fabulous colors. It can be used as a normal elastic, or just as a binding. The PJs are just wonderful and I love the color.

    1. Thanks for the great info!! I will look the seam binding up.

  2. What a fantastic job you are doing on the grandkids pj's. Know they will be very happy to wear them..
    I hate that you got embarrassed in your early sewing years.. When Cindy [my baby who is 41 now],was 2 yds old, I copied a niece's outfit, and made her a pants/shirt. I thought it was so proud of my self..I was learning.. Well, I almost ran to my mother in laws house[she lived close and sewed all the time].Her son and family were there.. Well.. She pulled Cindy to her, To look at this outfit more closely....and started telling me how i had done all these things WRONG!! I wanted to cry--- I really thought I had done such a good job. But, as you said, I learned alot that day..;lol

    1. It was a learning experience for sure. :-) Life goes on and we do better the next time.