Types of seam finishes

Lesson 8 : Seams

Types of seam finishes

There are different types of seams finishes that can be used in the constructions process. The choice of these finishes depends on the type of the fabric being sewn.

  1. Pinking
  2. Edge Stitched
  3. Double Stitched
  4. Overcast Seam Finish
  5. Herringbone Seam Finish
  6. Bound seam Finish

Pinking: One of the easiest and quickest ways to neaten the raw edges of a seam is through pinking. All that is required for this is pinking shears. And it is suitable for almost all types of fabrics. Pinking gives an attractive edge/ zigzag edge to the seam.


Edge Stitched Seam Finish: It is suitable on very light- to medium-weight fabrics—sheers, voiles, silks and any fabric where a double layer will not add bulk to the seamline. No special equipment is required to make this seam finish. A basic sewing machine is all that is needed to do an edge stitched seam finish. To make this seam finish, the seam edge is turned under to 1/8”, and stitched close to the fold. If the fabric is prone to ravel a great deal, turning under can be ¼”. This finish is not suitable for curved seams.


Double Stitched Seam Finish: It is used for knit fabrics and on seam allowances that are pressed together to one side and treated as one. It also prevents seam allowances from rolling or curling. It can be done with a regular sewing machine. A second row of stitching is done into the seam allowance area, approximately 1/8-inch away from first line of stitching. The seam is pressed to one side.

Overcast Seam Finish: This is one of the original methods of finishing seams and edges, dating prior to the invention of the sewing machine. It is very appropriate in areas not suited to other finishing techniques, such as L-shaped areas (created at a kick pleat) and V shaped areas (created when bulk is removed from a princess-line seam). A single strand matching thread and a hand needle are required to make this stitch. Overcast stitches done on the fabric edge should not be tight. Fabric edge should remain flat and not drawn. The fabric that tends to ravel more may require closer overcast stitches. Blanket stitch or buttonhole stitches can be used in place of overcast stitches. This stitch is most appropriate on seams that receive great strain during normal wear and tear like armhole, waistline etc.

Herringbone Seam Finish: A catch stitch or a herringbone stitch is used to neaten the raw edges of the seams.

Bound Seam Finish: This seam finish is appropriate to finish medium, medium-heavy and heavyweight woven fabrics. A bound finish is frequently used on unlined coats and jackets. Binding used should be appropriate for the fabric in terms of care and maintenance. It should never add unnecessary bulk.
Last modified: Wednesday, 16 November 2011, 11:53 AM