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Clueless but having fun

Hansi's picture

Hi everyone,

I started sewing 6 months ago and I've got a question that's so basic that none of the patterns, books or articles I've read bother to address it.  Here it is:

At what point in assembling a garment are you supposed to finish the raw edges at the seams?  Do you do a zig-zag stitch around all the fabric pieces right after you cut them out or do you wait until after the garment is assembled?






Jean's picture

(post #24454, reply #1 of 7)

Depends on the fabric and the machine. When my kids  were little I used cottons and wools and found it easier to finish the edges first, then construct the garment.  Now that I'm sewing for grandkids, much of my  work is done with knits on the serger so it's an all in one operation.


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sewphaedra's picture

(post #24454, reply #2 of 7)

I always do it afterwards--not all at once but finishing each seam as I go along. That way I can do fittings also, and if i need to let it out out or take it up I haven't chopped off my seam allowance or wasted time finishing it when I'll be trimming again.

HNYMAMA's picture

(post #24454, reply #3 of 7)

After I straight stich a seam I go right back and do a zig zag stich between teh seam and edge to finish it,  then trim.  Mkaes it much easier when setting sleeves and all that.

CarolFresia's picture

(post #24454, reply #4 of 7)

Like others here, I usually finish the seam allowance just after stitching the seam, but if I anticipate making alterations, I'll wait till I've tried the garment on. Another exception I make occasionally (now that I figured out there are no real rules you have to follow!) is to serger around the entire pattern piece after cutting it out, if the fabric is really prone to ravelling. It's a lot easier to do that than to mess around with fringy edges and loose, dangling threads everywhere.

My point is: do whatever works best for you and your project. Some seam finishes are easier to apply before sewing the garment, and some are better off added when the piece is assembled. Think it through before you sew if you're working on a complex project, and make a plan if necessary. And remember: no one's going to judge you by your seam finishes...not even other sewers!


Hansi's picture

(post #24454, reply #5 of 7)

Thank you for all the tips!



FloridaSue's picture

(post #24454, reply #6 of 7)

Jay, you were given some really good tips. General rule of thumb. (dumb expression) Finish the seam edges as desired prior to crossing over any seams. For example, finish the shoulder seam prior to attaching sleeves. Happy sewing. Hope you find this as rewarding as I have. Been doing this for nearly 40 years and still learning. Not many things can stay fresh and interesting for that long. Sue

Hansi's picture

(post #24454, reply #7 of 7)


Thank you for your post.  I agree with you that sewing is fun.  I wish I'd started earlier.