What is Seam Allowance? Your 101 Comprehensive Guide

Md Mahedi Hasan

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What is Seam Allowance? Do you maintain the specific area of keeping seam allowance? What tools do you use to keep a suitable seam allowance for your work? All these questions may seem confusing to you as a beginner. This comprehensive guide is there to make your learning better on Seam Allowance. 

Figure: What is Seam Allowance
Figure: Seam Allowance

What is Seam Allowance?

Definition of Seam Allowance: A seam is what joins more than one piece of fabric. A seam allowance refers to the area that remains in between the fabric edges and the stitch line. Usually, seam allowance ranges from ¼” wide to a few more inches (½, ⅝ inches). It is an important and unseen part of a seam that usually remains inside the garment. Seam Allowances give you an understanding of the sewing pattern and its outcome in the fabric.

Figure: What is Seam Allowance

How to Sew Seam Allowance?

Sewing a seam allowance is one of the fundamental parts of sewing, as it involves stitching two fabric pieces. Here is the step-by-step process to sew a seam allowance:

1. Cut Fabric

Cutting out Fabric pieces with the added Seam Allowance

2. Clip fabric piece

Use pins or fabric clips to align the pieces. Align the edges of the cloth pieces.

3. Machine Setup

Set up the sewing machine (if applicable).

4. Start Sewing

Start sewing the fabric by positioning the fabric under the presser foot, with the fabric edge aligned with the expected width of the seam allowance on the sewing machine’s throat plate. Now, lower the presser foot and slowly begin stitching. Try to sew in a straight line as you get near to them. 

5. Finishing

Backstitch a few stitches and end your seam allowance sewing. 

Tools:

  • Scissor
  • Measuring Tape
  • Clip
  • Marker
  • Sewing Machine

Materials: Fabric

Figure: How to sew Seam Allowance
Figure: How to sew Seam Allowance

What is Seam Allowance Used for?

Seam allowance is used for sewing and dress-making. Also, the other functions are:

  1. To adjust and alter the garment by making the garment smaller or larger.
  2. To finish raw fabric edges.
  3. To provide extra room for design adjustments.
Figure: What is Seam Allowance

What is the importance of Seam Allowance?

There is a vast importance of keeping a few spaces under the seam allowance. In case of making any project work, your seam has to be accurate. Otherwise, there is a risk of running out of fabric. The other factors of importance are:

  1. Seam Allowance makes sure the garment is appropriately stitched, leaving enough of a seam allowance.
  2. A narrow seam allowance does not make a proper clothing sewer.
  3. It is important to try out different measurements of seam allowance after stitching. 
  4. Besides, the seam allowance is used to finish raw edges and prevent fraying.
  5. Besides, the seam allowance offers a margin of error to make sewing easier for beginners.
Figure: What is Seam Allowance

Conclusion

Depending on the type of project, sewing techniques, and individual preferences, the seam allowance width may change. Also, the length of seam allowance changes based on the fabric’s weight and pattern of weaves. Always refer to patterns and sewing guidelines when available, as they may define the ideal seam allowance width for a given project. 

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