Jul 3, 2009

Lets Talk Seams

After teaching many people the art of sewing there's a few things that come second nature to some who sew or has been around sewing but for someone new to the art sometimes the simplest things can be confusing. This post is to help the beginner learn about seams.

A seam is where you sew your straight stitch line over to the edge of the fabric. We usually use our 5/8" mark on our sewing machines to make our seams because most all seams are 5/8". This is called "seam allowance". How come we do seams at 5/8"? Because we need the extra fabric to help hold what we are making together. If the edge of the fabric is cut (or sewn) close to our stitch line (smaller seams) and we pull at the fabric after we make our stitches, the fabric will start pulling apart away from the stitch line. What you've constructed will have a hole. We need the fabric in our seams to help hold what we make together, to keep it from pulling apart when we use it.

OK, now that you know what a seam is lets talk seam lines. Seam lines are what we use when we construct garments. If we are making a dress, top, shirt, skirt, shorts, pants - whatever we make we use basically the same seam lines that run vertical.
Let's start with the front of the body.
Anything you make that has a seam going down the center of the body is called the center front seam.
The seam that runs under your arm all the way down the side of your body are called the side seams.
Half way between the center front and the side is the side center front seam.
It's the same with the back of the body
The seam going down the center of your back is called the center back seam.
The seam in the middle of the side seam (the seam that runs under your arm) and the center back is called the side center back seams.



Easy enough, right.

Now lets talk about the seams that go around our body. Starting at the top and working our way down.
We have the neckline seam - which runs all the way around our neck.
The shoulder seam which is the top of our shoulders
The armhole seam which goes all the way around our arms and are used to install sleeves.
Moving down to our waistline seam which could be right at our belly button all the way around the body.
Then the seam that goes on the inside of the legs when making pants is called your inseam.


These are the basic seams we use when constructing garments. Of course there are more but knowing these as a beginner will help you understand sewing better. It's all about terminology. Once you know what the terms mean it makes it easier to learn the art of sewing.

If you're a fan of Project Runway (I can't wait for it to start in August) you notice the tape line on the dress forms they use. These are the seam lines they will use to construct their garments. You will see them place the fabric over the dress form - measure out 5/8" from the seam lines and cut the fabric.

I hope this helps learning the art of sewing and what the heck the seams are called.

Until next time,
Enjoy your moments ~ make them "sew" much fun,
Cindy