Little did I know when I started sewing that finishing seams was going to become something of a fetish for me -- as it is for so many of us, I suspect.
Honestly, seams are something that I'd never thought about twice -- or even once probably -- until I started to sew.
But once I started, I would never look at the inside of a garment the same way again.
I am one of those people who can easily obsess over finishing seams.
Since I made a lot of mens shirts early on in my (admittedly short) sewing career, I got to practice my flat-felled and French seam technique early. This is a great way to finish seams because there's no visible seam allowance to obsess about. Maybe that's why I like sewing shirts so much!
I hadn't been sewing more than a few months when I started to feel like the old zigzag overcast stitch wasn't really cutting it: I needed a serger. (Can you relate?)
Once I got my serger, I felt like I had to finish every seam with it.
But the more I thought about it, the more I came to realize that I often don't want the added thickness of a finished seam. This depends on the fabric, of course, and the garment, and on the kind of wear the item is likely to get.
Today, I am happy to report that I no longer obsess about finishing seams as much as I did. (As you can see, sometimes I don't even match my thread!) I'm more concerned about the outside than the inside.
If the fabric doesn't fray, I am just as happy to leave my seam allowances as-is. I don't have to overcast, serge, or finish in any way. It won't be seen by anyone and if it doesn't look exactly like ready-to-wear, that's OK with me.
(You can see (or not) on this copper fabric I managed to incorporate the selvage into the seam allowance -- that helps.)
But I will admit that sometimes I feel a little guilty about this, like I'm cutting corners or am too lazy to give my garments the finishing touches they deserve.
Then I quickly snap-to and talk myself out it!
How about you, wise reader? Are you a seams-obsessive? Do your home-sewn garments have to have Hong Kong finished seams, or are you satisfied with a pinked edge?
Have you really found that garments with fancier seam finishes hold up better over time? I'd love to hear about your experiences!
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!