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. I also sew for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!