A seam is formed by sewing together two pieces of cloth. There are several different methods of joining them. Those known as the raw seams may be joined by stitching, half-back stitching, overhanding or the combination stitch. The closed or finished seams are known as the French Fell, French Seam, Hemmed Seam, Flannel Seam and the Bound Seam. No garment should be finished with a raw seam, which is only properly used when covered with a lining, or as the first step in one of the finished seams.
A. French Fell.
Place the two pieces to be joined, right sides together, edges even and baste one-fourth of an inch from the edge. Sew with the combination stitch (or machine stitching) three-eighths of an inch from the edge. Trim three-sixteenths of an inch from the under side of the seam and crease the upper side of the seam over this. (In hand sewing there is a long stitch on the under side. Be sure to trim from this side so that the short stitch comes on the top.) On the right side of the garment crease carefully and baste along the edge of the seam to prevent the fullness which beginners are so liable to have over the French Fell on the right side. Turn to the wrong side, baste the seam flat to the cloth, and hem.
B. French Seam.
Place together the wrong sides of the pieces to be joined, and baste one-fourth of an inch from the edge. With the running stitch sew one-eighth of an inch from the edge. Carefully trim off the ravelings, fold the right sides together and crease exactly in the seam, baste and stitch the seam, taking care that no ravelings can be seen and that the seam is perfectly smooth on the right side.
C. Hemmed Seam.
This is used for joining thin material, lace, etc. On one piece fold an eighth of an inch seam (or more, if necessary) to the right side of the cloth, and on the other piece fold an eighth of an inch seam to the wrong side. Place the right sides of the two pieces together with the raw edge of one piece under and to the folded edge of the other. Baste this fold down over the raw edge sewing through the three thicknesses of cloth. Fold over in the crease and baste through the four thicknesses. Stitch, or hem by hand, along the edge of the seam on both sides of the cloth.
D. Flannel Seam.
The flannel seam is used on material so thick that it is necessary to finish over a raw edge, instead of with a seam involving several thicknesses of cloth. Place together the right sides of the two pieces to be joined and baste one-eighth of an inch from the edge. Stitch one-fourth.of an inch from the edge and remove the bastings. Trim the seams smooth, open and baste flat to the cloth. Herringbone stitch over the raw edge of both sides of the seam. One side of the herringbone stitch should come just over the raw edge of the flannel. The edges must be kept smooth, and unless the flannel ravels easily, the herringbone stitch should be not over one-eighth of an inch deep and close together. This stitch is used also on the flannel patch.
E. Bound Seam.
Seams may be bound with the two parts of the seam together, or they may be pressed open and bound separately. This may be done with a bias strip, binding ribbon or tape.
a. Binding the Entire Seam - Place together the two right sides of the pieces to be joined and baste one-eighth of an inch from the edge. Place the bias binding (three-fourths of an inch wide) with the wrong side of the cloth up and the edge of the binding one-eighth of an inch from the edge of the seam, and baste in place. Stitch through the three thicknesses of cloth a quarter of an inch from the edge. Turn in one-eighth of an inch on the other side of the binding and hem it down just above the stitching on the other side of the seam. This method of binding is used on the arm-holes of garments or wherever it is not feasible to open the seam and bind separately.
b. The Open Bound Seam - Prepare the seam as above without the bias binding. Trim and press the seam open. Double the binding ribbon through the center and crease. Place the raw edge of the seam to the fold of the ribbon and run along the edge, catching through to the under fold. Tape may be used for binding, but must be basted on first and hemmed down.