Seam allowance

What is a seam allowance?

A seam allowance is the gap between the fabric’s edge and the stitching line of the seam. Seam allowances are important in clothing items as they provide room for adjustments and customizations in sizing for any individual. Moreover, they also help tailors stitch the fabric seamlessly.

Seam allowance is usually 1/4 inch or 5/8 inch wide in most clothing items, but it can be changed based on brand or customer preference.

What is the purpose of a seam allowance?

The primary purpose of a seam allowance is to make stitching fabrics easier so they don’t get pulled while sewing. Moreover, it is also helpful in making size adjustments or any modifications to the clothing item based on individual preference.

How do you measure the correct seam allowance?

Measuring the correct seam allowance is easier when you follow the process correctly. Below is an overview of measuring the seam allowance.

Look at the Pattern

Every sewing pattern has a specified seam allowance. To get the best results, you should look at the pattern you are using and then research the seam allowance for that pattern.

Use Seam Gauge

Once you have the seam allowance guideline, you can use a seam gauge, a small ruler, to set the preferred allowance.

Mark Seam Allowance

When using a seam gauge, you should mark the seam allowance on the fabric using chalk or marker. This will help you follow the correct guidelines while stitching the fabric later.

Check Machine Settings and Stitch

Before stitching the fabric, check the machine’s seam allowance settings and tweak it to your preference. After the sewing machine is set up, you can start stitching your fabric by following the earlier markers.

What are the different types of seam allowance?

Numerous seam allowances are followed in different clothing items, but let’s look at some of the popular ones below.

Plain Seam Allowance

This is the simplest seam allowance, and it is widely used. Commercial stitching uses 5/8-inch seam allowances.

French Seam Allowance

This seam allowance, usually 1/4 inch wide, contains the raw edges in the fabric for a cleaner finish.

Narrow Seam Allowance

As the name suggests, this is a narrow seam, only 3/8 inch wider. It is usually used in delicate fabrics.