Finishing raw edges will extend the life of your garment, keeping the cut edges of your fabric from raveling and possibly destroying the integrity of your seams.
This is a method of finishing an edge, such as a neckline or sleeve hem, by enclosing it with bias tape. The seam allowance will vary, depending on the size of the bias tape you use. Use a bound edge when your pattern calls for one, such as the Taffy Blouse pattern in this chapter. You can purchase bias tape, or make your own.
A French seam is sewn twice, encasing the raw edges within the seam. It creates a very neat, narrow seam, making it perfect for sheer or very light fabrics. It's not suited for heavy fabrics, since it will create too much bulk.
Flat felled seams are quite strong and are found often in tailored shirts or trousers. Take a look at your favorite jeans and you'll find flat felled seams. Use this technique when extra strength or durability is needed.
A bound seam uses binding around the raw edges of a stitched seam. Because of its bulk, it can show through on lighter fabrics, so it's most often used with very sturdy fabrics such as denim, or on jackets and outerwear. It's a wonderful opportunity to use a fun color or printed binding, to add some flash to the inside of your garment.
Serging is what you will see most often in ready-to-wear clothing. Raw edges are stitched with a special machine called a serger, which holds multiple spools of thread and trims the seams as it sews. If you don't have a serger, you can try zigzag stitching over the raw edges of your seam allowance, or use your sewing machine's overlock stitch if it has one. Be aware that this uses a considerable amount of thread.
Pinked seams are simple to create, requiring just a pair of pinking shears. The zigzag pattern of the cut edge keeps the fabric from raveling. Pinked seams are commonly found within vintage garments, which goes to show that they can last. Use pinked seams on cottons and other somewhat sturdy fabrics that are not very prone to fraying.
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