Lesson 2 10 Main Types of Machine Seams


Machine seams are made with the help of a sewing machine. There are 10 basic types of machine seams used in sewing for different purposes. In this article, we will explain what are they used for and describe ways how to make them. It is necessary to admit that the main difference of automatic seams from manual ones is that they are tighter, done faster and are the most common in sewing.

If you want to learn to sew a straight line, you will have to practice a little bit, preferably not on your first masterpiece, but on an unnecessary fabric scrap. Draw straight and curved lines on a scrap with a penciland try to follow them when making a seam. Just practice for some time until you see that your sewing machine obeys you.


Plain seam

As in its hand variant, plain seam is used to join one part of a garment with another. In order to make a plain seam, get two parts of a garment together with right sides facing. The stitch is made on the wrong side of fabric. Two parts may be beforehand joined with a tacking stitch, if necessary. Stitch line width and stitch length depend on a type of fabric. Very thin tissues, for example, chiffon or crêpe de Chine, are recommended to be stitched with a piece of thin paper in order to avoid fabric stretching.

Strop seam

Strop seamStrop seam may be used for joining parts of a garment, as well as for trimming.

Step 1.To make such seam you need to join two parts of a garment with right sides facing; if you want to hide ends of a garment, then one part must be strop seam width + 1/3” longer than another.

Step 2.Next we stitch our parts with a plain seam. Lower part juts out; a stitch line goes ¼” from the edge of the upper part. Press the seam to the side with a smaller edge.

Step 3.Stitch the right side with a finishing line till you get necessary distance from the fold line.

Slated seam

Slated seamIt is widely used in sewing for attaching different superimposed elements: patch pockets, cuffs, yokes, ornamentation, etc. In order to make this seam you will need to tack an overlaid element first (its ends must be tucked in and ironed in advance) and then make a stitch line on the right side. Remember that it is the face of your future garment, and the stitch line must be very neat.

Top-stitched seam

Top-stitched seamTop-stitched seam may be used as one of the ways of decorating clothes. First, you need to join two parts with a usual plain seam, then iron seam edges to different sides from the seam and make decorative stitch lines on both sides from a plain seam.

Binding seam

Binding seamThis seam looks well and is very practical in usage. Binding seam is often used in children's clothes and bed linen. To make this seam, get two parts together with wrong sides facing and make a stitch line 1/4” from ends. Turn the parts out so that the right sides are inside and fold them along the seam line. Make a stitch line 1/3” from the folded seam.

Linen seam

Linen seamLinen seam is used when making linen and clothes without lining. Linen seam is made in the following way: two parts are tacked together so that the lower one is ¼” longer. Stitch these parts, remove tacking and press seams wrapping the smaller edge in the bigger one. Make a neat stitch line 1/10” from the fold edge.

Bound seam

Bound seamBound seam is used for finishing edges with borders; trimming collars, coat-breasts, superimposed elements, bound stitches. To make a bound seam you need to join two parts together with right sides facing and make a stitch line ¼” from the edge. Then turn your garment inside out and fold it to get fringing 1/10-1/4” wide. Fasten manually with a rantering seam or stitch with a trimming seam.

Overcast seam

Overcast seamOvercast seam may be used to make edges of a garment neat and avoid fabric shedding. First, you need to trim the garment edge and then just fold fabric at ¼” and make a stitch line 1/8” from the edge. You may also hide fabric cut inside the seam fold fabric first at ¼” and then do it once more on a necessary width, so that the cut appears inside the seam, and make a stitch line.

Narrow seam

As in its manual version it is used for finishing flounces, frills, flowing skirts, etc. Fold the edge of your garment at ¼” and stitch 1/10” from a fold line. Cut unnecessary fabric to the very stitch line, but do it carefully, in order not to harm it. Then again fold the edge to the wrong side and make a stitch line 1/10” from the edge.

Decorative seams

Decorative seamsDecorative seams are very often used for decorating garments. They should be made on the right side of a garment. Many sewing machines have different kinds of decorative seams. Besides choosing the kind of a stitch line, you may also change the stitch width and length. Before making a decorative finishing stitch line, check on a separate piece of your fabric whether it is suitable for you.

Having mastered the above mentioned kinds of seams you will be able to conduct sewing work of any difficulty.

Lesson 1: Learn How to Sew Basic Handmade Seams