How to Sew Basic Seams

Plain Seams

Use a plain seam for most garments.

Pin the two pieces of fabric with the right sides together. Make sure that the edges of your fabric, as well as any pattern notches or markings, are matched up evenly.

Sew at the required distance ' the seam allowance ' from the raw fabric edges.

Flat-Felled Seams

Use a flat-felled seam for garments that will receive a lot of wear, such as children's clothing or jeans.

Sew a plain seam and press it open with an iron.

Press both layers of fabric to one side and trim the inner fabric layer to 1/8 inch.

Press the top layer of fabric under 1/4 inch and stitch this folded edge to the garment.

Keep stitches as straight as possible, because the stitches will be seen on the right side of the garment.

French Seams

Use a French seam for sheer fabrics.

Place the wrong sides of the fabric together, pin and sew 3/8 inch from the fabric edges.

Trim the seam allowance layers to 1/8 inch and press the seam open.

Fold the fabric so that the right sides are together and the seam is in the center of the fold.

Press again.

Stitch the seam 1/4 inch from the fold and press the seam to one side.


  • Refer to your pattern instructions for information on the suggested seam application. The instructions will tell you what type of seam is appropriate for your garment and how to sew the seam.
  • Place pins at right angles to the fabric edges, at 1/2-inch intervals.
  • Use a 5/8-inch seam allowance for most garments, unless otherwise instructed.
  • Use the seam allowance guide on your sewing machine's throat plate to keep seams straight and even.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing Patterns
  • Dressmaker Pins
  • Fabrics
  • Ironing Boards
  • Irons
  • Sewing Machine
  • Sewing Machine Needles
  • Scissors
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