Learn How To Finish Your Seams Without an Overlock or Serger

Sew Struck
by Sew Struck
4 Materials
30 Minutes

Have you been wanting to get into sewing but have no idea where to begin? A good place to start is with different stitching techniques, and with that comes seam finishes. In order to keep your garments from fraying, you need to properly finish them. In this simple tutorial, I will walk you through six different seam finishes that you can utilize in all your sewing projects.

Tools and Materials:

  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears (optional)
Sewing basics
Lapped or flat-felled seam

Start by stitching two pieces of fabric together with a normal seam. Then open up the two pieces of fabric at the stitch and cut down one side of the seam to just past the stitch. Now fold the longer side onto the side you just cut and stitch at the fold. 

Basic sewing stitches
Fold and stitch seam

After stitching a normal seam, open the fabrics apart at the seam. Then fold down and stitch both sides of the seams. 

Seam finishes with zig zag
Try it with a zig zag stitch

You can also do the above seam finishes with a zig zag stitch if you prefer! It can make your project look nicer depending on what you’re going for.

French seam basic method
French seam

Start by stitching your seams wrong sides together at ¼”. Then trim both sides of the seams a bit. Turn the fabrics around so that the right sides are facing each other and stitch again at ¼”. 

Finishes without overlock/serge
Pinked seam

Using pinking shears, trim the ends of your seam near the edge of the fabric. You can leave it just like that or, if it’s a fabric that frays, stitch near the edges. This can also be done with regular scissors and a straight cut, but then you do have to stitch the edges. 

Zig zag stitch finish
Zig zag stitch seam

Open apart your fabrics at the seam and add a zig zag stitch to the ends. This can be done on both sides, or by stitching them together as one. Then trim the edges. 

Bias bound seam finish
Bias bound seam

Pin and sew bias binding, which you can make yourself, to the back of one side of your seam. Then fold the bias binding onto the front side and stitch it again. Repeat the process on the other seam opening.

Easy sewing basics

There you have it! Six different seam finishes that you can use in all kinds of DIY sewing projects. You can choose whichever you like best, or whichever works better for your specific project. Now that you’ve learned these seam finishes, I’d love to see your new skills in action, so show me some of your projects and what seam finishes you used for them in the comments!

Suggested materials:
  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
See all materials

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