Introduction: Pressing and Finishing Seams

In this lesson, I'll go over how I finish my seams when sewing. I do this with both hand sewn and machine sewn seams. It's a great work flow to get into the habit of doing every time you sew. Your sewing will always turn out better. :D

Tools and Materials

For this lesson, you will need:

  • Sewn fabric
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears
  • A clean towel for drying your fabric if you need to wash the markings out

Remove Any Markings First

If you've used a water soluble pen to make seam allowance markings, you'll need to make sure to remove those before you apply any heat to your fabric. Using hot water, steam or your iron will set the water soluble ink permanently into your fabric.

To remove the markings, run the fabric under cool water and then press it into a clean towel to dry it a bit.

Once you're pressed quite a bit of the water out, hang the fabric up to dry.

I always try to press the water out first because the more water that stays in the fabric, the heavier the fabric will be. It can warp if you hang it full of water!

Pressing the Seams

Whenever I'm done sewing, but haven't yet turned a project right side out, I like to press. Pressing your seams slightly tightens the stitching and further defines the seam line, so it's easier to turn right side out.

Here's what the back and front of the fabric looks like after a good press. :)

Trimming the Seams

We could leave our seam allowances the way they were, but trimming them down helps reduce bulk in the final project. It'll look much nicer without extra lumps and bumps.

First, let's clip the corners! Use dressmaking shears and cut each sewn corner off. This will allow the corners to be nice and sharp. (If you didn't sew around a corner, it's not necessary to trim it down.)

With the extra fabric in there, they're harder to shape when you turn them right side out!

Now, grab your pinking shears! (If you don't have any, use your shears.) Trim your seam allowances down by half to reduce bulk.

If this is done with pinking shears, it will increase the durability of your project as well!