Make Padded Seams to Prevent Seam Allowance Impressions
In "Padded Seams" from Threads issue #166 (April/May 2013), Katrina Walker explains her techniques on how to make lightweight padded seams to prevent seam allowance impressions on your wool garments.
Preventing these seam allowance impressions is one of the biggest challenges of sewing fine wool garments, and their occurrence on a beautiful garment you've just spent hours creating can be heartbreaking. Seam imprinting is a particular problem with trousers and skirts that don't include a protective underlining.
I became so frustrated by having my work damaged by seam allowance impressions that I was inspired to find a way to ensure that my fine garments would remain beautiful through years of cleaning and pressing. I found that a padded seam does the trick nicely. You can also think of it as an underlined seam.
The concept is simple: Two strips of fabric sewn on both sides of the garment's seam allowances buffer the seam allowance edges and prevent imprinting when the garment is pressed. Padded seams are traditionally used with a bulkier fabric to exaggerate the appearance of a seam, to provide an additional foundation for seam embellishments, or to prop up delicate fabrics. I use silk organza strips as a lightweight seam padding to provide invisible, lasting support without bulk.
How to Sew Padded Seams:
Silk organza is an ideal choice whenever lightweight reinforcement is needed. It is superior to synthetic-fiber organza because it presses beautifully without being damaged by heat. For a padded seam application, cut silk organza strips on the bias to prevent fraying and to enable the strip to curve easily along seamlines.
1. Measure the seams to be padded to determine the organza strip lengths necessary. Cut two strips on the bias, each slightly longer than the seam and double the seam allowance width plus 3⁄4-inch. For example, a 5⁄8-inch seam allowance doubled is 1-1⁄4-inches, plus 3⁄4-inch yields 2-inches.
|2. Pin the garment's seam, right sides together, as usual. Mark the stitching line, if desired. Sandwich the seam allowance between two organza bias strips. The strips overlap the stitching line, and their edges extend past the seam allowance edges by approximately 1⁄4-inch.|