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Starting and Ending Seams | Video

Learn couture-worthy methods, whether you're sewing by hand or machine.

Video: Threads Magazine

Couture sewing includes a combination of hand and machine sewing. In each case, it’s important to secure the stitching at the beginning and end of a seam without creating bulk or leaving visible knots.

Claire B. Shaeffer demonstrates several methods for handling seam ends.

Starting a hand-sewn seam

Try any of these options:

Backstitch

At the start of a seam, don’t knot the thread. Instead, take one or two backstitches in place, then trim the excess thread.

Knot

Knot the thread, then backstitch at the beginning for added security.

Waste knot

Knot the thread, and insert the needle about an inch from the start of the seam. Bring it up at the seam’s beginning, make one or two backstitches, and continue sewing. Cut off the waste knot when the seam is complete.

Finishing a hand-sewn seam

When sewing by hand, you can secure the thread with backstitches, or create imperceptible knots by looping the thread around the needle, and hiding the thread tail between the fabric layers.

Machine sewing

When sewing by machine, don’t backstitch at the start or end of a seam. Instead, sew the seam, then pull both threads to one side of the work. Twist the tails together, then knot them close to the fabric surface. Hide the thread ends between the fabric layers. This method is called the tailor’s knot.

 

 

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About This Video Series

This video series features three hours of insider tips and secrets for creating high-end couture garments and home accessories. See an expert at work as Claire Shaeffer illustrates the basic techniques that take sewing to the next level -- from hand sewing and machine stitching to marking methods, pressing, and hemming.

More About this Video Series

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  1. MNMcC | | #1

    Claire mentions an open eye needle called a "kalix" for easy threading. How do you spell the name and where are they available? TY.

    1. CarolFresia | | #2

      These "self-threading" needles usually come up in a search for "calyx eye needles." There are actually a number of different styles of easy-threading needles. You can read a comparison of them at https://theneedlelady.com/needles-101/. The same site sells side-threading needles, which are a popular version of the open-eye needle.

      Carol Fresia, Threads Senior Technical Editor.

      1. MNMcC | | #3

        Thanks so much!

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