Creating Professional-Looking Flat-Felled Shirt Seams
Get smoother, neater results with this unconventional method.
The flat-felled seam is an elegant seam finish, and you can learn to sew it masterfully to create professional-looking garments, especially shirts. Flat-felled seams are commonly used for the shirt armhole seam and the shirt sleeve and side seams.
When I first started making shirts, I used the method I learned from sewing books and commercial shirt patterns: Flat-felled seams are sewn with a 5/8-inch-wide seam allowance; one side is trimmed roughly in half; the wider side is folded over the narrower; and finally, the folded seam—with the wider side encasing the narrower—is topstitched along its outer edge, usually from the wrong side of the shirt. One of the big challenges to this method is that, given the curve of the armhole, trimming and folding is painstaking, and the folded seam allowances are difficult to anchor neatly before sewing. The result, particularly with delicate fabrics like fine cotton shirting or…
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