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Finishing edges on lightweight fabrics

AndreaSews | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Any thoughts welcome on this.  How do you like to finish raw edges on thin, lightweight fabrics.  In particular, I’m thinking of a rayon or poly lining fabric–On my current project, I am using french seams on the dress’ skirt lining, and an ordinary seam, pressed open within the bodice lining, which will be all enclosed.  I don’t have a serger.  I tried to use a zig zag finish on the seam allowances, but I find that the zigging and zaggin pulls at the fabric, making the zig-zag look narrower, and bunching the fabric, from left to right.  Not flat and smooth like I was hoping.  I might just go ahead and use the pinking shears inside the bodice.  Can you think of another option for the skirt portion, or is the french seam really the way to go?


  1. User avater
    Becky-book | | #1

    If the zigzag doesn't lay flat, it might be a tension problem.  Try a few different settings on a scrap of your cloth.  Inside the bodice, the pinking shears would probably do the trick anyway.  The french seam is probably the best way to handle the skirt seams.


  2. jjgg | | #2

    I'm not sure I really understand your question, you want to finish the seam allowances on the lining? why not just pink the edges? I use a rotary cuter. First I cut out the fabric with a regular straight edge rotarty blade so I have the seam allowances correct, I sew my seams and then before pressing open, I sort of just skim the edge with a pinking blade on my rotary cuter.

    1. Greymelkin | | #3

      This is interesting. I have just made a christening dress in very fine white cotton lawn and felt that overlocked seams would just be gross. I tried the zig zag and had the same problems with puckering, gathering etc. I thought I was going to have to use tearaway or washaway stabilizer but tried more zig zag. Ended up with the smallest possible zig zag which proved successful. Of course that was on the seams inside the bodice that needed to be pressed open, for side and sleeves I used a french seam. The pinking under your lining sounds a good idea, sometimes on fine fabric you can overdo the sewing and get a 'heavy' finish. Good luck with the garment. Wish I knew where to buy rayon or viscose here in UK.

  3. divaglam | | #4

    How about using a narrow rolled hem presser foot?

  4. Sunshine | | #5

    This may not be an "official" way to finish seams on lining, but it worked for me.  Using my trusty bottle of Fray Check, I drew a fine line along the seam allowance, from 10-15" long. Using my steam iron, I steamed it dry immediately so it wouldn't be stiff. I did this on each side of the seam allowance.  Then I trimmed the excess, frayed part carefully with scissors.  If you have long straight seams, a rotary cutter would probably be easier.  There was a slight color change on the poly lining, but since it's on the inside of the lining, who knows????  If you want to be a perfectionist, you could use a ruler to get exact straight lines, but I free-handed it and it was fine.  I've tried the zig-zag method before, and had the same frustration, and then you still have the fraying at the edge.  Altho I usually serge my seams together to finish them, when I want a single finished layer this works well for me!

  5. mem | | #6

    I know what you mean a bout the zig zag . There are few things you can do . The first one is cut the seam allowances a bit wider and then stitch the zig zag inside the seam allownace so that the needle never goes over the edge  and the thing that my mum did with her very basic 1950s singer was to first iron the seam open and then with raw edges together and sew a second row of plain sewing about 1/4 inch above the stitching line and then finish off the edge with pinking shears.

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