Whether you call it a flat fell seam, or a flat felled seam, it's a great option for a seam that's very strong and cleanly finished. You'll encounter the flat fell seam in ready-to-wear most often in better men's shirts and in jeans (usually the inseams). We home sewists have to go through several steps to recreate what factories sew in just seconds, but the results are worth it when you need a neat and durable finish.

Technique Materials

flat fell presser foot (optional)

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  • Missing

    Aug 26, 2010, 06.21 PMby audrey2000b

    It difficult to find a good pattern of the correct length and style!! I find that I have to alter most of my patterns – what’s in my head is too specific and I feel at many times the patterns are all the same and generally not in the style I’m looking for at the time. I had a terrible time finding a fitted dress with a side zipper last fall to make my bridesmaid dress for my brother’s wedding last fall – all back zip. My wishes seemed so simple! Humph.

    As for this pattern: I like the cut and like the diagonal across the front, but not as dramatic as I want more coverage against the wind from my waist down ; ) . I’m going to play with that shape on my practice tonight.

    Will a twin needle work with any foot and any machine? I’ve heard it referenced here before, but am not familiar with them.

    Thanks!! -Hilary

    1 Reply
    • Dscn3123_large

      Aug 27, 2010, 09.59 PMby Roseana Auten

      If your machine is fairly new, it will probably accommodate a twin needle. If you’re using a machine that’s very old and not a zigzag machine, then you can’t. As with anything mechanical, consult your manual. If you can’t put your hands on a manual, there is usually information about your machine online at the manufacturer’s web site. I’ll put up a tutorial about this, too. Sound good?

  • Missing

    Aug 26, 2010, 12.43 PMby audrey2000b

    I’m working off of McCall’s 5759: http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m5759-products-7945.php?page_id=115&search_control=display&list=search

    I can’t get the image to copy to paste it here. It has princess seams and a band that curves along the front as a border. I am lengthening it by about 9 inches (to mid-thigh) and lessening the diagonal angle of the front pieces so that I have more coat coverage in the front .

    Looking at the pattern sketch again, I think that I could do the Flat Fell Seams for the princess and side seams – then leave the front band with just my regular zig-zag finish.

    I’m also attemtping to make a removable lining for the coat so that I can wear it from fall into early winter here in New York. It’s been in the 90s for weeks now, but it’s begining to dip – I have to alter my practice jacket so that I can figure the final layout and how much fabric to buy and get it in motion!!

    Thanks for your help!! -Hilary

    1 Reply
    • Dscn3123_large

      Aug 26, 2010, 03.03 PMby Roseana Auten

      Sounds like what you like most about this jacket is its interesting collar. Have you thought of just using this collar shape on another coat pattern that’s already the length and style you need?

      I’m not sure I’d flat fell a curved seam. If you want the look of a flat fell seam, why not try this:

      1. Join your seams, right sides together.

      2. Press the seam flat; then press the seam to one side.

      3. Use a twin needle to topstitch your seam (or very carefully sew two rows of topstitching).

      4. On the wrong side, carefully trim off the excess raw edge of your seam.

      Practice on a scrap first.

      I’ll post a tutorial about it.


  • Missing

    Aug 25, 2010, 06.02 PMby audrey2000b

    You mention that this is a great seam to use when you want strength and have straigh seams. I am getting ready to make a fall jacket and want strength, but have several curved seams- some almost 90 degrees. Can you suggest a strong seam to use when you need to include curves?

    Thanks for your help!! -Hilary

    1 Reply
    • Dscn3123_large

      Aug 26, 2010, 12.00 PMby Roseana Auten

      Hi Hilary,

      Do you have a illustration of the jacket you’re making, or line drawing of the design? I may be able to make a better suggestion if I see it. Also, keep in mind that you may need or want to use more than one type of seam finish in the same project. (Yes, that’s allowed! :D )

  • Dscn3123_large

    Aug 6, 2010, 04.40 PMby Roseana Auten

    You anticipate the problem very well! Yes, thin and flowy fabrics will end up with seams that are a bit bulky. For these fabrics, I would suggest using a French seam. (Unless you want the seams to be beefed up, for some reason. Always experiment with your fabric before you forge ahead.)

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    Aug 3, 2010, 08.07 PMby magdamagda

    i love the look, do you think it would work well with thin flowy fabrics or it would stiffen the seam area because of the 3 layers of cloth?

    • This is a question
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