I learned to sew at a time when "zig zag sewing machines" still seemed to me like something special. I plugged away for many years on the family's 1947 Kenmore, which only sewed a straight stitch. I thought not having a zig zag stitch precluded making clean finishes to my seams. So every garment I made had raw, unfinished seams inside. After all, who would see them besides me? Who would clean stray, unraveled threads out of the washing machine besides me?

That's one way of doing it.

Another way is to take the extra time to finish the seams cleanly, which I think makes the garment wear and look better over the long run. If I'm making something from a sturdy woven fabric, most often I'll finish the raw edges with a 3-thread overlock stitch on my serger. But many emerging sewists don't yet have the budget to add a serger to their stock of sewing tools. One way to finish a seam when you don't have a serger: Turn the raw edges down and stitch them with a straight stitch. Here's how:.

Technique Materials

fusible thread


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    Jul 27, 2010, 02.38 AMby tailoredboho

    Thank you for sharing! Helped me realize how I must iron my seams – clean up my act, have patience. Would love to see more tutorials

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      Jul 27, 2010, 01.18 PMby Roseana Auten

      Thanks, tailoredboho! Coming right up! Look for a post today!

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    Jul 21, 2010, 06.48 PMby graveflower

    The novice may have some big questions here: What is fusible thread? Where can fusible thread be obtained? Also, for those lovely newbie sewists: woven fabric is made on a loom and is often stiff or with moderate stretch added by spandex or lycra. This is in contrast to knit fabric, like T-shirts or some other stretchy fabrics you may have.

    Thanks! I really like the tutorial and I am so glad you showed me that fusible thread exists!

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      Jul 21, 2010, 10.14 PMby Roseana Auten

      Ah goodness, yes, you can’t assume too much when a person is at the very beginning of his/her learning. Thanks for the reminder!

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