How to Make Flat Felled Seams
Easy-to-follow, Step-by-step Instructions
About Flat Felled Seams
(Other names: felled, flat, flat feel, flat feld, flat-feld, flat-fell, flat-felled, flat-felt, flat felt)
Flat felled seams can be found on almost all jeans. Tough and durable, flat felled seams provide three stitch lines, two of which secure multiple layers of fabric. Flat felled seams also conceal the raw edges of the seam allowance, reducing the likelihood of fraying.
Today, flat felled seams are often used when a sporty look is desired. They are commonly found on skirts, casual slacks as well as shirts and blouses. In addition to clothing, flat felled seams are often found on accessories such as tote bags as well as many outdoor fabric items including tents, and backpacks.
Although flat felled seams are often used with heavy-weight fabric (such as denim) because of the layering involved, they may not be suitable for extremely heavy or bulky fabrics. Limitations are often determined by the capacity of the sewing machine. Until the seamstress (or tailor) is proficient with the procedure, using a flat felled seam on curves (such as placing a sleeve into an armhole) should be avoided.
How to Make a Flat Felled Seam
What You Will Need
- Sewing Machine
- Scissors or Pinking Shears
Make note of the of the difference between the “right” and “wrong” side of the fabric. It will help you orient yourself as you follow the steps.
With the wrong sides facing out, pin material together, pinning entire length of edge where the flat felled seam will be.
Stitch a 5/8" seam allowance (or the amount specified in your pattern) along the entire length of the edge pinned in Step 2, back-tacking at the beginning and end of the seam. Remove pins after the seam allowance has been sewn.
Cut one side of seam allowance (sewn in Step 3) to within 1/4" of the stitches.
Although you may use pinking shears, they are not required. The cut edges will be protected (and hidden) by the completed flat felled seam.
On the wrong side of the fabric, press seam closed to short side of seam allowance. Be sure to use a setting on your iron that will not damage the fabric.
On right side of fabric, thoroughly press seam to ensure it is flat. Use a pressing cloth to help prevent damage to fabric.
(A) Grasp the wider (un-trimmed) side of the seam allowance, folding it over the top of the narrower (trimmed) side...
(B) ...continue folding until the edge of the wider side meets the seam's stitching line, concealing the narrower side as shown below.
(C) Grasp the folded, concealed seam and continue folding in the same direction...
(D) ...until the folded seam lies flat against the opposite side and is ready for pinning.
Pin entire length of flattened fold in place.
(A) Stitch Line (a) - Stitch 1/8" in from folded edge along the entire length of the flattened fold pinned in Step 8, back-tacking at the beginning and end of the seam. Remove pins as they reach the presser foot.
(B) One of the two finished top stitch lines can now be seen on the right side of the fabric. Stitch Line (a) is now complete.
(A) Stitch Line (b) - Stitch 1/8" in from and parallel to the original seam along entire length of flattened fold, back-tacking at the beginning and end of the seam. Both finished top stitch lines can now bee seen on the right side of the fabric (below).
(B) Stitch line (b) next to original seam is now complete. Note here that three stitch lines show on the wrong side and only two show on the right side. The raw edges are now completely concealed within the flat felled seam.
Press the completed flat felled seam on the right side of the fabric. Be sure to use a setting on your iron that will not damage the fabric. You're done!
Flat Felled Seam Tutorial ©1999-2009 RBR, Inc.
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