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How to Sew a Clean Finish

Learn how to sew a clean finish for finishing the raw edges of a seam. It is a classic and professional seam finish using a sewing machine.

A clean finish is a classic way to finish a seam and works great with a domestic sewing machine. It takes a little longer than other seam finishes, but it looks clean and professional inside the item.

It is a great way to nicely finish seams without a zigzag stitch or a serger. It works best when sewing a straight seam, and it looks really good on unlined jackets. It can get bulky when sewing multiple seams together, but would work well for a light to medium weight fabric.

how to sew a clean finish

Why Finish the Raw Edges of Fabric?

Woven fabrics are made by threads crossing over each other. When you cut through the fabric it leaves all those threads raw and unfinished. Those raw threads can unravel as the garment is worn or washed.

It would take some time, but eventually the fabric would fray and pull out of the seam. If you want your clothing to last then you’ll need to finish the edges so that they can’t fray. Learn about nine different seam finishes.

These are some basic sewing stitches you need to sew clothing and then you finish the seams after the stitches.

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how to sew a clean finish

First, sew the seam. If the seam is a 5/8 inch seam then trim in to 1/2 inch.

cut seam to 1/2 inch

Iron the seam open.

press seam open

Fold ends under towards the seam and press folds in place. The folds with be 1/4 inch from the center and from the middle.

fold seam allowance under and press

Adjust the fabric to make sure you’re only sewing on one side of the seam allowance. Sew 1/8 inch from the fold. Sew the fold in place.

sew fold in place

Do the same to the other side of the seam.

sew other fold in place

Press the seam again.

sew a clean finish

When you sew the seam to another piece of the pattern pin the clean finish seams open.

pin seam open

Sew the seam.

sew to another seam

Would you use a clean finish to finish seam edges?

If you make something using this pattern, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!

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does the seam on the right side show any when ironed after doing this ( I love this idea since I d not have a serger

Whoa. What an awesome blog you have here! I always have grand intentions of putting together tutorials but get sidetracked by my neck project!

Just a guess, did you go to BYU-I? I was University Studies with a minor in Clothing Construction and I don't think any other school uses that term 😉

This looks great and I think I would use it for light fabrics; however, thicker fabrics might have too much bulk at the seams, especially if you are matching seams. I just have a regular old sewing machine, so more than 4 thicknesses would probably be a problem for me.