Simple clothing construction process (seams)

Simple clothing construction process (seams)

A seam is a method used in joining two or more pieces of materials together firmly. Most seams on clothes are made 5/8 of an inch wide; if you have your own ruler, you could mark that place on it with a crayon or a small piece of tape, you will be using it often.These practical tools make the cutting process much faster and easier. For curved pieces of fabric, try sewing a stay stitch as soon as you cut to prevent unraveling and distortion. Here is everything to know about Needle craft.

These stitches are placed about 1/8 inch from the line you will sew for a seam. Finally, once you join two pieces, you should press the seams.

Learning objectives

At the end of the ARTICLES, YOU should be able to:

  1. Define a seam and mention two types;
  2. State uses of seams;
  3. Describe the steps for making plain/open seams;
  4. Make open/plain seams.

Meaning of seam

A seam is a method used in joining two or more pieces of materials together firmly. Most seams on clothes are made 5/8 of an inch wide; if you have your own ruler, you could mark that place on it with a crayon or a small piece of tape, you will be using it often.

Rules to observed when making seams

  1. Choose the correct seam for the work
  2. Use the correct size of needle
  • Do not make your thread too long so as to prevent tangling as you work

Types of seams

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There are different kinds of seams and the choice you make depends on the type and weight of the fabric, and the purpose the seam is to serve, examples of such seams are plain/open seam; run and fell seam; and French seam.

  • Plain/open seam

Plain/open seam is the most basic and easiest seam to make, it joins the edges of two pieces of fabrics. This is suitable for most fabrics

  • Run and fell seam

Run and fell seam is used on sportswear and simple reversible garments. This seam required that you sew and neaten the seam allowance with the seam allowance on the right side of the fabric

  • French seam

A French seam is neat, narrow and perfect for sheer lightweight fabrics, blinds and unlined curtains where the reverse is visible. It hides all raw edges and is ideal for fine fabrics or those that fray easily, it is most commonly sewn on jeans.

 Uses of seams

Seam allowances are provided to allow for adjustments and to prevent seam ripping apart during wear, the following are important uses of seams

  1. When a dress becomes tight, the seams are the points of adjustment to allow for more room.
  2. When a dress is bigger, the areas of adjustment are the seams, use the seam ripper to remove the old stitches before you apply a fresh row of stitches.

Guideline for the choice of seams

  • Type of material
  1. Heavy materials like requires a strong seam such as run and fell seam
  2. Light and thin materials requires a French seam
  • Age of the wearer

Run and fell seam is suitable for children’s clothing

  • Purpose of garment

Flat seams, for instance, may be used on night dresses. A flat seam is appropriate for a nigh dress such that the raw edges of the material do not touch the skin.

 steps in making plain/open seams

This is the most commonly used seam for woven fabrics, stitches with straight stitches, usually 5/8 of an inch (1.5cm) from the raw edges. The stitch length depends on the fabric thickness and the number of layers/being seamed together.

Making plain/open seams

  • Pin the seam edges together through the wrong side of the fabric so that the pins are placed at a right angle to the seam line.
  • Baste the pinned seam close to the seam line, a seam line allowance is normally 5/8 of an inch (1.5cm), so baste just short of this distance from the edge.
  • After completing the basting, remove the pins. Position the needle on the seam line 5/8 of an inch (1.5cm) from the edge, reverse stitch to finish the seam. Remove all basting, open all same allowance and press flat. Neaten the raw edge, if needed, to prevent fraying, by using any of the following methods to finish the seams:
  1. Zigzag stitch
  2. Turn and stitch
  • Trim and zigzag and
  1. Pink the edges with pinking shears

 making seams on brown paper

You can apply the knowledge gained in the previous unit, to the making of plain/open seam on a brown paper

Making run-and-fell seam

To make run and fell seam on a brown paper, use thick yarned knitting to apply stitches on the paper.

  • Stitch a regular (plain) seam with the wrong sides together then press seam allowances together to one side.
  • Trim the under seam allowance to 1/8 of an inch (3mm).
  • Tuck under the raw edge of the upper seam allowance and press in place
  • If you prefer, baste in place, then stitch close to the fold from the right side.

Making French seam

French seams are created with two rows of straight stitching, first with the wrong sides together.

  1. Stitch the first seam 3/8 of an inch (1cm) from the row edges
  2. Trim 10 1/8 of an inch (3mm) and press
  • Turn the fabric so the right sides are together and the seam is on the fold, then stitch again in the same direction, ¼ of an inch (6mm) from the edge.

Evaluation questions

  1. Explain the meaning of seams
  2. Name and explain two types of seams and explain
  3. State the uses of seams
  4. Write short notes on:
  • French seam
  • Run and fell seam


  1. Examine seams displayed by the teacher showing different types of seams
  2. On brown paper supplied, each pupil should make plain/open seam, following each step as demonstrated by the teacher