Different Types of Seams & How To Use Them [GUIDE]

Sewing and stitching are some of the basic things that everyone does once in a lifetime. There are some professionals and experts out there who have turned these work into a profession. Before some time there where only basic sewing machines available that can only be used for basic stitching and sewing work. Since technology has evolved, different types of advanced sewing machines have been launched so far. These days you can buy sewing machines and do all types of basic to advanced work without any issues. The best thing about these machines is that they are cheaper and are often small in size so they can be used at home.

Owning a heavy-duty sewing machine is not the only thing you need to do to master the sewing work, but you must have knowledge about the work too. If you are new to sewing and stitching, then you might need to understand some basic terms and their uses before starting. Here in this post we are going to tell you everything about seams and will also tell you about their uses. Currently, there are different types of seams being used out there but only a few of them are popular. If you are thinking to learn more about seams with their uses then you have landed on the correct page. Do read this post till the end to know about some of the most popular seams around the world.

Different Types of Seams & How To Use Them

What Is A Seam & Types of Seams

Before you get started reading about different seams you must know what actually does a seam means? Seam is basically a joint of two or more layers of fabrics. When you join different layers of fabrics with each other, then the joint or stitch on them is known as seam. Since there are different types of fabrics available out there, different types of seams are made on them to join them. It completely depends on the fabric you are working with and on the output you want, which type of seam is perfect for you. We recommend you to read about different seams mentioned in this post so you can easily differentiate between them.

List of Different Types of Seams Sewing Machine

Seam NameDifficulty Level
Plain SeamVery Easy
Plain Seam With A Single StitchEasy
Plain Seam With Double Top StitchEasy
Hairline SeamMedium
Bound SeamMedium
Lapped Seam (Tucked Seam)Hard
French SeamEasy
Flat Felled Seam or Run and Fell SeamEasy
Mock Flat Fell Seam (Welt Seam )Medium
Corded or Piped SeamHard
Faced SeamEasy
Hemmed Fell SeamEasy
Mock French SeamMedium
Serged SeamVery Hard
Slot SeamMedium
Counter SeamEasy
Butt SeamEasy
Sheet Seam/Linen SeamVery Hard
Hand-Stitched Seam – With Ladder StitchVery Easy
Taped SeamMedium

Different Types of Seams and Their Uses

1) Plain Seam

Plain Seam

The first and the most basic seam around the world is the plain seam. As the name says, this seam doesn’t have any design nor it requires any special skills and tools. The best thing about this seam is that it can also be done with the hands. When Juki sewing machines were not invented, people were doing plain seam with their hands.

In most of the cases, the plain seam is made with straight stitches but people have started experimenting with this seam with zig-zag, and other fancy stitches. Plain seam does not require any special equipment or sewing machine and this seam can be done even with the basic sewing machines available out there.

2) Plain Seam With A Single Stitch

Plain Seam With A Single Stitch

This seam is a variant of the plain seam but it is made with only a single stitch. There are different ways in which you can make this single stitch seam as we have mentioned above. If you are new to single stitch plain seam, then we will recommend you to watch a few videos on YouTube to learn more about it.

You can also customize this stitch according to your needs and design required. Since the stitches in this seam are single, you must not expect it to be a strong stitch. Though, if you want then you can use a thick thread and high-quality fabric to make a decorative plain seam with a single stitch but a stronger one.

3) Plain Seam With Double Top Stitch

Plain Seam With Double Top Stitch

This seam was introduced to increase the effectiveness of the plain seam. In this seam, you make double stitches instead of single to make the stitch stronger on the fabric. The design of the seam can be customized according to the needs and these types of seams are mostly used for decorative and embroidery purposes.

This seam is stitched by making two stitches one after another on the same fabric but at both sides. The distance between the two stitches must be equal and they must look parallel to each other. In some cases, stitches are made together by joining them at the end. This helps the user to get the desired length and design of the stitch.

4) Hairline Seam

Hairline Seam

Hairline Seam is mostly used with chiffon and sheers because these are not easy to handle on a regular sewing machine. If you don’t have a serger then you might need to use the sewing machine and apply hairline seam on your fabrics to create chiffon and sheers without any issues. This seam works and looks exactly what it is named.

This seam is used mostly on the collars and other enclosed areas where seams are not visible directly. This type of seam is done on the backside but only on certain fabrics since it cannot be done on heavy and thick fabrics. Because of its nature, this seam can be done using the basic to medium-level sewing machines too.

5) Bound Seam

Bound Seam

Bound seam might look like the French seam but it is completely different from that. This seam type is mostly used to finish the edges of fabric or clothing. In bound seam, one piece of fabric is placed on the edge of another fabric in a way that it compressed the raw edges of the fabric it is put on.

While this seam type is used mostly to make the edges clutter-free, a lot of people are using it for decorative purposes as well. You can put some decorative plating on the edges of fabrics to give it a modern look. There are more than 15 variants of Bound seam and you can see this seam easily on the neckline of a t-shirt.

6) Lapped Seam (Tucked Seam)

Lapped Seam

Lapped Seam is a method of seaming where you seam two fabrics together by overlapping one on another. This seam type must have both the fabrics stitched on the right side. By keeping the overlapping you will end up with two layers of fabrics instead of four. This seam method is pretty interesting but hard at the same time.

Only medium to thick fabrics like leather, suede, etc. can be used for this type of seam along with sewing machines for leather. This seam might look like the French seam but in this seam, you will get a clean perfect finish on the top instead of a hidden seam. The seam must be done only on one side of the fabrics and not on both sides to keep it clean.

7) French Seam

French Seam

The French Seam is used on lightweight fabrics that require a neat finish on the edges. Instead of sewing the right side of the fabrics, French Seam requires you to sew the wrong side first so you can have an extra part of the fabric to sew it inside and have a clean edge. This seam cannot be done with the hands and you will need a sewing machine for it.

While it is not necessary but in some cases, you might need a scissor and iron to level the edges of the fabric. In this seam, you will have to mark the lines for creating stitches. Once you have seamed the wrong side, mark a parallel line to the previous one, and seam on the right side. The ending will have a clean and neater look.

8) Flat Felled Seam or Run and Fell Seam

Flat Felled Seam

Flat Felled Seam is very durable and this seam is used mostly in jeans, shirts, trousers, etc. and other clothing made with thick fabrics like denim and leather. This seam looks exactly like its name, a flat seam. You can use this seam either to adjust the size of the fabric or to cover up the raw and unfinished edges of the fabric.

In this seam, you will have to place either two different fabrics on each other or the folded part of a single fabric. Then you have to sew on the right side (unlike other seams that are made on the wrong side first). Trim down the excess part of each fabric and then press them together. Make another seam from the right side for the leftover.

9) Mock Flat Fell Seam (Welt Seam )

Mock Flat Fell Seam - Welt Seam

Unlike the flat seam mentioned above, this seam will keep the raw edges open (on the wrong side) so it is easier to make than the Flat Felled Seam. This seam is used mostly with thick fabrics and materials where seaming is not possible thoroughly. Though you can also make this seam on fabrics that aren’t used much or professionally.

Since you are going to seam only on one side, you can also use different stitching patterns like zig-zag in this seam. You need to seam one part of the fabric inside (wrong side), then trim down the excess fabric with scissor and press down the fabric to make it flat. Use the sewing machine to seam the leftover to make another seam.

10) Corded or Piped Seam

Corded or Piped Seam

A corded seam is a decorative seam as this seam uses different fabrics and a decorative cord that can be a zipper, elastic cord, or just a stip of the fabric. Well, this seam can be done on any sewing machine but make sure you have a zipper foot as it comes really handy in this seam. If not, then use any cord that is suitable for your machine.

By placing the cord in the middle of your fabric, you need to create a sandwich of it. Fold the fabric on to the cord and sew along with the cord. You need to stitch as close as to the cord without touching or sewing it. Once done, you can press the seam to make it flat. Then, you need to repeat the same process on the other side of the cord.

11) Faced Seam

Faced Seam

The faced seam is also known as an edging seam because this seam is done on the edges of the fabrics. You can see this seam pattern most only the armholes, necklines, and waistlines. Before you start, you might need to draw a pattern of the seam so it can be stitched easily. Well, you can use any type of fabric and sewing machine for this.

In this seam, the edges of both fabrics must match in shape. If you are considering a specific pattern, then you might need to cut both fabrics in the same pattern and design. The best thing about this seam is that you can use different sewing methods and techniques to get the desired result as it is not limited to any particular stitching type.

12) Hemmed Fell Seam

Hemmed Fell Seam

This seam is most used in the undergarments or the clothing that is worn next to the skin. This seam is used to get the desired design and pattern of the clothing. In this seam, two fabrics are stitched flat where one fabric overlaps the other fabric. You can also use a sewing machine to make this seam but it will require a good feed dog.

Hemmed Fell Seam is very strong and that is why you must use a strong thread to make it. You might need a scissor to cut off the extra fabric after sewing for the first time and joining two fabrics together. After that press the extra fabric on to the previous stitch and make another stitch parallel to the original seam to get the desired result.

13) Mock French Seam

Mock French Seam

This seam is a variant of the French seam but it is a little bit different from that. This seam is used to make the edges of the fabrics look neat so you can also use sewing machines for beginners too for this seam. The French seam does not work on the curved edges of fabric but this isn’t the case with Mock French Seam as it can be done on the curved fabrics that are lightweight and medium weight.

In this seam, you have to encase the raw edges of a fabric inside the seam so you can have a neat finish. Stitch two fabrics together and fold each side (inside) of the seam into half so their edge meets the center. Pull out the folded edges together and sew them with the same thread you used before and this is how you get Mock French seam.

14) Serged Seam

Serged Seam

As the name says, a serged seam is made with the help of a serger. Though you can also use some heavy-duty sewing machines to make it but it will definitely take more time than the serger. There are multiple stitches made in this seam so it is definitely strong steam and it is helpful in keeping everything in its place.

You must make this seam on lightweight fabrics as thick fabrics might not hold the stitches made in this seam. It doesn’t matter if you want to keep the seams flat or open as the stitches play an important role in it. You just need to make an overlocking stitch on two pieces of fabrics with 3 or more fabrics to get a serged seam.

15) Slot Seam

Slot Seam

Slot Seam is used mostly for decorative purposes as this seam is always visible both on the front and backside of the fabric. This seam is basically a line between the fabric which goes straight from one end to the other end. You can use this seam on different fabrics but you must have a sewing machine for that.

To make this seam, you need to place a perfect width and length fabric under two fabrics. You need to stitch both the edges of fabric placed under to attach it with the upper fabrics. Make sure there is a thin space between both the fabrics on the top and the fabric that is placed under them is visible from the gap.

16) Counter Seam

Counter Seam

A counter seam is also known as Countertop seam and this seam is used mostly on the heavy fabrics and materials that can’t be cut neatly. Not only clothing but this seam is also used in other materials too along with Singer sewing machines. If you have got material with raw edges, then you can take advantage of this seam to sew them one over another.

To make this seam, you have to place the right side of the fabric on the wrong or raw edges part of the other fabric. Keeping the top fabric parallel to others, you can sew them together so they get joined. If you want to get a neater look and stitch, then you can create folds on the edges of both fabrics and then sew them together.

17) Butt Seams

Butt Seam

You can use a sewing machine to make this type of seam as it does not require precision in work. In this seam, two fabrics are attached together with zig-zag or chain stitch without a stronger stitch. You can see this type of seam in lingerie and other similar clothing. Well, this might not be a good seam to use on thick fabrics.

This is rough sewing and you don’t have to make it look good as this seam is done only temporarily. Without giving any special design or shape, you can make butt seams with any fabric material you want. The only requirement here is that you must join the endpoints of each fabric together and not any one of them from the middle or anywhere else.

18) Sheet Seam/Linen Seam

Sheet Seam - Lined Seam

Sheet seam or Linen seam is a way to join two seams together. If you have two different fabrics that already have a seam on them, then you can join them using this seam. Well, it doesn’t matter if the stitch pattern on both fabrics is the same or different, you can always use sheet seam or linen seam to join them together.

This seam is pretty strong as both fabrics already have a seam on them. To make this seam, you have to interlock those seams together by pulling in and out the fabric along the seam. This seam is mostly done on the fabric edges as they are easy to join. In case you are new to it, you can take a 1-inch width and length fabric to create a seam in the middle.

19) Hand-Stitched Seam – With Ladder Stitch

Hand-Stitched Seam – With Ladder Stitch

Well, a hand-stitched seam can be done either with the hands or with a sewing machine too. This is one of the oldest seam types around the world and it is really helpful too. If you have ever tightened your pants or trousers from the waist, then you might have seen tailor giving a short seam by folding a little part of the fabric.

You need to sew on the folded edges of the fabric and stitch it in a way that it does not show. You don’t have to make it visible else this will not be called a hand-stitched seam. The ladder stitch is just a way of stitching the fabric so it looks like a ladder and you have to make a knot in the middle of each stitch to make it stronger.

20) Taped Seam

Taped Seam

Last but not the least is the Taped seam which is basically a protective seam that is used on the fabrics to protect their stitches. It doesn’t matter what type of stitches or fabrics you are working with, you can always use this seam to protect its stitches. In this seam, the tape is used to cover the stitches completely.

You can consider using any type of tape but in most cases, people prefer using plastic ones as they can protect the stitches from water and other harsh weather conditions. You can also use this seam to protect your stitches from getting damaged by constant usage. While this seam is not popular it definitely comes handy many times.

Final Words

So this is all about different types of seams and stitches and we hope now you know about them. Remember that there are many more types of sewing seams that are being made by people out there but we have mentioned only the most popular among them. You can use these types of seam to get some unique finish on your fabrics.

We will keep this post updated with more types of stitching seams, so keep visiting this blog to know about them. If you have made any unique seam or you know about any other good seam that we haven’t mentioned in this post then you can let us know about it via the comments below so we can add it to the list.

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