Why You Should ALWAYS Pay Attention To Seam Allowances

When you're ready to sew, you just want to get to it, right? I know I do! But there are important things you never want to ignore when you're sewing up a pattern. And one of those is seam allowances. They can make or break a garment. Ready to find out why?

Why You Should ALWAYS Pay Attention To Seam Allowances

Seam allowances are extremely important in garment construction. Designers take a great deal of time and care to do the math required to make sure you end up with a perfect fit. So we should always pay attention to and follow seam allowances!

What is a seam allowance?

A seam allowance is the space between the raw edge of your fabric and the stitching line you should follow. The measurement of this space will inevitably vary between different designers. And can vary between patterns as well, although most designers will be fairly consistent with their seam allowances. Bella Sunshine typically uses a 3/8" seam allowance. So always make sure you check the instructions for the correct seam allowance before beginning to sew.

What is the function of a seam allowance?

A seam allowance has a few functions. The first (and probably most important) is to protect the stitches from fraying. You can further this function by finishing the edges, especially when working with woven fabrics. Another function of a seam allowance is to allow tailoring/adjustments for particular person post-construction. A seam allowance will allow you to 'let out' a seam to give the wearer a little more room. Or you can 'take in' the seam allowance, making it wider and fitting it tighter to a smaller person.

Why is a seam allowance so important to follow?

If you are making a garment with a specific person in mind, seam allowances are SO important. You should have that person's measurements so that you know what size you are sewing and can do any necessary grading between sizes to ensure a perfect fit. Which is where a seam allowance comes in.

If you use a smaller seam allowance than the pattern calls for, the garment will be too big. Likewise, if you use a larger seam allowance, the garment will end up too small. And yes, fractions of an inch on a seam allowance can make a HUGE difference in the overall fit of a garment. So just be mindful and make sure you follow the pattern's directions!

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