Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Flat Fell(ed) Seams

I was trying to get my sewing fix with reading and sitting at the table transferring dart markings. Now I'm ready to put some of the techniques I read about into practice.

But I did discover some interesting things while reading about flat fell seams.  On page 19 the Singer Sewing Skills Reference Book refers to flat felled seams in greater detail than the contemporary sewing books I have on my bookshelf. I have also found that this seam is known by a few other names: flat-fell seam or felled seam.

Over time one thing has not changed, the observation that this is a seam used to achieve a tailored appearance commonly found in men's wear and contemporary sportswear.

My copy of the "Singer Sewing Skills Reference Book" notes that
[m]anufacturers differ in their handling of flat felled seams, but usually the seam edges that are blended are the back seam edge on side seams, the back seam edge on sleeve seams, the sleeve on armhole seams, the garment section on yoke seams and the front seam edge on shoulder seams (20).
Trimming the right side of the seam allowance down 1/4"
I found this observation to be true with sewing instructions too. Vogue 1263 is one of the patterns in my stash that has instructions for flat fell seams.

The Donna Karan design jacket calls for the inclusion of flat fell seams at the centre back seam, upper side back side seams, across the upper and lower back seam, front to front seam and the upper and under sleeve seams. There is a lot of flat felling to be done!

Maybe this might be just the sewing project to ease me back into it. I'll have to be patient and take things slow to achieve a neat flat fell seam.  

Considering the fabric, I trimmed off a wee bit more.
Part of me can understand why some people have opted to omit this decorative and tailored look on their versions of this jacket.

PattyE's jacket looks beautiful and it was tempting to follow her footsteps on the construction of this jacket.

But I like the look of flat fell seams, that or I'll have to admit I'm a glutton for punishment.

The instructions for the flat fell seam found in Vogue 1263 pattern instructions are by far my favourite. 

Fold the uncut seam allowance over tucking 1/4" and press.
I really didn't have to crack open my sewing reference books. But I will admit that it was interesting to compare the different versions of instructions and the historical comparison. 

Sew it was time to put away the books. Besides, I think I've been away from the sewing machines for way too long.  

I did have to tweak it according to my fabric since I am working with a fabric choice heavier in weight than the recommended fabric suggestions.  

Now that it is pressed, I'm ready to stitch close to the edge.
I trimmed off a little more than a quarter inch so that it would be easier to rolled the uncut allowance over the bulk.  

Press the rolled seam allowance with a steam setting. And then it was ready to take to the sewing machine to be stitched down.  

I think it worked out nicely. And I do like the look of this seam. The extra work put into it is well worth it, I think. 

I can't wait till it is all finished. It might take awhile, there are quite a few seams to be flat-felled. And I find the need to take frequent breaks. I'm not sure if it is the rib injury or that I dislike ironing (maybe a bit of both). Well, until then, here's a teaser... 
How it looks on the right side.  

1 comment:

  1. What timing! I found your blog while searching for info about flat felled seams. I am working on a reversible quilted jacket. I've been able to flat fell all the seams (shoulder, collar, and under sleeve) so far, but now I have reached setting the sleeve into the body. I have to turn under one of the flat felled seams as a fold over edge. Every other seam I was able to use the seam allowance that did not have a felled seam in it for the turned over edge. Do your books have any instructions on how to trim or turn a felled seam? Thanks for any help you can provide.



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