A couple of days ago I posted the above photo of the front of my blush trench coat to Instagram, to highlight some of the details and a couple of generous ladies said how professional it looked. On the back of that, I thought that I would compile a list of ways that I achieve a finish like that and share it here. Taking time with the various stages of sewing projects really pays off and you can take your sewing from “nice” to “Wow! You made that???”
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So without further ado, let’s get cracking:
14 Ways To Get A Professional Finish when Sewing Clothes
1. Try to get to know your body and perfect the fit of your clothes…I had a great comment on my post on Instagram that I want to share here…it’s by Louise (@demuredesigns) and she
2. Before cutting out, check fabric nap and or pattern direction/placement.
3. Pre-wash and preshrink your chosen fabrics. Some interfacings need to be preshrunk in warm water too. Edited to add, as mentioned by RosieLynn in the comments, is that it’s really worth paying that bit extra for a good quality interfacing as it helps garments to hang and handle well…I couldn’t agree more! One of the types that I often use is ‘Perfect Fuse’ interfacings by Palmer, Pletsch (I’m not sure I can get it in the UK any more 🙁 ) or I use this one from Tailor Mouse
4. Think about the pattern layout to match checks stripes accurately. RTW clothes often have poorly matched patterns (my pet peeve).
I’m rather proud of my matching in this skirt 🙂 (post here)
6. Baste/tack especially tricky areas. This really saves time in the long run. When I baste I hardly ever have to rip out seams.
7. Choose appropriate seam finishes to suit fabrics and the garment that you’re making. Overlock or do a Hong Kong binding for unlined garments. If you’re sewing sheer fabrics use French seams.
8. Use sew in or iron-on *seam tape for areas that could stretch out. And add facings for a clean finish.
9. Always understitch facings.
10. For a cleaner finish/look, use concealed zips instead of sewing a standard zip with the lapped method of insertion. I have a concealed zip tutorial here.
11. Topstitch for crisp neat edges on your finished garment (especially coats and jackets). It adds that extra professional finishing touch. I love topstitching!
12. Choose the right hem finish for your garment and the fabric you used. Handstitched ones look good on dressy pants and skirts. Machine stitched hems work on denim and cotton and can give a more casual vibe. If you use a sheer or delicate fabric try a machined roll hem or one done on an overlocker/serger. Knits look good with a twin needle hem.
13. Press your finished garment really well. I can’t stress this enough. Bouncy un-pressed edges and seams look unfinished and don’t give the professional look that we’re after here. It’s a good idea to invest in
14. Finally, how about some added extra’s like a fancy coat chain to hang up with? Or what about adding a little extra edging/binding insert along the seam where lining meets garment (tutorial here)? Or a fancy print instead of plain fabric to line your garment with? You could use a contrast fabric to bind the seams of an unlined garment too.
There are probably other ideas to add to this list and if you can think of something that I’ve missed, please mention it in the comments and I’ll edit my post with credit to you 🙂
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