Sunday, September 28, 2008

Satin Edge Flat Fell Seam

One of the details on BWOF 03/2008-126 I especially liked was the seam on the front legs of the pants. It’s actually a modified flat fell seam that is decorated with a satin stitch. I love subtle details, but I wanted the satin stitching to stand out - just a little. So, I considered using either woolly nylon (shown on left) or machine embroidery thread (shown on right) rather than all-purpose thread for the satin stitching. After some testing, it was easy to see that machine embroidery thread was the better choice.

Click on photos to enlarge

Rather than offsetting the seam allowances, as is sometimes done in a flat fell seam, two different seam allowances are adding during tracing: a 1” allowance (shown on the left) and the normal 5/8” allowance, shown on the right.

On the 1” seam allowance, I drew a line 5/8” away from the seam line and pressed that amount to the wrong side, making both seam allowances 5/8 “.

The satin edge stitching is done along the pressed edge. I used a width of 5 and length of 0 .7 and Bernina’s foot #2 - overlock foot to prevent the fabric from tunneling under the stitches.

Once the satin edge stitching was finished, I sewed the seam, wrong sides together. Both seam allowances were now 5/8” .

I trimmed away 3/8” on the seam allowance without satin stitching and pressed the remaining seam allowance over the trimmed allowance.

The final step was to topstitch the satin edge to the fabric.

The result is a decorative flat fell seam that, from a distance, looks a little like piping. It can be used in a number of garments where a flat fell seam already exists or added into a garment as a decorative detail.

Typical of BWOF, a simple process was obscured under awkwardly translated directions. But with persistence and help (Tany pointed out the unequal seam allowances months ago when I asked for her help. I’m sure she’s forgotten by now!) I achieved a design detail I really like!


  1. Beautiful work, Elaray. I really like this technique. You should save it in your sidebar as a tutorial.
    I've tagged you in a meme. If you'd like to play, the info's on my blog.

  2. What a nice detail! The embroidery thread is perfect and really adds that extra bit of interest to the seam.

  3. Way to go, taking it up a notch on your garments and providing a tutorial to boot. Thanks!

    (Need cute kitty pix, please)

  4. Love this detail. Subtle details can really take an ordinary pair of pants into the extraordinary! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I do remember you asking my opinion about this detail! You did an outstanding job!

  6. Wonderful detail on those flat fell seams. Isn't it amazing the difference the thread makes?
    Thanks too for the tip on using the #2 foot, I wouldn't have thought of that. Perfect solution.

  7. Wow! Thank you for the tutorial - I've clipped it and will definitely give it a try sometime soon. :)