What Is Seam Allowance? Sewing For Beginners


Understanding seam allowance is an important part of learning to sew. If you don’t sew with the correct seam allowance, your finished item may not look good.

Let’s look at what is seam allowance, why it’s important and how much to use.

Seam allowance is the extra fabric between the seamline and the edge of the fabric when two (or more) pieces of fabric are sewn together.

What is seam allowance?

There is no single standard seam allowance, and can even vary for different seams in the same garment. Every pattern designer has their own preferences for seam allowance.

What is the standard seam allowance?

Extra fabric in the seam allowance means you can let out the seams, if your pattern is too small in an area.

Benefits of a larger seam allowance

A larger seam allowance means there is more fabric on both sides of the needle for the feed dogs to “grab”. This can make the fabric feed more evenly and easily.

It might not seem like much, but a smaller seam allowance uses less fabric. Depending on your pattern layout, you may be able to save fabric.

Benefits of a smaller seam allowance

A smaller seam allowance also creates less bulk. This can be particularly useful on tight curves and small pieces. Note: The bulk can be reduced by trimming the seam allowance after sewing.

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