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How to Sew a Plain Seam

This tutorial video will show you how to sew a basic plain seam with a sewing machine. This is a fundamental sewing skill that you will use for many different projects.

Prerequisites

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Iron (optional)

Instructions

What is a Plain Seam?

A plain seam is a simple seam that is sewn right sides together. It is the most common type of seam used in sewing.

Sewing a Plain Seam

  1. Place the right sides of the fabric together.
  2. Line up the edges of the fabric along the seam allowance.
  3. Sew a straight stitch along the seam allowance.
  4. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam to secure it.
  5. Trim the excess threads.
  6. Press the seam open (optional).

Tips for Sewing Plain Seams

  • Use a matching thread color for a finished look.
  • Use a longer stitch length for heavier fabrics and a shorter stitch length for lighter fabrics.
  • If you are sewing a seam that will be under a lot of stress, such as a side seam on a skirt, you can sew a second row of stitching along the seam allowance for extra strength.

Variations on the Plain Seam

  • To finish a plain seam, you can zigzag stitch over the raw edges of the fabric. This can help prevent the fabric from fraying.
  • To create a French seam, sew a plain seam inside out, then trim the seam allowance and turn the seam right side out. Sew another plain seam on the right side of the fabric. This creates a finished seam that is enclosed on both sides.

How to Sew a Plain Seam Video Transcript

This tutorial video will show you how to sew a basic plain seam with a sewing machine. We’re going to look at this fabric and notice that it has a right side and a wrong side. The right side is the more colorful side.

To get started with this plain seam we’re going to put the right sides of the fabric together. Once we have the right sides of the fabric together we’ll lift the presser foot on the sewing machine and place the fabric underneath. And we’ll place it at a 5/8 inch seam allowance. That’s between the half inch mark and the three quarters inch mark. Then we’ll sew a bit, reverse, and back stitch to hold our stitching in place. Then we’ll sew straight along at 5/8 inch distance from the edge of the fabric all the way to the bottom where we’ll stop and then once again we’ll back stitch about five stitches to secure the stitching in place.

Then make sure the needle is all the way up and then we can raise the presser foot and pull the fabric away trimming the threads close. We need to press this open so it will lay flat. As you can see here we can see the right sides of the fabric in the middle this seam is unfinished but it still looks really nice from the other side. Now that we’re at the ironing board we can open up this seam and press it open you can press it to the side if you want but usually it’s pressed open like this. Grab your iron and then press it down applying heat and pressure as needed. This helps to remove bulk and have the fabric lay flat.

Now remember this seam has unfinished edges so it can unravel but it still looks really nice from this side. There are other ways that you can finish seams but this would work if there’s a lining on the garment or you’re using fabric that doesn’t fray too much so it’s a nice simple and quick seam to put things together happy sewing.

Further Reading