Tutorial: How to sew a flat felled seam without a specialty foot
Now, I’m not known for kids patterns (I leave that to the experts like Oliver + S and Figgy’s), but I do agree that boys of all ages sometimes get short shrift in the sewing department. There’s no reason for that, because sewing menswear (and boyswear? Is that a word?) is a true joy.
But one thing that helps in getting a beautiful result when sewing for men and boys is understanding the right techniques to apply. And one of the most common techniques in sewing for guys is the flat felled seam.
What is a flat felled seam?
A flat felled seam is basically an overlapping seam that’s sewn flat. It’s used frequently in menswear because it’s extremely durable and sturdy, in addition to providing a neat finish. If you’re wearing jeans, take a look at the seams. They are almost certainly flat felled. They’re also used throughout our Negroni shirt pattern. Use a flat felled seam on shirts or trousers, which see a lot of stress, and you’ll get a durable finish.
How do I do it?
There are multiple ways to sew this kind of seam. There’s even something called a “mock felled seam,” which Caitlin is going to share here on Monday (stay tuned).
Now, there’s a specialty foot available for many sewing machines, known as a “felling foot,” or a “lap seam foot.” I’ve also written a tutorial today for sewing a flat felled seam with the specialty foot, but this post is dedicated to doing it with just your regular, run of the mill, standard presser foot.
- Fabric shears
- Standard presser foot
- The two pieces of fabric your joining together
- An iron
First, pin the seam, with right sides together, just like you normally would.
Now sew the seam normally, using a 5/8″ allowance, unless your pattern specifies otherwise.
Take your shears, and trim one side of the seam allowance, so that it’s half the width of the other seam allowance.
Fold the wider seam allowance over the narrower one and press. For the strongest seam, you want the raw edge of the wider side to come all the way to the stitching line (ours looks a bit short in the photo).
Fold the whole seam allowance over and press it flat. As you can see, all the raw edges are neatly tucked within.
Finally, edgestitch the seam allowance in place.
This is the finished seam, on the right side.
And this is the wrong side. You can actually use either side of the flat felled seam on the outside of a garment, it just depends on what look you prefer for the item you’re making.
If you’re interested in learning how this is done with a specialty foot, check out my second tutorial today: Sewing a flat felled seam with a felling foot. And finally, be sure to stop by the giveaway I’m doing for the Negroni men’s shirt pattern and enter to win one, so you can try this out on the grown-up boy of your choice.