Self-enclosed Seams: Meaning and Types

Seams give all clothing and other sewn things their structure and shape, from the hem to the pockets to the darts in a shirt. There are many different types of seams, so be sure to take the fabric type and purpose of the garment into account when choosing one. Frayed seams and a diversity of stitches can be employed to create a more casual look, while uniform stitches and high-quality seam finishes are crucial for higher-end clothing. The two types of seams are open and closed. When the seam allowance—the piece of fabric that is between the edge of the fabric and the stitches—is visible, the seam is said to be open. A closed seam hides the seam allowance by incorporating it into the seam finish.

You don’t want the visible fabric borders of your seam allowances to be visible on the outside when sewing garments or anything else with see-through materials, heavy textiles, or tearing fabrics. When this happens, an enclosed seam can save the day. This seam has no apparent seam allowance on either side of the seam, which is highly tidy and professional.

What is a self-enclosed seam?

The joining of two or more layers of fabric creates a seam. Fraying and ravelling are prevented by a finish. Self-enclosed is a seam in which the raw edge is concealed within the seam rather than being exposed. A disadvantage is that it may be bulky. Advantage: Will appear polished and professional, and will withstand the laundry process better.

Flat-felled Seam

A felled seam, also known as a flat-felled seam, is created by tucking one edge of the cloth inside the folded edge and sewing the fold down. The rough edges are contained by the fold, which keeps them from fraying. Using a whipstitch or a topstitch, the fold can be held in place. It helps hide raw edges and maintain the flatness of seam allowances. The flat-felled seam, despite the fact that it appears reversed to minimise stitching, is the kind of seam that is used to make denim jeans. Traditional tipi construction also makes use of it. Both flat-felled and lap-felled seams are possible. A flat-felled seam can be used on more than just denim. Even delicate fabrics like voile can be used with it.

A self-enclosed seam, also known as a flat felled seam, provides the seam line as well as overall fabric durability. This is the most favourable seam stitching technique out of the three. It is a very expert seam finish that also looks after the edges of the cut fabric. The folded seam allowance completely encloses the bare edges. As a result, both the front and the back of the fabric appear tidy and clean. The leg seams of jeans are the best illustration of a flat-felled seam. Nearly all types of sewing also employ it. Either the front or the back of the fabric can be used for the seam fold.

French Seams

French seams are closed seams that are typically used for delicate textiles that tear readily. A tidy double seam entirely encloses the seam’s unfinished edges. Although it is simple to sew, the first section of the seam must be stitched with the wrong sides together. Trimmed and encased in the seam are the raw edges. To stitch the correct sides together, the seam is turned. The second row of simple stitches is stitched, and the seam is finished by enclosing the raw edges.

French seams are simply regular seams that have been stitched twice with the cut edges carefully concealed. From the outside, it appears precisely like a regular seam, but when you peek inside, you notice another folded seam rather than the standard seam allowance. French seams are the ideal edge finish for seams and signify something delicate and understated in sewing. The fabric’s folds conceal the seam allowance’s underside as well as the cloth’s cut edges. It has a thin interior seam that is tidy and undetectable.

Overlapping Seam

The simplest seam to stitch is the overlapping seam, often known as the “overlapped seam.” Overlapping seams are less water-resistant than other types of seams because the needle holes in them go straight through the fabric from top to bottom without the fabric being folded. The overlapping seam has the advantage of using the least amount of fabric overall. This course is excellent for beginners. It is most frequently applied to sailmaking when an extremely flat sail profile is desired. It’s also a wonderful seam for huge projects because sewing a more intricate seam on a vast cloth assembly can be challenging and tricky. Contrary to other seams that have three or four layers of folded or overlapped cloth at the seam, the overlapping seam only has two layers that overlap. This seam is frequently used on large coverings, awnings, and canopies in addition to sails.


Every garment and accessory made of cloth needs seams because they connect the pieces of material to form the finished product. Hems, necklines, and other edges are finished using seams. Darts, which are used to define hips, waists, and bustlines, are components of seams that give clothing shape. The kind of cloth you’re employing and the desired final appearance of an item will both influence the sort of seam you select. French seams, for example, work best with lighter-weight fabrics. For harder textiles like denim, bulkier enclosed seams, such as the flat felled seam, are preferable. Select the appropriate stitch length as well, because a longer stitch increases the likelihood that the cloth will pucker. Incorporating enclosed seams into your projects is a fantastic idea because they offer a neat finish and are more beautiful than zigzag or overlocking. An outside seam has the potential to be a very adorable detail with the right topstitching thread.

Updated on: 13-Feb-2023


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