Today’s seam is somewhat of a variation on the French Seam. Unlike the French Seam, a Self Bound Seam is worked on a completed seam. So if you decide down the track that your seams would be better off enclosed, as long as your seam allowance is wide enough you can do this. Great when you don’t have the time to finish them off now, but want to wear your garment out tonight!
The pressing of this seam can be fiddly, but it provides a neat finish on light to medium fabrics and lays nice and flat. As the name implies, the seam is bound by one side of the seam allowance which is folded and stitched over the other trimmed down seam allowance.
How to Sew a Self Bound Seam – Tutorial
Ideally, you want to start with a 12 – 15mm (1/2 – 5/8″) wide seam allowance. If your seam is thinner, you may just find the pressing a bit fiddly. Sew your seam with right sides facing and press it to set the stitches.
Trim the top seam allowance to 3mm (1/8″).
Fold the bottom, wider seam allowance over so that the raw edge almost meets the raw edge of trimmed seam allowance. Press this fold into the seam allowance. Turn off the steam on your iron if you’re worried about burning your fingers, or use a ruler or your scissors to hold the fold in front of the iron.
Now, fold the wider seam allowance over again encasing the trimmed seam allowance. Press the fold into the seam allowance again. It should be almost touching the original seam stitches.
Working on only the seam allowance, stitch along the fold close to your seam.
Now, press* the seam open with the finished seam to one side. Voilà!*On lightweight delicate fabrics, it’s a good idea to place a pressing cloth or piece of brown paper between the fabric and seam allowance to prevent a pressing line showing on the front of the garment.