The double stitched seam is a winner in sewing. Double the work, double the strength, double the amount of thread and sewing time. A double stitched seam is not difficult, and is really a quick and easy method to add strength to a seam. The beauty of this seam is it does not need other ways to neaten the seam edge.
Try it for yourself and see if the double stitched seam gives you twice the amount of confidence in your seam and stitching. This type of seam has the bonus of being able to be machine stitched or hand stitched.
Double Stitched Seam Tutorial
In simple terms, the double stitched seam is a plain seam with an extra row of stitching making a double row of stitching on the wrong side of the fabric.
The double stitched seam has many uses. This basic seam is useful for shirts, blouses, jeans, and sportswear needing some extra strength. It is also used to make curtains, sew pockets and hold stretch knits in place.
How to Sew a Double Stitched Seam
Always try out the tutorial before you start and test the seam on some scraps of fabric. Just sew the two lines of machine stitch on the fabric and see how the strength feels.
Follow these steps to sew a perfect, double stitched seam:
Step 1 - First Seam
Prepare your fabric and match the right sides together and pin the seam in place. If you are a beginner, it may help to mark the seam allowance stitching line for added accuracy.
Sew your first line of stitching on the normal stitching line.
- Make sure you have a straight stitch setting on your machine.
- Test your straight stitch on a scrap of fabric to check your chosen stitch length's sewing machine tension and suitability.
- When you start to sew, make a backstitch to start to ensure the stitches do not unravel.
- Use the seam markings on the plate of the machine to be sure of accuracy all the way.
Step 2 - Second Seam
Sew a second line of stitching about ⅛” to ¼” (3-6mm) away from the first stitching line.
Backstitch this row of stitches as well. This ensures the stitching stays firmly in place.
The extra row is sewn between the first row of stitching and the raw edges of the seam allowance. It serves the very important purpose of preventing fraying of the raw edges and keeping the seam line neat. The double stitched seam gives some extra strength to finer fabrics.
Step 3 - Finish
Finish or trim the raw edge and press the seam to the side. For fine fabrics, it is better to leave the raw edges unfinished.
When to Use a Double Stitched Seam
- Fine Fabrics - The double stitched seam is a perfect match for finer fabrics. Organza, chiffon, and voile are soft sheer fabrics that need the minimum amount of sewing. Sewing soft fabrics like these require a seam that does not show extra seam finishing and bulky neatening techniques.
- Clothing Needing Durability - This seam is perfect for full skirts and dresses where you want the least amount of seam to show, but a firm seam to assemble the garment.
- Stretch Fabrics - Another advantage of this simple seam is when it is used on stretch fabrics. The second row of stitching adds stability to the stretch seam. The seam can then be trimmed down because the stretch fabric will not fray. The double stitched seam is a comfortable and strong seam for stretch fabrics if you do not have a serger.
Double Stiched Seam vs Other Seams
In the ranking of seams, the plain seam is one of the easiest, and first on the list of seams to learn. The plain seam is followed by the double stitched seam with two lines of plain sewing.
The double stitched seam should not be confused with the double topstitched seam. This seam has stitching showing on the right side of the fabric.
Alternate Way to Stitch a Double Stitched Seam
This stitch can be replicated using a twin needle to sew a double line of stitching.
It is important to mark the seam stitching line accurately to ensure the needle on the stitching line adheres to the straight stitch line.
The twin needle will follow at exactly the right distance from the needle stitching on the stitch line. Afterward, trim any excess fabric from the seam allowance.
Hand Stitching the Double Stitched Seam
Try your hand sewing skills on a double stitched seam. If you need to repair something and don't have a sewing machine, this seam would come in handy.
Perhaps you are one of those dedicated sewers who love to restore vintage clothing. Sewing the delicate seams of a Victorian dress or a family christening gown, handed down through the ages, requires delicate hand stitching. The double stitched seam will provide all the neat hand stitching required, and there will be no need for heavy machining.
Step 1 - Preparation
Prepare your fabric and mark the seam line very accurately on both sides of the fabric. Pin the two sides with right sides together and place the pins horizontally to allow for easy hand sewing.
Thread your needle with the correct thread to match the fabric. If you are restoring vintage fabric, it may need linen thread.
Before you start to sew it is a good idea to wax the thread to strengthen it and prevent tangles. A little block of beeswax in your sewing kit is ideal for this purpose. Check your needle size compared to the thickness of the fabric, and have a fine needle for thick fabrics.
Step 2 - Backstitch
The hand stitch you will be using is backstitch because this gives the strongest hand-stitched seam.
Start at the beginning of the area to be stitched, and secure your thread with a double backstitch. Knot the thread if the fabric is particularly fine.
Work your first row of backstitch along the seam line. While you are sewing, check both sides of the fabric to see that you are following the seam line. The front and the back need to match the hand stitch as there are no stitch markings to follow like the ones on a normal sewing machine.
Marking both sides of the fabric gives you the extra guidelines you need on the front and the back of the fabric.
Step 3 - Second Row
Sew your second line of stitching ⅛” or ¼” (3-6mm) away from the original stitching line to complete the double stitched seam.
Step 4 - Trim
Trim any unwanted fabric from the seam allowance and press the seam.
Double Stitched Seam - Creative Ideas
The double stitched seam is a good option for making dolls clothes and small craft items like potholders and tea cozies that may be difficult to sew by machine. Teach your enthusiastic children to sew some simple items and begin to appreciate sewing and making their own gifts for family and friends.
The double stitched seam can be useful in quilt making, if you do not have a machine at hand and would like the joy of piecing together a quilt.
The beauty of the double stitched seam is the fact that the extra line of stitching prevents fraying. Using up scraps with quilting in mind means the fabrics may already be worn, and a gentle hand stitched seam would be the answer to sewing delicate scraps together.
Double Stitched Seam - In Conclusion
There you have it, a very elementary seam with the double value of being stitched twice. The double stitched seam makes a secure seam with the added benefit of keeping the edges neat. Suited to hand or machine sewing, this is a good basic seam to remember.
Stitched twice and twice as nice!!
Thanks for reading all about the double stitched seam. Here are some more articles on seams.