Are you having problems sewing bulky seams? Grading a seam involves cutting the seam allowance at different widths so that when your project is pressed to the right side, it eliminates bulk and results in a flat seam that sits nicely. It is especially important when you are sewing thicker fabrics in your Winter sewing patterns and will make your sewing projects look professional.
Grading your seams only needs to be done where you will be pressing the seam to one side or in an area such as collar, that will be turned right side out. It is not necessary for straight seams that will be pressed open.
SEWING BULKY SEAMS
Start by sewing your seam as per the instructions in your sewing pattern. This seam had a seam allowance of ½ inch (12mm).
Grade the seam by trimming one of the layers of seam 1/8 inch (3mm) narrower than the other. In this example, I had 2 layers so I left the outside at ½ inch (12mm) and trimmed the other at 3/8 inch (1cm).
In seams where you have more than 2 layers, grade the seams to 3 different layers. You may need to grade a couple of layers to the same width so you are not cutting right back to the seam allowance.
Once you have graded the seam you can press it to one side. I always like to press so that the wider layer is on top and covers the narrower layers underneath.
PRO TIPS – Grading intersecting seams:
Where you have 2 seams which intersect such as the underarms area, trim the ends of the seam into a point to reduce bulk. This way when you press the seam open, there is not 4 layers at the intersection of the 2 seams.
What are you planning on sewing this season? Do you have any extra tips for sewing bulky seams?
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