Finishing Tips

I have a confession to make: I am a typical corner cutter. When it comes to sewing I tend to take the easy way out. or I should say I used to because I now believe what they tell me in patterns! it comes from making a very complex pattern – I needed to follow the instructions precisely because there were too many places to go wrong. now I take my time with sewing because nothing ruins a garment more than a bad finish. these are my tips for getting it right fist time. 

Wash your fabric

do you know how dusty fabric gets in the stores? do you know if the fabric will shrink or if there are chemicals on it? will the color run? always pre wash your fabric – it gives old fabric new life, makes new fabrics more supple. it also pre shinks it and gets any excess dye out of it.


Iron your fabric before cutting, it helps get straighter lines and stops mistakes from using crumply fabric. Always press your seams flat after sewing. you wont believe how much nicer it looks and it helps you sew better when it comes to attaching pieces. it helps to press hems up before sewing as well and creates a much better finish without rolling.

Read the instructions first!

Make sure you are familiar with the instructions before you start and refer to them often. if you are using a selection, collate them and perhaps paste them into a scapbook before you start so you dont miss a step.

Seam finishing

finish your seams with an overlocker or a zigzag stitch to stop fraying. this will make your garment more hardy. for seams with more than one fabric layer trim the layers with the top one the smalles and each one slightly longer – this will help them to stay flat.


always clip or notch curves. it needs to lie flat – if it isn’t then notch it more. if it lies completely flat with no puckering, then it is right. for outward curves just snip little lines up to the stitching line (dont cut the thread!) at about 90 degrees from the stich line. for inward curves cut little tringles out instead.


make pieces in a logical order, if a bodice needs to fit over a skirt make the skirt first and take time fitting the bodice over it. take time hemming too, to make sure that layered skirts and such are the same length.

By Lady Lisette la Mandeta

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