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Fabric finishing techniques: clean finish

With a clean finish you can hide all your raw edges while having them pressed open. It’s actually a great finish that I discovered just recently but it’s very useful for those garments where you don’t really want any raw edge to show but fabric or style are not suitable for a french seam or a flat-felled seam. In this case you can opt for the clean finish: it’s easy and the results are great! I’ve recently used it for a silk shantung ceremony dress and I was very happy with the result: edges won’t fray and the finish is durable and clean. I would use it for many projects, even with lined garments… it just gives a much more professional look!

Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: 2 / 5


Sew the two pattern pieces right sides together with a standard 1.5 cm (5/8″) seam allowance. Press the seams flat and then press them open.


Fold each seam allowance under to about half its original size. Stitch it in place, moving all other layers of fabric out of your way (be careful not to stitch through the right side of the garment!).


When stitching so close to the edge you cannot use the seam allowance guides of your sewing machine and things can get messy. A blind hem foot is just perfect for this job! Place the fabric under your machine and adjust the needle position so that your stitching line will be really close to the edge, about 1-2 mm (1/8″ or 1/16″) away. Use the blind hem foot guide to sew in a straight line perfectly on the edge!


Trim both seam allowances down as close as possible to the stitching line (be careful not to rip any stitch!).


Give your seam allowances a good press and you’re done! Enjoy your freshly-made clean finish!

2 responses to “Fabric finishing techniques: clean finish”

  1. When is it suitable to finish the seam allowances? As you’re putting the garment together or after you’ve finished?

    • Hello Edie, thanks for your comment! You want to finish your seam allowances as you go as it’s the easiest way to do it ’cause they are much more accessible. Hope this helps!

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