Seam Finishes – Pinked Seams

As I finished off my previous post, I realised I hadn’t mentioned the seam finishes used.  Now I’m not sure how many people are actually all that interested in the finish, but if you’re going to have a good looking, long lasting garment, the seam finish is pretty important.  I usually have a fairly good idea of which finish I will be using on each fabric & pattern, but sometimes there could be a few to choose from.

A couple of months ago, Rochelle admitted she hated pinked seams, although she used them a fair bit, and wanted to try out other finishes on her vintage makes.  Now I don’t use this finish on my “normal” stuff, but I think it has its place in the vintage world.  It is one of the simplest and easiest finishes to use & you don’t need to think too much about how it will impact on the construction.  All you do need to think of is the type of fabric you’re using.  I wouldn’t use it on silk, for example!  It is great for use on cottons that have too much bulk for a clean finish or French seam.  I’ve used it in my current project, a medium weight cotton in an early 1960s dress.

Here’s how I get a good result.  First, I sew the seam – sounds obvious, but you have to start somewhere!!  Step two is to sew a straight stitch about 5mm from the edge of the fabric within the seam allowance.

Steps 1 & 2 for a pinked seam

Steps 1 & 2 for a pinked seam

Now you get out the pinking shears and cut along the edge, not cutting though the line of stitching.  The line is there for a guide, so you keep your trimming fairly straight, but it serves a second purpose of not allowing any fraying to go past it & potentially into your seam.

Pinked seam

Pinked seam

As with all seam finishes, the pinked seam has its place.  If this fabric had been lighter & finer, I’d have used a clean finish or even a French seam.  On a blouse or shirt I may have considered a flat fell.  I might post a couple of these mini tutorials so you can see & possibly use the great variety of options there are!

The completed seam.

The completed seam.

Now I need to finish off some hand sewing on this cute dress so it can be photographed in the sunshine later – yay for sun!  Also, “Sew for Victory 2.0” has been announced, who’s in??

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10 responses to “Seam Finishes – Pinked Seams

  1. I’m definitely interested in the finer details of the finish (even though I have never done and vintage sewing). Keep them coming. Lovely fabric on this dress by the way. Can’t wait to the the finished product!

    • It is really pretty stuff, a peony print! You don’t have to only use pinked finishes on vintage sewing. It’s good to know what else is out there, apart from always overlocking.

  2. I used to love using my mum’s pinking shears to cut paper with when I was a child. I don’t have any myself but I’ve been thinking about getting some. And I’m interested in finishes too, they’re often left out of pattern instructions and its good to have several options under your belt.

  3. I’m interested too ! There’s always something new to learn, you don’t know what you don’t know. For example, I don’t know anything about ‘clean finish’… Px

  4. My friend Mrs. Barbara, who taught me embroidery years ago, always said that the back of the work (or, in sewing, the inside of the garment) should always look just as nice as the front. A good seam finish is always a large factor in that — I’m getting more and more snobby with my seam finishes and don’t like using my serger as often these days. 🙂

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