Julie Bowersett


Blog Writing Course Alumni

From Guide to Art Schools


« Bag of the Week 40 | Main | Bag of the Week 39 »

Underlining and Seam Finish in One

The technique I am about to describe allows you to underline a garment and finish the seams in one procedure -- this makes the most beautiful seam finish and is not much more work than simply underlining (less, if you are planning to hand baste the layers together). This works on almost any vertical seam such as the side and center back seams of a skirt (or the seams on a gored skirt) as well as princess lines.  I cannot take credit for this idea.  The first place I learned about it was in a class with Cynthia Guffey but I believe the technique has been around for many years.

When cutting your underlining, add 5/8 inch to the seam allowances along the vertical seams. If you are using 5/8 inch seam allowances you'll cut them 1.25 inches wide. Place the underlining and fashion fabric RST and pin the vertical edges together -- the underlining will not lie flat as it is bigger than the fashion fabric. Sew these edges together with a 1/4 inch seam. Turn the panels right sides out. Press the edges so the underlining wraps around the edge of the fashion fabric and lies flat -- this looks a bit like a Hong Kong Finish. The following photo shows what this will look like.

The piece on the right is what the fabric piece will look like once the pressing is complete. The piece on the left is what the seam will look like once it is sewn and pressed open.

Once this part is completed you treat the two layers as one and complete your garment as usual. You can baste the upper edge together if necessary.

Here's a picture of the inside of a wool skirt where I used this technique, underlining with silk organza

This is a picture of a skirt made from sheer pink linen.

On this skirt I had planned to line but not underline. I discovered that the linen fabric was so sheer that the pressed seam allowances showed through unattractively. I used the lining fabric (bemberg rayon) to underline and finish the seams which also prevented any show-through of the seam allowances, a benefit lining would not have afforded.

This is an easy and elegant way to finish any vertical seam in a garment. It eliminates the need for a lining and gives a couture look to the inside of your garment. I don't think you will be disappointed in the results.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (7)

Thanks for this really helpful post. I'm definitely going to be using this finish agin in the future.

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKerry

what a useful tip! thanks

June 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersewing princess

I love this technique. I was wondering, how does this work with a princess seam? Does there come a point where the seam is just too curved for this to be effective? I always have to notch and clip my princess lines over the bust to help the seam lie smoothly, hence the question!
Thank you for any advice you can offer.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVicki Kate

I was in your 3 classes at the expo this week. March 6, 7, 8. I enjoy immensely your classes and learned a lot. I took a lot of notes and hopefully I will be able to practice them. Miss Gofney can be very proud of you. You are an excellent seamstress and teacher. Thank you again.

March 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSheila Wagner

thank you so much for sharing this technique, I make a lot of fancy/applique and crazy work clothes and this will be a great way to line them.love, sara

May 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSara Crystal

Thank you for sharing this technique. I am self taught and it is these finer techniques that are missing from my garments. No more bulky seams!

March 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

I’m so excited! This is the best new technique I’ve learned in years. Thank you for sharing! I’m using this on a couple of dresses I’m making for Beautiful Granddaughters for this weekend. Beautiful, perfect finish!

March 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterWillaCharles

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>