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Construction Tip: Trimming Seam Allowances

It’s the little things in life that matter and it’s the little things in sewing that make a difference.

When I wasn’t sewing lingerie, which has consumed my life as of late, this tip would have been handy. Scratch that. Even when sewing lingerie, this tip is handy. After sewing a seam and pressing it open, I used to arbitrarily trim (or grade) one seam allowance (to reduce bulk). There was no rhyme or reason to which one I cut – I chose based on Β easiness, which usually depended on what side of the ironing board (and sometimes floor) I was on. But trimming shouldn’t be done mindlessly – there should be reason to it – and the reasoning goes… the stitched edge will fall toward the seam allowance that has been trimmed closest to the stitching.Β So, if you want the collar to roll slightly to the inside (in other words – you want the top collar to roll to the under collar), trim the under collar seam allowance.



  1. Reply

    Clare Mountain

    That’s such a great tip! I have never heard that anywhere before. Definitely remembering that one. Maddie, you are a wealth of information!

  2. Reply


    i LOVE your tips.

  3. Reply

    lisa g

    oooh this is a great tip! i too graded without rhyme or reason!

  4. Reply


    No Way!!! I had no idea thats how it works! I just thought it was so the longer one protected the shorter one from showing through on the outside…I realize that makes very little sense, but thats what I thought! You’re a genius Maddie!

    • Reply


      This is what I thought too. I guess it’s both reasons really! Very interesting tip! πŸ™‚

  5. Reply


    Nice! Great tip!

  6. Reply


    Yes, that makes a lot of sense. I should grade more, I’ve not been doing it out of laziness. As one of my resolutions for this year was to improve my finishing I must start grading regularly.

    • Reply


      it doesn’t seam like it but grading makes a HUGE difference, at least in my opinion

  7. Reply


    Wow this tip makes perfect sense! Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Reply


    wow, consider my eyes opened. I had never though of this but It totally makes sense! what a great tip Maddie!

  9. Reply

    Meg the Grand

    This is so helpful! I used to arbitrarily trim because I didn’t know any differently but this makes so much sense!

  10. Reply


    Awesome. I love little factoids like this. Doesn’t serging with a particular side face up also make the serged seam fall a certain way? Shows what I know.

    • Reply


      Serging with a particular side face side up? Can you explain more? This might be a factoid I don’t know about!

      • Reply


        Ah, I found it! It’s in my “Ready, Set, Serge” book I got for Christmas last year: “A serged seam tends to fold naturally to the lower looper side… The fabric that is on the bottom or next to the throat plate is the fabric that will be on the lower looper side. Since the seam tends to fold in this direction, your seams will press easier to the fabric next to the throat plate.”

  11. Reply

    Barbara Takemoto-Weerts

    Thank you for thinking of this

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    sophie o.

    Wonderful! I never thought it would make any difference!

  13. Reply

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    Really very cool site of blogs. You can imagine what you have done for me.

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    Albert einstien

    Immense information there.

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  16. Reply

    Neil O'Sullivan

    Why trim 5/8th seam allowance, just make it 3/8th from the start?

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