Updated on September 6, 2022 by Sarina

When sewing clothes or anything with see-through fabrics, or too heavy and/ or fraying fabrics, you do not want those obvious fabric edges of your seam allowances visible on the outside. This is when an enclosed seam comes to your rescue.

No seam allowance visible on either side of the seam – very neat and professional.

3 best enclosed seam stitching methods

Flat felled seam

A Flat Felled Seam is a self-enclosed seam that gives great strength and durability to the seam line and the fabric. Out of the three seam stitching methods, this is my favourite.

It is a very professional seam finish that takes care of the cut fabric edges as well. The raw edges are fully enclosed inside the folded seam allowance. The back of the fabric and the front looks neat and clean, as a result.

The best example of a flat felled seam is on the leg seams of jeans. It is also used in almost all kinds of sewing.

The seam fold can be done on the back of the fabric or the front. Here I am giving the standard method of sewing the flat felled seam in which the fold is done on the front of the fabric.

How to sew this enclosed Seam

Step 1

Keep the fabric pieces wrong sides together. Mark a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Or use the guide on your sewing machine to sew a 5/8 inch seam.

flat felled seam- fabric pieces are kept wrong sides together; sew a seam with 5/8 inch seam allowance

Step 2

Press the seam open.

press the seam open

And then press the seam allowances to one side. If you are using a dark-colored fabric and a light-colored fabric, turn the seam allowance to the dark colored fabric.

press seam allowance to one side

Step 3

Trim the inside seam allowance of the under seam allowance (the one below) to 1/8 inch.

trim the seam allowance below to 1/8 inch

Step 4

Fold the cut edge of the top seam allowance inside 1/4 inch. Press.

flat felled seam - fold 1/4 inch of the other seam allowance to the inside and turn it over on top of the trimmed seam allowance

Step 5

Press the folded seam allowance over the trimmed seam allowance.

flat felled seam -press the seam in place

Stitch along the edge of this folded seam allowance joining it to the main fabric.

flat felled seam - stitch over the fold

On the back (or the front depending on how you sew it) it will look like this.

Use the edge of your presser foot as a guide for sewing – remember you need to stitch parallel and equidistant to the seam line – this is important for a neat look. You need pressing equipment (your iron) at hand for this and good measuring tools and sharp scissors.

Overlapping seam

This is a suitable seam stitching for heavy fabrics and very very easy. A sort of mock-flat felled seam.

Fold the seam allowance of one fabric edge to the back and the other fabric edge to the front.

fold one seam allowance to the front and one to the back

Lock the seam allowances in this manner. This will Over lap the seam allowances. 

lock the seam allowances

Stitch in place along both edges.

top stitch in place

enclosed seams for thin fabrics

French seams

This is another very popular enclosed seam. Here the seam allowance doesnot lie flat as in the other two seam stitching but it is very easy to sew and flexible too. 

french seam - wrong side and right side of the fabric

You sew the seam rightside out and then trim the allowance and sew the seam again enclosing the edges inside. Learn more about this seam here : How to sew a french seam

Related posts: 21 different types of seams; How to sew hems -by sewing machine.; How to sew flat felled seam ; How to hem pants

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