How to Trim and Clip Seam Allowances
                                                                                                                          



















How to Trim a seam allowance
                                                                                   

    To trim a seam allowance, cut it to about half its width unless otherwise instructed. For light to
    medium weight fabrics, clip both sides of the seam allowance at once. For heavyweight fabrics,
    clip each side of the seam allowance separately.


How to Grade a seam allowance
                                                                                   

    Grading is when the layers of fabric in a seam allowance are trimmed to different widths. It can
    help reduce bulk when a seam allowance consists of many layers of fabric or if the fabric is very
    bulky. It can prevent a noticeable ridge or bump from showing on the outside once the item is
    turned.

    To grade a seam allowance, trim the first layer of fabric to about 1/8”. Then trim the next layer
    of fabric slightly wider, and so on. Trim the seam allowance closest to the outside of the
    garment the widest.


How to Clip Curves
                                                                                   

    How to clip inner curves:

    Inner curves need to be clipped so that the seam allowance can spread and lie flat once
    the item is turned.

    To clip an inner curved seam, clip into the seam allowance at periodic intervals, ending
    about 1/8” from the stitching. Clip farther apart for shallower curves, closer together for
    deeper curves.

    How to clip outer curves:

    Outer curves need to be “notched” to allow the fabric in the seam allowance to compress
    when the item is turned without producing bulk.

    To clip an outer curved seam, cut small “V’s” out of the seam allowance at periodic
    intervals, ending about 1/8” from the stitching. Clip farther apart for shallower curves,
    closer together for deeper curves.

    Tips:

    Remember to clip carefully so you don’t accidentally cut into the line of stitching. And don’
    t clip too close to the stitching or it will weaken the seam.

    If a curved seam will be subject to stress, such as in a princess seam, stagger the clips
    or notches.


How to Trim Corners
                                                                                   

    The seam allowances in corners need to be trimmed to reduce bulk in the corner once the item
    is turned.

    To trim the seam allowance at a corner, trim away most of the seam allowance at the tip. Then
    taper the seam allowances on the sides toward the point of the corner.

    If you’re working with a fabric that frays easily, don’t trim too close to the stitching. You may
    even want to add a row of reinforcement stitching or use a very fine stitch at the corner.
Seam allowances sometimes need to be trimmed
or clipped. This is to reduce bulk so that the seam
allowance lies flat and smooth once the item is
turned. Your pattern instructions should tell you
when to trim or clip a seam allowance.


General Tips
                                                                         

    Use a small, 3”-5” pair of scissors to make
    the task easier.

    Trim or clip your seam allowance after you’ve
    sewn your seam and pressed it (see How to
    Press).
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