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What is a Seam Allowance?

Most people, in everyday life, refer to "seam allowances" as simply "a seam". These are the sewn parts that you can see on the inside of a seam allowance that stick out--the seam allowance is basically the distance that they stick out.

When sewing your own fabric items, the seam allowance is the distance from the raw edge of the fabric to the stitching line.

More about seam allowances:


Seam allowances can come in all sizes, so make sure to pay attention to the size seam allowance that your pattern calls for. Here are the most popular seam allowances:

● 5/8 inch: This wide allowance is typically used in clothing in order to add strength to the seam.

● 1/2 inch: This seam allowance can be found in commercially produced clothing but is most commonly used in craft-type sewing projects.

● 1/4 inch: This is the seam allowance preferred by most quilters. Because quilts are stitched together so many times, all of that stitching helps make up for the small, weaker seam allowance. This width is also used when sewing with an overlocker and can be found in commercially produced clothing and tee-shirts.