Mini-tutorial: In-seam trims

Sometimes it’s the optional extras which make handstitched projects really sing. One of my favourite little add-ons is the in-seam trim – you’ll have seen it some of my makes:

in seam trim examples

I thought I’d share my way of doing it (which is probably no different to anyone else’s, but still..).

For my tutorial pics I made this clutch using charcoal linen blend from Backstitch, Vintage Liberty lawn from my own shop and a red linen trim from my stash.  I hope that you agree that the trim really lifts the whole thing:

7 finished clutch

You will need:
2 pieces of fabric you plan to join together
Contrasting fabric that would make a cute trim when sewn into the seam
A washable fabric glue stick (I like to use Sewline, but there are others to choose from)

Here’s how it works:
Decide how wide you want the trim to be once in position and multiply this number by 2. Then add the seam allowance, also multiplied by 2. This is the width of the piece of fabric you want to cut, and, of course, the length depends on the length of the seam you are going to trim.

Want an example? Well for this clutch, I wanted the trim to be 1cm wide, which is of course, 2cm when multiplied by 2. The seam allowance was also 1cm, so the second part of the sum also equalled 2cm. I did the math, and yes, it’s official, 2+2 quite definitely equals. The length of the seam was 40cm, so the red fabric I cut measured 4cmx40cm in total.

Once you have cut your trim, fold it in half lengthways and press:

1 fold the trim

Get one of the fabrics you are joining, and lay it right side up on your work surface and lay the folded trim, with its 2 raw edges aligned with the raw edge of the fabric piece, like this:

2 place the trim

If you like you can use some pins to hold this in place, but it really is best to use a washable glue stick to temporarily stick the trim to the fabric, because it really helps to keep fabric creep to a minimum when you stitch the seam. Make sure you only apply glue within the seam allowance.

Take the other piece of fabric and put it, right side down, on top of the first fabric and the trim, making sure that all the raw edges are aligned. Again use washable glue to keep all the bit together, and a few pins don’t go amiss either.

3 pin together

Stitch the seam, then open out the fabric pieces and press the trim to one side (whichever side works for your project) on the right side of your work, and press the allowances and the raw edges of the trim to the other side on the back of your work. So the wrong side will look like this:

4 stitch and fold the seam

And on the right side it should look like this:

5 trims in place

Finally top stitch the seam in which you’ve inserted the trim, nice and close to the seam line:

6 top stitching finished

Hope that all makes sense – now you can dash off and get trimming…

18 thoughts on “Mini-tutorial: In-seam trims

  1. hi Ali. Thanks so much for this tutorial, I have been drooling over the red trim on your grey clutch and sort of worked it out, but this is great. Hope to try it out on a zippy pouch which I am just mastering after a few boo boos (not concentrating!)

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