Seam Allowance

For today’s blog I thought I would give some of my thoughts on seam allowance. The standard seam allowance on most commercial clothing patterns is 5/8″ whether you need that much or if a wider seam allowance would make the garment look nicer. I always cut a 3/8″ seam allowance around collars and necks because 5/8″ is hard to sew. That quarter inch causes bunches and pulls, so it takes longer to keep everything smooth under the pressure foot. I am sewing a collar onto one of my oversized smock work shirts. It is my own pattern and method of construction. I like sewing the top collar on before putting on the inside collar. Also I cut all interfacing without seam allowance since I top stitch through all layers as a finishing detail.

Even the pinning is smooth at 3/8″ seam allowance.


I like this shaping around the neck. The curve away from neck at the shoulder seam into the front of the shirt allows the collar to roll down like a convertible, but I can also wear the collar up like a tall Mandarin.


Sometimes I like to cut 1″ seam allowances too. I think straight seams at the back of a jacket hang better with more seam allowance for support. Same goes for skirts and the side seams of pants. Just because a pattern says 5/8″ is the seam allowance do not be afraid to change it.


One Response

  1. I like that idea…for support. I took tailoring and design in highschool. I’m so glad it did. It taught me that I didn’t HAVE to stick with something in the pattern and it could be easily changed with some forethought. I don’t sew much these days (with no sewing machine), but I do remember enjoying it when I did have one.

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