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How to sew an Abutted Seam

What is it?

An abutted seam is a flat seam used to join two layers of fabric without overlapping them. Instead the two layers are butted close to each other, without either layer going on top of the other. There is no seam allowance in an abutted seam; the two pieces touch along the seam line without overlapping and are sewn together with a zigzag stitch or other type of wide stitch. Seam binding or stay tape can be used to bridge the gap and strengthen the seam at the same time.

Abutted Seam (1)

Abutted seam from the fron

Abutted Seam (2)

Abutted seam from the back

Abutted Seam (3)

Abutted seam

When do you use it?

An abutted seam is good for sewing flat, nonbulky seams in heavy or stiff fabrics. It’s most often used as part of the interior construction, where the seams are hidden and not visible on the outside of the garment. You wouldn’t want to use this seam for actual garment seams unless it’s an intentional design detail. This type of seam construction isn’t used frequently, but it does come in handy! If you are adding a ayer of padding to a garment—for example, cotton batting in the bodice of a dress—then abutted seams are a good choice. A regular seam sewn and pressed open in cotton batting would be thick and lumpy. If you need to sew seams or darts in hair canvas interfacin (page link), abutted seams work nicely because they don’t add bulk.

Tips + Notes

  • You may find it easier to sew the abutted seams with the seam binding side up. I sew them with the seam binding on the underside so the batting doesn’t get caught in the machine.
  • To sew abutted seams on curved seam lines, pin the first side of the curved seam normally. When you pin the other side, drape it over your other hand to form the curve.
  • For extrastrong seams, stitch up and down the seam a few times.

How to Sew an Abutted Seam

How to sew an abutted seam (1)

To prepare the pieces for sewing an abutted seam, trim off the seam allowances. To do this, measure the seam allowance amount from the raw edge, and draw in the seam line. Then trim along this line evenly.

How to sew an abutted seam (2)

Measure the seam, and cut a piece of seam binding, stay tape or any type of stable, nonstretch, thin tape. Cut your seam binding a little bit longer than your seam line, about ½” (1.3cm) longer on each end, so you can see where it is at the top and bottom of the seam. Pin the tape underneath one side of the seam, letting the fabric cover about half of the tape.

How to sew an abutted seam (3)

Pin the other side of the fabric to the seam binding or stay tape so that the edges meet. Using the stay tape makes it easier to sew the zigzag stitch and adds a protective layer to strengthen the seam. Pin with the points facing upward, so the pin heads are easy to remove as you sew.

How to sew an abutted seam (4)

Set your machine to a zigzag stitch. You could use a fancier wide stitch, but a zigzag is simple and effective. Center your work under the machine needle, and zigzag over the seam line. If the edges of the fabric pull apart as you sew, stop and readjust the layers so the zigzag catches both sides.
Trim off the extra seam binding after the seam is sewn.

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine