Flat Felled Seams and Other Garment Making Lessons

Hi! I’m back with my most ambitious garment sewing yet! Overalls from Sew Liberated. I’ve never made pants of any type before, but I figured these were a safe place to start because they aren’t super fitted and there isn’t any buttons or zippers to deal with.

This pair of overalls were made solely on my Janome M7 Continental. Instead of finishing seams with a serger or even using the overedge foot available on many machines, I used French seams and Flat Felled seams. Don’t those already sound fancy? We recently had a great post by our friends at Sew 4 Home on French Seams which you can check out here.

Side note: There isn’t a photo of me wearing the overalls because they are decidedly too big. They are super comfy, but are not fit for me to have a photo of me wearing them online – forever – lol! This is a great lesson on making patterns first with less expensive materials, not only to learn about the pattern and to try different sewing techniques, but to make sure you are making the right size. My star fabric were on sale and I will attempt to alter them, which is something else I need to learn. And yes, look forward to reading about that in an upcoming blog post.

New to me this project was Flat Felled seams. You may see these on your favourite pair of jeans or maybe a coat as they are a great seaming technique for thicker materials! They add such a beautiful detail to garments, but the trick is keeping that stitching nice and straight. I thought I would walk you through the process so you could learn a new technique and I would show you a few accessories that will help you achieve that perfect look.

Before you even start sewing, one easy and inexpensive thing you can do is swap out your needle. Janome has a wide variety of needles that not only work well in our machines, but also tackle various fabrics. For an upgraded look, you can finish hems with a twin needle which will make it look like you used one of our amazing Janome Coverhem machines. Make sure you are using the best needle for the job (and please, for the love of all things fibre, change your needle regularly!!!). For more info about our Janome needles check out this blog post.

Just a small collection of our Janome Needles, conveniently available from Janome Dealers.

With Flat Felled seams, you will be sewing your seam with the wrong sides of the fabric together. You need a generous seam allowance for this technique. I used 5/8”which is standard for commercial patterns. Press the seam allowance open.

Now you need to decide to which side you want to fold the seam. For this example I’m going to press the seam to the right. If you want to fold to the other side, you will just use this technique in reverse.

Trim the right side seam allowance to a 1/4”. I love using my Janome Mini-Duckling scissors for this. They are nice and sharp and the duckbill makes sure the other lower seam allowance doesn’t get in the way!

Next you are going to take the left seam allowance and fold it over the newly trimmed right seam allowance, lining up the edge with the seam stitch line and press it. 

Now you will fold this all to the right which will enclose both raw edges. Give it a good press. The very last step is to edge stitch the fold down. For this step you have a few options. You can use your favourite sewing foot which came with your machine, or Janome has a few optional accessories to help you get this bang on. 

Option 1: Janome’s Edge Guide Foot 

The Janome Edge Guide Foot is useful in so many projects. The white plastic guide bar is going to hover along the folded edge and help you keep your stitches nice and even to the side. I start with my needle down in the fabric exactly where I want my stitch line to go. Then I adjust the white guide so it hugs the folded edge. Works like a charm! Read more about the foot here.

Option 2: Ditch Quilting Foot or AcuFeed Flex Ditch Quilting Foot

Both the Janome Ditch Quilting Foot and the Janome AcuFeed Ditch Quilting Foot work in the same way BUT if you are dealing with thicker fabrics, you will want to use the Janome AcuFeed or AcuFeed Flex Ditch Quilting Foot (whichever your machine is compatible with) which will move everything nicely through your machine. If you are a quilter, you will know that stitching in the ditch is a well loved technique but precision takes practice. The Janome Ditch Quilting Foot helps keep you right in the seam. This time however, we don’t want the stitches right in the seam, we want them beside the seam. These optional presser feet have a wide opening to allow you to adjust the needle over to the left to be beside the seam. To set this up, place the guide right beside the folded edge of your hem, then adjust your needle position to where you want the line of edge-stitching. Just like that you have a beautifully accurate line of stitching!

I think this technique is so easy but really takes your garment to the next level. I could see using this for other projects too!

Stitch on!


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