Thoughts on finishing seams

I’m still referring to David Page Coffin’s Making Trousers for Men & Women.  Sorry to bore you all!  But here’s my quote from page 13:

A curator of a costume collection pointed out to him

very minimal overcasting and the lack of a lining inside a couture bustier, remarking how dramatically it disproved the home sewer’s traditional conviction that well-made clothes must look as beautifully finished on the inside as on the outside.

Tell me, as a fellow home sewer, what do you think of this one?  Do you finish the inside like a RTW garment, fully line garments or do you leave things in a state of unfinishedness à la couture?  I’ll confess, I do not like the unfinished looks of a finished couture garment without lining.  I know pants and even evening gowns may not have linings with their overcast seam allowances exposed for the wearer to see, but I’m just not comfortable doing a garment that way.

I’ll never forget, as a 15-year-old aspiring singer, being shown a formal gown of ice blue silk made by a local couturier.  It was a strapless, full-skirted floor length gown.  When I looked into the interior (to check the label!) I was SHOCKED to see that there was no lining.  All the seam allowances with their hand overcasting were there to be seen in all their state of unfinishedness.  And you could see the hand stitching that held the facing of the bodice top to the interlining from the inside!!! I distinctly remember at the time decreeing (in my 15-year-old sewing wisdom) that I would have at least lined the darn thing if it had been up to me!

I do prefer a fully lined garment: pants, skirt or dress, and I like the cleaner look of a seam finished in anything other than pinking shears or hand overcasting.  I just feel like the garment isn’t f.i.n.i.s.h.e.d. if you can see the interior messiness of seam allowances.  And I think it hangs and wears better if it’s lined.

What do you think?  Are you a bear for finishing a garment so that you could wear it inside out, beautifully finished, if you had to?  Do you drive yourself crazy making sure the inside is as nice as the outside, or do you leave things visible?

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5 thoughts on “Thoughts on finishing seams

  1. I guess I fall into the category “all of the above.” For me, the degree to which I finish the interior of the garment depends on the garment, the fabric, and whether or not it will be seen. I’m okay leaving the edges undone if it is cotton. If it is wool, it has to be lined (not only is it less scritchy, it cuts down on dry-cleaning bills). I recently stitched up Jalie 2795, and was appalled that the hood was neither finished nor lined. I lined it with a contrasting fabric so that when it was seen it would look “finished”. If it is knit and casual (and not too ravely) I don’t usually bother. If it is knit and sportswear I usually serge 1/4 inch seam allowances because it is less bulky and I feel like the serging adds stability to activewear seams. If it is for my daughter, I usually serge AND line if possible. She’s 4 and impossibly hard on her clothes. 😉 I always give silky fabrics/ charmeuse a finished edge just to keep it under control.

  2. I do like a neat finish on the inside but have gotten away from serging every seam on every fabric on every outfit. Sometimes, especially on lightweight fabrics, it seems that less is better. If a fabric is especially ravelly, however, something has to be done..I don’t want strings everywhere, either. I like linings on skirts and lightweight pants..unless they are a very casual pant. On casual items, I sometimes like to sew the seam, press it open and then turn the edges under and stitch. Love a hong kong finish .

  3. I’m not bothered about the inside finish on my projects. I do line dresses quite a lot, but it’s because I don’t like facings. Can’t stand loose threads though, I know it’s not very logical!

  4. I’m not experienced enough to sew linings, but I do like to have a neat finish inside where possible. So I tend to sew a lot of French seams, use binding to cover seams, turn ends under and stitch, etc.

  5. This is really interesting. The insides of my clothes are often not beautifully finished because I lack the skill and energy to do so. I am surprised to hear that expensive, bespoke clothes would be unfinished inside. In hot weather, unlined clothes are more comfortable and they are easier to wash and iron too. On the other hand, a stringy mess inside is not pleasing!

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