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How To Grade a Seam


A photo showing how a seam should be graded.

Grade a Seam

Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com
Not eliminating bulk is one of the biggest mistakes when constructing a garment. This gives the appearance of a 'home made' garment. Try the following to eliminate bulk when the seam allowance can not be pressed open or when sewing facings and linings.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: varies

Here's How:

  1. Sew the seam.
  2. Press the seam to 'set' it.
  3. Trim off half of the seam allowance.
  4. Trim one seam allowance:
    • If this is a facing seam, trim the facing seam allowance in half again.
    • If this is a construction seam, trim the seam allowance which will lay against the outside of the garment in half again.
  5. Under-stitch, if needed, press, and continue making the garment.


  1. Press and trim seams to give excellent finished results.
  2. Under-stitch facings and linings when ever possible to prevent the facing or lining from rolling to a visible area.
  3. When snipping a seam, never snip into both layers at the same spot. This will weaken the seam and the fabric.
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