A seam allowance is a bit of extra room that’s given along the edge of a pattern, to allow for the sewist to include seams in a garment and still have it fit the doll properly.
Think of it like this… When you’re driving a car, there’s a curb (spelled kerb in some countries) that gives you a little extra sway room at the sides of the roadway.
Here’s the car you’re driving as a sewist:
And this is the road you’re driving on:
This curb is called a “seam allowance” in sewing terms, and it gives you a little extra sway room for sewing fabric pieces together.
Now let’s address the question more directly… What is a seam allowance used for?
It’s used to keep the car from going off the road into the nearby field. In other words, it’s designed to give extra fabric at the joining parts of a garment, like you see here:
It’s nearly impossible to join the bodice fronts in the image above with the bodice back, without having a little extra fabric that hangs in between the two joined pieces. See the close-up of the joined area (i.e. the seam) in the image below:
That V-shaped flap of fabric where the front and back pieces are sewn together is a bit of extra fabric that is represented on your pattern as a seam allowance.
So as you can see, the seam allowance gives you room to “drive” your sewing machine needle and foot across the fabric where the two pieces join.
And that’s what a seam allowance is used for, in a nutshell.
Do you enjoy my tutorials and free sewing patterns? Please share them!
- You can pin them on Pinterest.
- You can like them on Facebook.
- You can tweet about them.
- Use any other form of social media that appeals to you!
Are you new to sewing? I’ve got a playlist of tutorials for the beginning sewists on my YouTube channel. It includes video tutorials showing you how to do a basic straight stitch when sewing by hand, how to use the whipstitch to hem a garment, and how to sew on snaps.
If your question wasn’t answered here, feel free to submit a question. I’m always happy to help my followers find what they need, so they, too, can make amazing doll clothes and crafts.
This blog post is dedicated to my 7th grade math teacher and all mathematics teachers around the world. Thank you for teaching the world how to measure things!