Monday, 16 May 2011

Beautiful Buttons Dress Update - How to roll a seam

B&W buttons dress - nearly done!
I didn't listen very much during my A-level textiles lessons - like most 16 -18 year olds, I thought I knew everything, and was really distracted by boys. But one thing I did take away with me was how to make seams roll, the sort of thing that's useful for collars, revers, pocket flaps, and anything else where you don't want the underside to show on the outside. It's a very easy and invaluable thing to learn, and I'm going to share it with you!

For this example, I'm using the collar on the dress I'm making to showcase my lovely Black and White face buttons (see Beautiful Buttons). This technique is used when you have 2 pieces the same shape, which you sew together right side facing, then turn right side out.

First - pin the 2 pieces together with the right sides facing, but make sure the layer which will ultimately be facing out - the top collar - is pinned about 1/8", or 3 mm away from the undercollar:

Top collar piece pinned 1/8" from under collar
This will mean that the top collar piece is slightly larger than the under piece. Don't worry! This is necessary - it will make the upper piece roll naturally to the underside. But it can be a little tricky to sew - you will encounter some 'fullness' as you stitch, but try to overcome this by stretching the pieces as you sew.

Second - stitch the seam, using the under piece as the guide for your seam allowance:

The top piece will appear a bit baggy, but it's ok!

Third - trim and clip the seam:

Usually just snipping the seam would be fine, but because of the sharp curve of this seam, I've put in as many notches a possible so that there is a nice smooth finish.

Fourth - Turn the pieces right side out and press. This is where the magic happens!

Underside of collar, showing rolled seam
See how the seam naturally rolls to the underside? This was achieved just by pinning the upper piece a bit further in from the edge; it makes the top piece 'baggier' than the under piece, so that when they are turned, the smaller under piece pulls the top piece under. This will give a much smoother, professional finish to your work.

I use this simple technique everywhere; not only does the edge of the piece look neater, but it will 'sit' better, ie not curl up.

Hope this helps. Happy sewing!


  1. You're so clever! Can't wait to see the finished product.

    Sarah xxx

  2. I'm in awe of your sewing skills and your knitting aint half bad either - love the red top in a previous post with its cute flower. Might have to steal the flower idea!

  3. Loving your blog - just found you :o) Scarlett x

  4. Love the tutorial, Im definitely going to try this!

  5. I wished I could make such pretty things like you do.
    (I am going to give it a try thanks to you!)

  6. It helps.a lot. I am trying to make a peter pan collar, and am stuck. this is really timely. Thank you so much.

  7. Hiya
    I’m just sending out a quick message to let people know their Faith Hope and Charity Swapping partners. Days of spreedsheet fiddling I tell you, if this works it’s going on my CV! I won’t have access to a PC from Tues 31st until June 6th – so any questions will have to wait til I get back I’m afraid. I’m going to put up a quick post on the rules before I go, but for now you can check out your partner’s blog and start figuring out what they might like.
    Your swap partner is The Vintage Knitter

    Thanks for playing along!

  8. Hey Nicole, you're my swapsie partner! I'm really pleased about that! Could you drop me an email to with your address and in the meantime I can start looking!

  9. Hi Nicole

    I am poping by to let you know that you won my 1930's Givaway!!

    If you could send me an email with your address, I'll pop it in the post to you on Saturday!!


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