Seam Definition

A seam is the sewing line that sews two or more textiles together. They can be any material such as fabric or leather to keep them together with stitches. It is the most fundamental component of the garment. The seam line meaning is the stitching line running parallel to the seam.

Industrial-based sewing machines sew the seams in modern bulk-produced outdoor supplies, household textiles, footwear, and apparel. Knitting, dressmaking, home shoemaking, etc., use a blend of machine and hand sewing.

If you want to start a clothing brand or a sewing service, you should have a sound knowledge of seams. In garment manufacturing, there are different seam classifications.

Use of Seams in Garments

types of seam

Stitches are a vital component of every fabric and apparel, as they help connect materials to give an appearance to the product.

  • Different stitches help create varied looks for the garment.
  • Stitches gather the cloth and make pleats.
  • They add shape to the components, such as darts.

Seam Classes

Flat Seam – Butt Seam

The cloth edges do not overlap in Flat Seams. Manufacturers stitch them across with two needles stitching into the fabric and covering threads running back and forth between the needles on both sides without a gap. Garment producers use this seam to keep the seam line from being bulky or thick.

Bound Seam

It is the binding of the edge of one material with another. Along with the likelihood of other components in the binding, too. It looks like a French seam from the right half. Stitches are not visible on the upper half of the fabric, and it covers the cloth edges perfectly.

French seam

Apparel producers use it on light-weighted and delicate (fragile) fabrics like chiffon and organza. It uses a lot of material and can become bulky with heavier fabrics. It is ideal for clothing articles where the stitching needs not to be visible because the edges are out of sight.

Lapped Seam

It is also known as Tucked Seam. Garment producers usually use it for fabrics that do not shred, such as leather or fleece. It means to lap two cloths – the right part of the fabric facing upwards. However, it is not usual in clothing because it is a source of complications with raw edges.

Superimposed Seam

It is the most basic and typical seam manufacturer uses on apparel. Manufacturers create it by imposing the edges of two pieces of cloth on top of each other. They use various stitch types to neaten the edges, connect the materials, or perform both simultaneously.

Hairline Seam

A type of encircled stitching that garment manufacturers use for enclosed areas such as collars in a shirt. They are not out of sight from the outside. Also, to make the seam strong, you can make a top stitch over it.

Piped or Corded Seam

Manufacturers insert a cording covered in the fabric between the seam lines. Producers use this decorative stitching on home decorating fabrics, pockets, cuffs, or collars.

types of seam

Know What Type of Seam You Should Use

Now you are aware of a few of the various seam types available. How do you decide which one to use? You must know your goals. It would act as a good indicator for it.

Common Goals For Seaming

Hiding edges

If you need to hide the raw edges of stitching, try the following.

  • Hong Kong Finish
  • Flat-felled Seam
  • French Seam

Shaping the Apparel

  • Viennese Seam
  • Princess Seam

Use of Seams in Garments

There are two divisions of seams. One is fancy, and the other is functional.


Decorative seams outline the apparel and give a visual appearance to it.

Channel Seam

When the user moves, the channel seam establishes an open network across a contrasting piece of cloth, revealing a flash of pattern or color.

Viennese Seam

It resembles the Princess Seam in appearance. It is a curved seam that links the front panels of apparel, emphasizing a curved figure of the body. However, unlike the Princess Seam, it starts at the armhole, not the shoulder.

Linen Seam

It uses an embroidered or decorative stitch to unite two cloth pieces at the edges. It is not especially strong but is attractive.

Hong Kong Seam

It is a finishing technique and is commonly known as Hong Kong Finish. You can bind or serge the seam edges using seam tape to give them a Hong Kong look. A contrasting color or pattern seam tape inside the garment may offer a classy touch. Unlined clothing and jackets are the most common uses of this technology.

Princess seam

It is one of the ornamental seams that can handle a lot of work. Clothing of women has Princess seams the most. They exclude the need for darts as they shape the body of the garment to a curved waistline.


Apparel Creation

Most apparel has joined seams of fabric pieces. Below is a list of seams:


They connect the parts on the insides of the trouser legs.

Front and Back seams

They join the right and left parts of the garment.

Side Seams

They link the back and front pieces of apparel.

Shoulder Seams

They bind the shoulders of the cloth together.

Quality Measures of Stitches

Although the functional or aesthetic needs determine the type of stitch, you can measure the quality of the seams depending on the factors listed below:

Seam Strength

It is the force necessary to burst apart a seam, either by breaking the sewed material or thread.

Seam Slippage Strength

It is the effort necessary to pull out a certain quantity of yarn of the opposing strands perpendicular to the seam lines.

Seam Size

It helps determine the width, length, and depth of the seam.

seam types

Common Questions

What is a Welt Seam?

Garment producers stitch it with cord welting in it. Thick stitching is first done on the opposite side and then on the right side.

What is a Top Stitch Seam?

Topstitch is a stitching row on the garment top that improves the appearance while giving a finishing look to its raw edges.

What Is The Most Secure Seam?

The most solid seams are ‘Flat Felled Seams’ that have hidden raw edges and do not unravel. They have a neat finish. Thus, manufacturers use it on thick and thin fabrics both.

How Many Types of Seams Are There?

There are eight seams classes described as per ISO 4916:1991.

What Are The Two Types of Seams?

Stitches can either be closed or open. A Closed seam combines the seam inlays within the seam finish and helps it become invisible. However, an open stitch integrates the seam allowance where the fabric between the stitches and the edge of the material is visible.

What Are Examples of Seams?

  • Lapped Seam
  • Double-stitched Seam
  • Bound Seam
  • Plain Seam
  • Welt Seam
  • French Seam
  • Flat-felled Seam