So often, sewing instructions will add this phrase to the end of a construction step:
Pinking is a simple, effective seam finish.
Keep both swings of the needle on the
|Pressing before stitching saves time
and aggravation. Make only a single fold.
Finish the raw edges of the seam allowances.
Ever wonder why you need to do this? And what exactly it means?
Most fabrics, after being cut, will begin to fray. After being pinned, stitched, and pressed, they will fray more. Finishing the raw edges minimizes the raveling and will extend the life of your garment or accessory. And besides, well-finished edges simply look good.
The three most common finishes are pinking, zigzagging, and turn-and-stitched edges. (Not surprisingly, many more finishes exist, but let's focus on these today.) The process you choose will depend on the fabric, the project, and, realistically, how much time you have.
Pinking is quick, pretty, and very effective (if you have good pinking shears–which are worth the investment). This is a good choice for lightweight cottons and other wovens.
A zigzag stitch is also quick and effective. If both seam allowances will be pressed to one side, zigzag them together and save yourself some time and thread. A zigzag edge may be your best choice if you have a more loosely woven fabric.
To make a turn-and-stitched edge, press the raw edge ¼" under and then stitch close to the fold. It will look like a miniature hem. This process takes a little longer, but it's a lovely finish and worth the time-even if you're the only one that knows it's there.
If you're not sure which finish to use, test them. Once you get in the habit of finishing your seams, you may never look back.
If you like trying new things, check out Jewelry Stringing magazine to learn some basic techniques for making your own accessories.
I love pinked edges on little girl dresses. Do you have a favorite finish–or do you skip edgefinishing completely? I'd love to know.