What is a Seam Allowance?

SEAM ALLOWANCE (SA) - the space between the stitched seam and the raw edge of the fabric. 

What is a Seam Allowance?

There are general guidelines for seam allowances; they vary a bit depending on the project or type of sewing you are doing. Below are some suggested seam allowances. Note: you can adjust the seam allowance as you find necessary for your project but quilting stays true to the 1/4" SA.

  • quilting, 1/4 inch SA
  • craft sewing, 3/8 inch SA
  • home decor & craft sewing, 1/2 inch SA
  • garment sewing, 5/8 inch SA 

Quilting requires a lot of precise sewing. Your seam allowance should be consistent in order to piece together beautiful blocks. It is helpful to use a 1/4 inch presser foot to maintain consistency.

Some sewers believe that 5/8 inch seam allowance is too big for garment sewing and they may adjust the size to 3/8 inch or 1/2 inch. If you choose to reduce the seam allowance, take care to understand how the change may alter the size of your finished garment.