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.

What's the Most Practical Thread Color When Sewing?

QUESTION: Do you have to match the color of the thread to the fabric?

ANSWER: No, not necessarily. (See below)

neutral thread color gray

In my opinion, colored thread is best used when you want to accent a seam, be artistic or camouflage the stitching. I don't think it's always necessary to match the thread to your fabric. In fact, it's usually more practical to have a good supply of neutral-colored threads on hand because they'll get you through most projects--off-white, black, tan, and gray. 

My favorite color of thread is gray; it's subtle and pretty all at the same time and seems to be a chameleon color as well. Don't get me wrong, I love color! But when it comes to sewing with colorful thread, I reserve it's use for topstitching or any visible stitching. I especially like colored thread if I want to add an accent to my work but most often I use neutral colors. 

So, if you're looking for practicality, go with gray!