Sewing Basics # 10 – The Strap Seam

Here’s a nifty little seam finish I learnt at college this week. Press the stitching line….

Press seam allowances open…

Trim seam allowances to within about 5mm of seam ….

Repeat on both sides and press open again…

Lay hemming/cotton tape or similar along the seam, covering the seam and the allowances. Make sure it’s central over the seam line by folding the tape in half lengthwise, placing the fold line of the tape along the seam line of the garment. Allow the tape to fall open and pin in place….

Sew a straight stitch close to the edge of the tape along both sides….

This is the finish on the inside….

and on the right side…

I really like this seam finish. It seems to me to have alot of scope for variation. In terms of colour you could have everything matching for a subtle finish. You could have contrasting tape (as in this example) or contrasting thread so the double row of stitching on the outside becomes a design detail. I like the idea of using velvet or satin ribbon. A friend of mine has scarring on her hips that is often aggravated by seams rubbing on them. This would remedy that for her! My tutor tells me that ribbon is not designed for lots of wear though so worth bearing in mind. Perhaps I could use it on a more special occasion garment. The whole finish could also be flipped to the outside by sewing the garment seams WS together and having the ribbon/tape as a design feature on the outside.(As seen on my tutor in class the other week)
Oops, sorry, I’m rambling. I keep thinking of the design possibilities of this one, so just thought I’d share!


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  1. didyoumakethat April 9, 2011

    I LOVE that. I’ll do anything for a neat seam. (Okay, not anything.) Which college do you to go, Portia? Thanks for sharing.

  2. Amy April 9, 2011

    I’ll tick this off then shall I?

  3. Bitterbetty April 9, 2011


  4. A.J.A. April 9, 2011

    I will have to try this straight away. I love the finish- so polished! Thanks for sharing some of what you are learning with us- you are really good at explaining and demonstrating these techniques.

  5. Sarah April 9, 2011

    More techinques I’ve never heard of before! I’m storing them in my head for later, I promise 🙂

  6. Miss P April 10, 2011

    I go to the Adult Community College in Colchester, Karen. Sounds very similar to Morley!
    Sarah, I hope so!
    Thanks AJA! I really enjoy sharing stuff on here so it’s good to know I’m doing it right!
    Amy, yes please if you would!

  7. Sulla June 27, 2011

    Hey, I always wondered how this seam was accomplished. I see it in all my baseball caps. (I am working on a pattern for a custom running cap.) This was a very helpful post! Love this blog.

  8. Thanks! I needed the review and couldn’t find it in Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. Did these in Intermediate Construction class but couldn’t guide remember those old basics. Going to use as a decorative element on the outside, below an exposed zipper (polka dot zipper against plain fabric, so I need a polka dot extension of course!)

  9. MPaula July 24, 2015

    If the tape were on the outside, I think of tuxedo pants and RCMP uniform pants. I have sweat pants with a similar stripe. I like it!

    • portia July 24, 2015

      Yessss! Love it! Great idea!


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