Control Fraying Fabric That Unravels as You Sew

Deal With the Threads Being Shed by Your Fabric

You chose a beautiful fabric but it is turning into a nightmare to work with because the threads are falling out of the fabric and creating a mess to work with. Some fabrics can almost seem like they are throwing off spider webs of thread. The good news is that there are many ways to deal with fabric that seems like it is going fall apart before you can sew it together.

It is important to control the fraying! If you lose even an eight of an inch on every edge and still use the required seam...MORE allowance, you're going to have a problem with pieces fitting together and with the item being smaller than intended when you are finished.

  • 01 of 07
    Seam Finish Samples
    A Variety of Seam Finishes. Debbie Colgrove

    Did you know you can apply a seam finish before you sew the seam? The trick is to accurately use the same measurements on the entire seam finish or mark the seam line before you sew the seam finish so that you still maintain accurate seam lines. Even a simple Clean Finish Seam Finish can tame what seems like uncontrollable fraying fabric.

  • 02 of 07

    Alterations, Design and Accuracy

    Trimming, Clipping and Notching a Curved Seam
    Clipping Notching and Trimming a Curved Seams. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    No, you can't just keep trimming away the threads from the fabric. The pieces you cut out are designed to fit together and have certain measurements when you are finished. It does make a difference and if you have any doubt, be sure to read this article before you proceed.

  • 03 of 07
    A Collection of Pinking Shears
    A Collection of Pinking Shears. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    One of the simplest ways to control fraying is with pinking shears. These shears are not a sewing tool that everyone has on hand but if you are going to fight fraying, they are a tool that is worth your investment.

  • 04 of 07
    French Seam Examples
    French Seam Examples. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    If you have a sewing machine that only sews a straight stitch or the fabric you are sewing is so​ sheer that you can see through it, you may want to explore the option of sewing French Seams. A French Seam will give you a very clean finished appearance that looks good even when it is seen through the fabric.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07
    Flat Felled Seam Being Sewn
    Flat Felled Seam Being Sewn. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    A flat felled seam is that strong seam you are familiar with from seeing them on jeans. Jeans aren't the only time you might want to sew a flat felled seam. Since a flat felled seam is a very strong seam, it is a solution for a fabric that wants to fray but the seam may be put under duress and you need to depend on the seam being strong. You may want to start with a clean finish on the seam allowance though so the fabric will stay maintained through the process of creating a flat felled...MORE seam.

  • 06 of 07
    Five Thread Serger Sewn Seam
    Five Thread Serger Sewn Seam. Debbie Colgrove

    A serger may be the perfect solution to fraying fabric because a serger is capable of trimming the fabric and enclosing the fabric edge all in one step. A serger is an investment but when you want certain results, you want this machine. Sergers have a lot of options and you need to understand everything about the capabilities so you can make an educated decision ... no one wants to suffer from buyers remorse!

  • 07 of 07
    How to Trim and Enclosed Seam
    Trimming an Enclosed Seam. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to About.com

    Fraying fabric can lead to all kinds of difficulties. Focusing on what you need to achieve can help you control frustration and you'll be saying, "I did it myself" with pride.