Friday, November 6, 2009

My favorite tools for making seam allowance

My metal marking ruler and my tailors chalk for marking seam allowances

There are different ways to mark your seam allowances on a lutterloh pattern
but this is my favorite.
It's a tiny metal do it all ruler
It has 2 inches at it's largest and goes through 1 inch, 1 3/4", 1 5/8", 1 1/2", 1 3/8", 1 1/4"
Then on to 1/2", 3/8", 5/8", 3/4", 1/4" and finally 1/8"
Now isn't that amazing? All in one little spot.
This way I can mark any size seam I want in any place I want.

I move my slot for 5/8" seam allowance along the edge of the paper pattern

As I go I put a tiny dash of the chalk

This will not be within the finished garment area, mostly I end up cutting right though it

You can see the little dashes along the silk

When I am all finished marking all the edges of the pattern I cut using the dashes as my cutting line. I'm careful to cut smoothly and to remember to mark the sizes for hems and folded in button bands etc.

Normally I would use 1/2 seam allowances but I am using a Hong Kong finish on the seams of this light jacket and I need the extra to work with the edges. I cut the neck edges 1/2" as they will have a Mandarin collar and 1/2" is all I need.

I wouldn't be without this favorite tool!


  1. Pam from South AustraliaNovember 6, 2009 at 4:24 AM

    This is an interesting thread. Does most everyone mark seam allowances after the pattern is cut? If so.......why? I cut the pattern to include seam allowances as I find the pattern easier to fit if I can pin the seam allowances together. There must be a reason though that most don't do it this way, but danged if I can work out why.

  2. Hi Pam,

    This is a great tool for making the seam allowances on paper also.

    I never use a pattern once, it's easier to design and change a pattern if it doesn't have seam allowances on it. I know in the industry they just calulate that seam allowance into their designs but my head does better just leaving it off and adding it when I'm ready to cut it out. Already on this pattern I have made a bloose at 1/2" seam allowances and now a jacket with seam finishes I made the seam allowance 5/8". my fabric is doubled, I mark the top piece and cut both at the same time.

    We all end up with the same thing so just stick with what you like to do on making that seam. Your tools would then be a pencil and that handy ruler!

  3. I cut the pattern to include seam allowances as I find the pattern easier to fit if I can pin the seam allowances together.

    Work from home India