Sewing & Pattern making Terms

Lapped seams

Lapped seams are a fundamental technique in the realm of sewing and pattern making. They involve overlapping two fabric edges, with the wrong side of one piece overlapping the right side of the other, resulting in a neat and professional finish. The seam lines of the lapped seams meet in the middle, providing strength and stability to the garment construction. In this article, we will delve into the significance of lapped seams, their applications, and how to master this technique for clean and polished finishes.

What are “Lapped Seams”?

Lapped seams involve overlapping fabric edges in a specific manner to create a secure and visually appealing seam. The wrong side of one fabric piece is placed over the right side of the other fabric piece, ensuring that the seam lines meet at the center of the overlap. This construction method is commonly used in various sewing projects to achieve strong, durable, and attractive seams.

Applications of Lapped Seams

Lapped seams find numerous applications in garment construction and sewing projects. Let’s explore some common uses for lapped seams:

  • Apparel Construction: Lapped seams are frequently employed in constructing garments, especially those made from medium to heavyweight fabrics. They provide a clean and professional finish for side seams, shoulder seams, and even waistbands.
  • Skirt and Dress Closures: Lapped seams are often utilized for creating closures in skirts and dresses, such as center back zippers or button plackets. They ensure secure and well-finished closures that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Home Decor and Accessories: Lapped seams can be applied to sewing projects beyond garments. They are suitable for creating neat seams in home decor items like pillow covers, curtains, and tablecloths. Additionally, lapped seams are ideal for constructing bags, purses, and accessories.

How to Sew Lapped Seams

Follow these steps to master the art of sewing lapped seams:

  1. Prepare the Fabric: Ensure that the fabric pieces to be joined are cut accurately and have clean, straight edges.
  2. Align the Edges: Place the two fabric pieces with their right sides facing each other. Align the edges of the fabric pieces to be joined, ensuring they are parallel.
  3. Overlap the Edges: Overlap one fabric edge onto the other, with the wrong side of one piece overlapping the right side of the other. The extent of the overlap will depend on the desired seam width and the project’s requirements.
  4. Pin and Secure: Use pins or clips to hold the overlapped edges in place, ensuring they are evenly aligned along the length of the seam.
  5. Stitch the Seam: Stitch along the length of the overlapped edges, aligning the needle with the seam line marked on the fabric. Sew carefully, ensuring that the stitching is even and secure.
  6. Press and Finish: After sewing the seam, press it open or towards one side, depending on the fabric and the desired finish. Trim any excess fabric if necessary and finish the seam edges as desired.

Tips for Perfecting Lapped Seams

Consider the following tips to achieve impeccable results with lapped seams:

  • Accuracy in Cutting: Ensure precise and clean fabric edges when cutting the fabric pieces. This will make aligning and overlapping the edges much easier.
  • Even Seam Allowances: Maintain consistent seam allowances along the length of the lapped seam to achieve a professional and uniform finish.
  • Pin or Baste: Use pins or basting stitches to hold the overlapped edges in place before sewing. This will help maintain alignment and prevent shifting during stitching.
  • Press for Neatness: Take the time to press the seam open or towards one side using an iron. This will result in a crisp and polished appearance.


Lapped seams are a valuable technique in the realm of sewing and pattern making, providing strength, durability, and a clean finish to garments and sewing projects. Whether constructing apparel, creating closures, or working on home decor items, mastering lapped seams is essential for achieving professional and polished results. With attention to detail and practice, you can confidently sew lapped seams, creating clean and visually appealing seams that enhance the overall quality of your sewing projects. Embrace this technique, refine your skills, and enjoy the satisfaction of beautifully finished seams that showcase your craftsmanship.

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Melissa Villegas
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