Sewing & Pattern making Terms

Raw edge

In the realm of sewing, understanding the concept of raw edges is essential for achieving clean and professional-looking finishes. A raw edge refers to the unfinished, exposed edge of fabric that is susceptible to fraying and unraveling. As a seamstress or pattern maker, it’s crucial to know how to address raw edges to ensure the longevity and aesthetics of your creations. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the definition, causes, and effective techniques for managing raw edges, empowering you to create beautifully finished garments and projects.

Demystifying Raw Edges: Unfinished and Vulnerable

Understanding Raw Edges

  • Raw edges are the unfinished edges of fabric that have not undergone any hemming or finishing techniques.
  • They are prone to fraying and can compromise the structural integrity and appearance of the fabric.

Causes of Raw Edges

  1. Cutting:

When fabric is cut, it exposes the fibers along the cut edge, leaving them susceptible to fraying. Uneven or jagged cuts can exacerbate the fraying process.

  1. Fabric Type:

Some fabrics have a looser weave or more delicate fibers that are prone to fraying. Fabrics like linen, chiffon and loosely woven cotton are examples of materials with higher fraying tendencies.

Managing Raw Edges: Techniques for a Polished Finish

  1. Seam Finishes:
    • Seam finishes involve treating the raw edges of a seam to prevent fraying and enhance durability.
    • Common seam finishing techniques include:
      • Zigzag Stitch: Stitching along the raw edge with a zigzag pattern to encase and secure the fibers.
      • Overlocking/Serging: Using a serger machine to trim and enclose the raw edges with thread, preventing fraying.
      • French Seam: A technique that encloses the raw edges within the seam, resulting in a clean and hidden finish.
      • Bound Seam: Adding a separate strip of fabric, binding, or bias tape to encase the raw edges for a neat appearance.
  1. Hemming:
    • Hemming is the process of finishing the raw edge of a garment or fabric panel to prevent fraying and create a clean edge.
    • Common hemming techniques include:
      • Double-fold Hem: Folding the raw edge twice, securing it with stitches, and creating a clean, enclosed hem.
      • Blind Hem: Concealing the raw edge within the fold of the hem, resulting in a nearly invisible finish.
      • Rolled Hem: Folding and rolling the raw edge to create a small, neat hem suitable for lightweight fabrics.
  1. Binding:

Binding involves adding a strip of fabric or bias tape to encase and finish the raw edge, providing a decorative and durable finish. It is commonly used for necklines, armholes, and edges of quilts or blankets.

Choosing the Right Technique

  • The choice of finishing technique depends on factors such as fabric type, garment style and desired aesthetic.
  • Experiment with different techniques and consider the functionality and appearance required for your project.


Understanding and managing raw edges is a fundamental skill for every seamstress and pattern maker. By implementing appropriate finishing techniques, you can prevent fraying, enhance the durability of your garments and achieve a polished and professional appearance. Explore the various seam finishes, hemming methods and binding techniques to find the ones that best suit your fabrics and projects. With proper raw edge management, you’ll elevate your sewing skills and create beautifully finished pieces that stand the test of time.

Got Questions?

Melissa Villegas
Pattern Maker &


Melissa Portrait

Villegas Patterns

Recent Patterns

Need A Tutorial?

For detailed and in-depth instructions, watch my pattern tutorials on YouTube