Seam Puckering is gathering of a seam during sewing, after sewing, or after washing, which makes seam appearance look uneven and ugly.
You can fix seam puckering problems with right coordination between thread, needle, fabric and thread tension.
Sewing machine makes sewing so much fun until we face seam puckering or other minor troubles.
The enemy number one to your beautiful stitching or sewing project is seam puckering that is, uneven and gathered seam. It is a common problem on woven fabrics than knits.
It looks awful and frustrating to gather all your materials and mind to do a certain task and then you get to know that the seam is not the way, it should be.
Then, you wonder if it’s worth to call the mechanic to fix the machine or rather watch TV. It requires a discipline of sorts to get yourselves into doing something and if the sewing machine is not giving you a good finishing done, then it seems a waste of time to spend the day cribbing.
Well, let’s save the day and the mood to sew.
Helpful Post : Sewing Guide to Stitch like a Pro
To get seams puckering fixed forever, know it before it happens
What is a seam
Seam is a line or stitching, where two pieces of fabric are sewn together.
You can also call it a join where two or more layers of a fabric is held together with stitches.
In fact, the material could be anything – fabric, leather or any other.
What is puckering
That unwanted ugly appearance, you get on your dress, when some of your clothes’ seam shrink or look tensed after sewing or after washing.
This tension of the thread is seam shrinkage or seam puckering.
Most commonly, seam puckering happens in knitted or woven fabrics.
5 Common Reasons of Seam Puckering
Though, there could be a number of reasons which lead to seam puckering, but you can blame the thread very conveniently because thread is an essential part of any seam.
However, there are some other factors also, which you can not overlook either.
It could be :-
1. Fabric is too thin or stretchy
Fabric material that you are using. The kind of fabric – thin or sturdy may make the difference in seam finish.
2.Stitch length and width is not adjusted
The width and length of seam you have chosen while handling a particular type of fabric.
3.Thread is not right for the fabric
Do you know, threads come in different thickness or weight according to thickness of fabric, thread weight is chosen.
Then, you have different types of threads – cotton, polyester, cotton – polyester mix, silk, zari, nylon etc.
Moreover, make sure you use the same thread in your bobbin as your upper thread.
4. Coordination between needle and thread
Not only this, you have to coordinate thread thickness with the needle thickness as well. Needles are also used considering the fabric thinness or thickness.
5. Sewing machine setting is in tension
If your sewing machine’s tension settings coordination is not done, then it would trouble the stitches.
In short, there has to be a proper coordination between thread, needle, fabric, sewing machine and the way you react to these things.
Five workable solutions To fix Seam Puckering
#1. If Needle is old, replace it with new
- An old needle is not gold here! Use a new, sharp needle when you start a new sewing project (ideally).
- Or change the needle as soon as you find out that it is bent or old enough to be changed.
- With stretch fabric, first and foremost, you should be using a stretch needle, which is basically a modified ball-point with a more elliptical point.
#2. Set the Thread Tension
- Seam puckering tends to occur when the thread tension in your sewing machine is too tight. Loosen your upper thread tension to get it right.
- Also check if the thread is too tight while it pass through the needle.
- You can resolve this problem by gradually loosening the thread tension (and testing it with a scrap piece of cloth) until your stitches appear nice and flat, without further puckering.
- The best way to avoid dealing with seam puckering at all is to test the thread tension before you launch into your sewing project.
- Better to work out the kinks on test cloth than on pricey fabric; when possible, test with a spare scrap of the final fabric.
#3. Sewing Machine is Threaded Properly
- The machine is not threaded correctly. Different types of machines may have a different method of threading.
- You may go through the manual provided by the sewing machine to know which machine you have and what is the method of threading your sewing machine.
- To make things easier for you, I have added some video tutorials, which you may check out for easy understanding of your sewing machine and it’s parts / functioning.
#4. The needle is not too heavy for the fabric
- Needle comes in different sizes and thickness. Rule of thumb is thinner needle for fine fabric and thicker needle for thick fabric.
- You can easily go by the numbers in increasing order when needing needle for a thicker fabric. Likewise, choose lower number of needle for fine fabrics.
- Generally, number 11 is used for fine fabrics and 16 is used for cottons.
For denims or thicker fabrics, you can choose number 18 needle for your everyday sewing.
#5. Coordination between needle, thread and fabric
- Shorten your stitch length according to the fabric.
- If the stitches are too coarse for the fabric being sewn, keep a thin sheet of paper underneath the fabric to prevent puckering.
- You can attach interfacing to your fabric to avoid seam puckering.
- When sewing extremely light weight materials, place a sheet of paper underneath the fabric.
- One more thing, don’t pull on your fabric as you sew.
This will help you handle the fabric well and get a smoother seam.
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