How to add seam allowance Method 1 - 3

A pattern without seam allowance (s/a) allows you to be flexible when altering. You can trace and add s/a to your traced paper or use one of the below methods. There are several other ways…but here are two simple ways. 

Learn more: Why do you add seam allowance.


Method 1. Trace pattern on paper. Add seam allowance indicated on the paper pattern while checking the diagram for unique seam shapes.


Method 2.Trace seam allowance with tailor’s chalk or chalk pen on fabric.


Method 3. Use tailor’s tacks to mark the finish line (sewing line)


Method 2. Trace seam allowance with tailor’s chalk or chalk pen on fabric


  • Place a pattern that doesn’t have a s/a directly on the fabric.
  • You will transfer the s/a looking at the paper pattern, then sew using the stitch guide on your machine.
  • You do not transfer the finish line (sewing line) with this method. (You can if you would like to) 


1. Cut out the pattern at your size from the original or trace the pattern from the original.


2. Lay on the fabric. Place weights.



3. Draw the seam allowance directly on the fabric. The s/a width is written on your pattern. Ex. 1.0cm s/a means add 1.0cm seam allowance around the pattern. You do not need to draw the finish line unless you require this. Just remember how much s/a there is when sewing the finish line.




*Remember to trace all notches and marks!




Method 3. Use tailor’s tacks to mark the finish line (sewing line)


Mark the finish line(sewing line)  with a traditional tailor’s tacks. Then cut the necessary s/a while looking at the pattern. The s/a can be slightly larger than indicated on the pattern. This allows you to adjust sizing as you construct your garment.


1. Place the pattern directly on the fabric. The pattern has no s/a added. 



2. Use traditional tailor’s tacks to indicate the sewing lines. This is the finish line.

3. For corners, make a cross-like mark.




4. For round curves, make several tailor’s tacks. For straight lines, fewer. Remember all the notches! 

5. Once finished, cut seam allowance around the fabric. Check the pattern to see how much s/a you need and make it a little bigger than suggested. This allows space for adjustment! 




6. Gently pull apart the layers of fabric, trim the threads in between.

This will leave little threads in both sides. This is the line you will sew when composing.






Welcome: Why add seam allowance yourself ?

Thank you for choosing to sew with Couleure's Pattern.


Your Pattern will include the below:

1. Paper pattern / multi-size & in English

2. Detailed Instruction / in English

3. Seam allowance diagram / in Japanese



Couleure's "English & Multi-size" patterns do not include seam allowance. This is because Couleure's patterns have very precise seam allowance such as 1.2cm, 1.0cm, 1.5cm, 2.5cm etc compared to most patterns where they ask for 1.5cm or 2.0cm all around. This results in a clean-finish, well-fitted and professional-looking items.   


It is difficult to make a multi-size pattern that has a clear sewing line and a detailed seam allowance included. We believe having the correct sewing line is important. Therefore we ask our users to add these themselves while looking at the included 3. Seam allowance diagram. 


If you have had any experience with Japanese patterns you would know that most Japanese patterns do not include seam allowance. This is the case for Couleure's pattern's multi-size patterns too. It is said to come from a tradition of tailoring where patterns are adjusted and altered to individual body-shape and dress-style. 


When you are still new to sewing or familiar with a pattern that has a general seam allowance included it might feel like an extra step having to add seam allowance yourself. But once you are an experienced sewer it is useful to start with a pattern without seam allowance. You can clearly see the sewing line, you know where to adjust and where to leave as, before adding seam allowance. You can check and adjust your pattern without having to remove the seam allowance.


It might be a new technique for you but we hope you will enjoy the experience and the rewarding end-results. We hope Couleure's pattern will introduce you to a new world of skills. 


See Tutorial: How to add seam allowance



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