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.