How to sew enclosed seams

I have a quick lingerie sewing tutorial for you today, perfect for those of you who are getting started with sewing lingerie for #KnickerNovember! Enclosed seams aren’t required for sewing lingerie, but odds are that you’ll probably come across them fairly quickly (and if they’re not mentioned in the pattern instructions, probably you’ll find ways to add them in).

So, what are enclosed seams? What I mean when I refer to enclosed seams is that you’re sewing together three or four layers of fabric, and the raw seam is enclosed neatly between the layers, so it’s neither seen when looking at the inside of the garment, nor felt against your skin. It’s a great way to have a neat-looking interior and provides extra stability when the raw seam isn’t exposed to too much agitation.

You can probably use this method whenever you’re attaching pieces of fabric that include a lining on at least one side; the finished seam will be enclosed between the lining and self fabric of one side.

Erm. Confused yet? Well, that’s what the tutorial is for! (Or, I have a handy video tutorial up on Youtube to help you too!)

In this example, I’m sewing together a two-piece bra cup, so I have the self and lining fabrics for the side cup, and the self and lining fabrics for the center cup. Two of each = four pieces of fabric.

I’ve lined up my fabrics so that the wrong sides are touching for the self and lining side-cup, and the wrong sides are touching for the self and lining center cup, jut to help me visualize how the pieces will get sewn together.

(If the centers need to be sewn together on the bra/lette, I’ll start there and work my way out. In this case, since it’s a triangle bra with only two pieces per cup, it doesn’t make a difference which order you go in, but you should do the same on each cup!)

Now, I’m going to treat the center cup lining and self as one piece of fabric. Ignore that it’s two pieces; the self fabric is now the right side and the lining fabric is now the wrong side.

Essentially, the next step is that you’re going to create a little fabric sandwich. Take your self side cup, and flip it over on top of your center cup, so the self pieces are right sides touching.

Now take your side cup lining, flip it over (right side up) and place your other pieces on top of it. Now from bottom to top, you have:

  • side cup lining, right side up
  • center cup pieces, right side up
  • side cup self, right side down

Do what you need to do to line up the seam, pin/baste if necessary, and sew the seam with the specified seam allowance.

When you’re done, flip the side cup pieces over and, ta da! A beautiful cup, and no seam to be seen!