How to sew a Flat Felled Seam

I’m using the Husqvarna VIKING Opal 690Q this week to make some placemats and cushions for my new table and chairs in the backyard. I got all the pieces prepped yesterday and am ready to start sewing today.

The Flat Felled Foot 9mm presser foot was easy to install; it just snaps onto the ankle. It extends quite far in front of the presser foot ankle, and I removed it whenever I had to change the bobbin, which was no big deal since it’s easy to snap on and off.

The Flat Felled Foot 9 mm

I had never used this foot before and had no idea how it worked. That wasn’t an issue, as I grabbed my Husqvarna VIKING Accessory User’s Guide for the step-by-step instructions.

The Husqvarna VIKING Accessory User’s Guide

I got out that gorgeous box of Gütermann Nostalgia thread to pick a color. My retreat group had quite the discussion – should I choose a matching or contrasting thread? We settled on a matching thread, and I’ll use the contrasting thread for topstitching the placemats.

Choosing a thread color from Gütermann Nostalgia Box – 50wt Cotton Thread 100m – 48 Shades

It’s time to sew. If you want the flat felled seam to show on the right side of your project, as in a pair of jeans, the first seam is with the wrong sides together. If you want the flat felled seam inside, sew it with the right sides together. That concept goes against the grain of our sewing, and I had to rip one of the seams. OK – I had to rip out more than one seam!

The seam allowances are ⅝”, and you trim ¼” away from one of the seam allowances. I had left extra fabric, so I offset the two pieces by ¼”. They’ll get trimmed up once they are together.

The two pieces of fabric are ready for seam one of the flat felled seam

You may want to lengthen the stitch length depending on the thickness of the fabric. Even though I’m using decorator fabric, the fabric is not super thick. I left the stitch length at the default of 2.5.

Each flat felled seam consists of two lines of stitching. For the first seam, line up the rightmost edge of the fabric with the right edge of the flat felled seam presser foot. That’s the ⅝” mark from the needle. The second (shorter edge) is lined up with a red mark on the inside of the foot.

That makes it absolutely a breeze to get the two pieces lined up.

Lining up the fabric for the first seam

I wasn’t sure how the diagonal seams would work, but allowing for an offset at the beginning and the end worked like a charm. The instructions say to offset the two pieces, so the diagonal seam was almost better than a straight seam. I experimented on a scrap of fabric before I started on my projects. It’s never a good idea to start something new without experimenting if you don’t know what you’re doing. We make enough mistakes as it is!

The offset on the diagonal seam

Press the seam allowance to one side so the narrower edge is under the wider piece (the dark green). I used the same color thread in the top and the bobbin. The stitching we see in this photo is the bobbin thread.

The first seam is sewn and pressed

The wrong side looks like this.

The back side of the seam

The next step is to tuck about 1” of that wider seam allowance under so it wraps around the narrower seam allowance. Press it with the iron, or finger pressing works as well.

Pressing under the first 1” of the wider seam allowance

Place the fabric under the flat felled presser foot with the previous stitching line lined up with the red line on the inside of the foot. Sew for about 1”.

Starting the second line of stitching

Then, bring the seam allowance up so the raw edge sits in the curved guides at the front of the foot. Those two curved guides work like a charm to fold that raw edge under and keep it in place while you sew. And you’ll be sewing right along the folded edge.

The raw edge sits inside two curved guides

It’s important to note that the fabric you want to have the flat felled seam appear on should start as the wider fabric for the first seam. It didn’t matter in my case, but if I were using two very different colored fabrics, it could affect my thread color. In the clothing world, knowing whether the seam falls on the front or back of your pant seam could be essential.

I mixed, matched, and sewed the next placemat with the more colorful fabric on the bottom.

Sewing the second placemat with the colorful fabric on the bottom

And while it’s difficult to see because of the matching thread, the flat felled seam is on the colorful fabric. Using the needle down on the Opal 690Q is a MUST. I have to say that I was impressed at how easy it is to sew a flat, felled seam. I expected it to be a lot bulkier than it is. Hmm – this would work for quilt backings! There are no raw edges, so there is no fraying!

The flat felled seam

I’ve completed two seams, with the flat felled seam on both fabrics. They look impressive, and I’m impressed!

The flat felled seams

Here are some tips that I think make it easier.

Instead of letting that fabric fold over on itself, I held it in place as it curled through the guides at the front of the foot. I’m working with a looser weave polyester fabric cut on the bias. I felt it wanted to stretch out a bit. I found holding it helped to keep the seam tight. I probably wouldn’t need to do that with a straight-of-grain cut. More experimenting in that area would help me understand its physics.

I sewed SLOWLY, which is critical, and I watched what was happening as I sewed. I didn’t want to rip out because I’m dealing with biased edges, and the thread color matched so well.

Note which fabric must be on the bottom so all the seams are the same or different, depending on your preference.

Remember to start with the wrong sides together if you want that flat felled seam to appear on the right side!

Now that I’m comfortable with the flat felled seam, I can move forward and get the remaining seams done.

I want to finish the raw edges of those cushions, so I’ll use the Edging Foot J on the Opal 690Q. I don’t remember which stitch is the best, so I looked at the User’s Guide to see that I wanted to use Utility Stitch 1:11. The finger on J Foot works like a charm to keep the edge of the fabric and the stitch flat.

The Edging Foot J to overcast the fabric edges

Before I knew it, the edges were all finished. I won’t finish the edges of the placemats as they are inside and shouldn’t fray during washing, but I finished the edges of all the cushions.

Overcast stitch on the cushion

When I reached the corner, I rotated the fabric square and continued. It’s so easy with the Needle Down and the Exclusive Sensor System. The presser foot pops up ever so slightly, making pivoting a breeze. I LOVE this feature!

Overcast stitch

And now for the outtakes! So that you know, what I make is not always perfect; here are a few things that happened and how I fixed them. Remember I said I was concerned about the angle and if that would affect the flat felled seam or, more importantly, the size of the square?

Well, if the two pieces were off, which they were in this case, I couldn’t trim the square to the size I needed.

The square is too small

I won’t confess to understanding the physics of this, but I ripped that seam out and moved the darker piece down a bit, and now I could easily cut the 16½” square. It’s all about the angles!

The square is now large enough to trim

These two instances happen when you’re chatting away and not paying attention to what you’re doing.

When I trimmed the piece after I completed the seam, I trimmed it too short. I was running out of fabric, so I didn’t have the luxury of cutting two pieces to join. Instead, I cut a solid rectangle of one of the fabrics to replace this one.

A miscut!

And this is what happens to polyester fabric when you iron it on a cotton setting. It wasn’t so much the cotton setting as opposed to setting the iron on the fabric and then chatting! Oops. Oh dear – it melted right onto the iron, but no worries, once it cooled, I peeled the melted piece off the sole plate, and all was good. Again, I didn’t have enough fabric to cut two squares and piece them, so I had to cut a solid piece of fabric. No one will ever know what happened!

I was not paying attention!

And that’s a wrap for today. I was a little leery about using the Flat Felled Seam foot as I’d never used it, but it was a snap to use, and I wasn’t sure if it would work on those bias seams with that decorator fabric. However, I should know that when one has the proper tools and instructions, things will go well!!

Husqvarna VIKING Opal 690Q

It was a breeze to sew those seams on the Husqvarna VIKING Opal 690Q, and I look forward to tomorrow when I’m going to add piping to the placemats and the cushions, and I should be able to finish the placemats!

Be sure to check it out.

Have a great day!


This is part 3 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 2: Right tools make cutting large pieces for perfect patio cushions a snap

Go to part 4: Making piping is a breeze with the Welt Cord Foot

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Making piping is a breeze with the Welt Cord Foot

Right tools make cutting large pieces for perfect patio cushions a snap