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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Puckered Seams: Cause and Remedy


Puckered seams are a dead give-away that seams have not been sewn with the proper sewing technique.  Really, it all comes down to understanding how fabric is woven.  This is what I was taught by Carol Ahles to us new machine dealers, and it has been SO useful to improving my sewing projects over the years.  I hope this Blog Post will make it all clear to you as well.  

puckered sewn seam
  1. HOW FABRIC IS WOVEN – Lengthwise (warp) threads are placed on the loom first, and are at a high tension, or stretched.  Then the crosswise threads are woven through.  There is more ‘give’ to crosswise grain than lengthwise grain.  Given a piece of woven fabric with absolutely NO indication of which grain is which, lengthwise and crosswise, I can sew on it and immediately tell you which is the lengthwise grain and which is the crosswise.  The crosswise stitching will look nicer, because of the subtle ‘give’ of the threads.

  2. CUT OF THE GARMENT – The problem of puckered seams really shows its ugly head on straight seams.  For example, the side seams of straight leg pants, or the side seams of a slim ,straight skirt.

  3. STRETCH in BOBBIN THREAD – Another machine educator, April Dunn for Elna at the time, taught me that winding a bobbin should be done SLOWLY.  Especially when using polyester thread that has stretch in it.  If woven at a high speed, the thread will stretch.  Then, when it is sewn into a garment the thread tension can finally relax which = puckers.  So, wind those bobbins SLOWLY.

Watch this video to see the remedy for puckered seams.  It’s all in TAUT SEWING, and PROPER PRESSING.  

REMEDIES for Puckered Seams

To summarize then, the remedy for puckered seams includes the following:

  1. Stitch with ‘taut sewing technique’.  I always teach my students that your left hand belongs BEHIND the needle, and the right hand in front of the (as in the video), simply snip every 3-4 threads, stretch and press, then stitch again with TAUT sewing.

  2. MELD the seam.  Press the seam in the same manner in which it was sewn.  This makes the threads sink down and become one with the fabric.  This is also why you should select a thread close in diameter to the threads of which the fabric has been created.  Size is more important than fiber – with one exception:  knits MUST be sewn with polyester thread for the stretch.

There you have it – and with my wishes that this will improve the final appearance of straight seams.  

Do you have sewing questions?  I’m most happy to give you answers as I am able.  Contact me at 217-369-4687, or you can contact me online . While you’re there, please check out my online shop, etc. Right now there are AMAZING savings on extra Expo/Show Inventory HERE. 

Would you like to come sew with me in my Sunroom Sewing Studio?  We would have a BLAST, and you would learn ALOT.  Contact me for details.

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