Factors Affecting Seam Appearance in Garments

This is a short note on factors affecting seam appearance in garments. Garments are made by stitching multiple garment parts together and seams are formed where fabrics are sewn. Seam appearance is very critical to garment appearance. Seam quality is related with seam puckering, where unwanted gathers appear at stitch line.
Seam puckering
Seam puckering

There are number factors that may cause undesired seam appearance. In this article, only major reasons are discussed those causes puckering in a seam.

1. Structural jamming of fabric:  In the tightly woven fabrics, the space (gap) in between yarns are too less to pass through sewing threads. When sewn threads are inserted in such fabrics to sew fabric plies together, it forms a wavy seam. In such cases puckering happen due to yarn displacement.

2. Excessive thread tension: While stitching, due to excessive thread tension puckering may happen on seam.

3. Uneven ply feeding: Most of the seams are made sewing two plies together. At the time of sewing, if fabric plies are not feed evenly puckering will generate on the seam. This cause is named as Machine puckering.

4. Material Shrinkage (where seam components have differential shrinkage): Fashion apparels are made of different types of fabrics. Fabrics used in a garment may have different shrinkage rate. After washing the garment, fabrics used in a garment shrink based on their own shrinkage rate.

Puckering can also happen if the shrinkage of sewing thread is high.

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