Your Technical Fashion Toolkit – ABC Seams

The key to communicating your product effectively to your pattern maker, sample maker and especially to your factory, is having a detailed and easy to understand Tech Pack. Communicating your message visually is effective both to bridge potential language barriers, as well as to save someone time in reading and referencing your tech pack, ensuring that the information is actually seen, understood, and utilized during production and product development.

Once you have your design sketch prepared, you'll want to make call-out's for what seam finishing and construction methods are needed for your product. Many designers out there may or may not know the name of the stitch, or what machine does it. Even if you do, communicating your needs visually will ensure that you achieve the results you are looking for. I am happy to share a great resource that can help you do this - ABC Seams!

ABC Seams is a company based in Australia who I found and be-friended via Instagram. I was delighted to see them launch their e-book earlier this year, 101 Sewing Seams. The book is broken down into 3 simple categories: Construction, Hems and Finishes, and Details. From there the seams are grouped into similar structure or style and contain multiple options. What's great is that each seam is illustrated both technically and paired with an image to show the seam on fabric. It's easy to take a look at your own clothing or reference samples and compare physical seams to ones listed in the book, to find what will work best for a style you are developing.

Some of the advantages of using this code system:

Using a proper vocabulary and pairing that with the visual images will help you to get better results when working through product development, pre-production and production.

- get better results in a shorter period of time

- reduce development costs

- improve working relationships

I started with the e-book, which I utilize as a reference, but also to take screen shots of the seams to include in my tech packs (which I build in Excel). However, I also purchased the print version when it became available, and enjoy using it as a resource during client meetings to help them to identify stitches and make decisions. Depending how you like to work, you might enjoy having both versions, or just the digital copy.

ABC Seams also offers a membership to their site - and there's a FREE version! Membership includes free access to the Seams Gallery to refer at any time, which can be used to explain your designs clearly, and be more creative when designing. You will also receive a monthly email with the latest updates to the Seams Gallery (new seams), and interesting resource files to download. Joining also gives you a discount on the e-book, so I suggest doing that to take full advantage.

I'm excited to be able to offer a discounted rate on the e-book for my readers here, thanks to Belu at ABC Seams!

101 Sewing Seams E-Book €8

Buy Now €8

Buy the eBook with 30% discount here. (€5)

The print copy is available on Amazon:

1 Response

  1. I’ve had this open on my iPad for a couple of weeks with the idea that I’d be able to figure out why this author went to so much work to create a new system and nomenclature for seaming but must confess that I can’t make sense of it. What am I missing? Why is a proprietary system better? Why/how was it decided that a new proprietary system is better than the ASTM D-6193 (based on the 751-a, originally created by the US government to facilitate uniform specifications among its sewing contractors) and the ISO 4916 standard (created by the International Standards Organization), the latter being internationally ubiquitous? My concern is that a new system will create confusion and problems. For example, most contractors are familiar with the ASTM and ISO standards. For the most common seam, SSa-1 (ASTM) aka I.0.1 (ISO), this author has created a new designation “C000” (or “C000-1”, I’m confused about which) which few if any contractors will know. Theoretically this will require a contractor to purchase and learn yet another seam classification system that no other customer uses. As a practical matter, a factory is more likely to take a pass on a customer using proprietary systems because who knows what other odd ball things are baked into their processes and procedures. Of course there are exceptions but even world class brands use SOP (using SOP is just one reason they’re world class brands). In my factory, we have enough to do without having to learn and use an entirely new and proprietary system from a potential customer. Me and every other factory is only interested in working with prospects who are using SOP best practices. The other thing is, seam classes are tightly aligned to all forms of machining technology. Sewing machine documentation from various sewing machine manufacturers use SOP seam classes to designate seam specificity but with a new proprietary system, none of that is baked in. A production manager will be forced to dig through pictographs to make the conversion to the system they use internally. And that’s another thing. The ISO numbered system is better for international trade because not everyone uses the letter characters we do and if they do, the letters mean something else (“C” for construction is only meaningful if you speak English and Romance languages.) Every society uses numbers; a factory floor supervisor has a very different skill set (in Asia, usually not English speaking) as compared to an office worker processing one’s TP who has access to translation. Meaning, one’s specifications are going to be massaged internally (a recipe for error) if using a proprietary system. In sum, I remain confused and welcome explanation.

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