Woven fabrics require the raw edges to be sealed to stop fraying. There are lots of options to finish these raw edges.

If you are looking for an option that can be sewn on a regular sewing machine, a CLEAN FINISH SEAM might be what you are looking for!


  • Easy to sew straight lines
  • Less bulky than many other seams
  • Ideal for draw-string bags
  • Doesn’t require any special tools
  • Can be sewn wider or narrower as needed


1. Place two pieces of fabric right sides together. Sew together with  a 1cm+ seam allowance.

2. Open the seam and fold each raw edge under towards the line of stitching. Ironing does make this step easier, but is not essential.

3. Sew down each side to secure in place. Stitch about 2mm in from each folded edge.


Using A CLEAN FINISH SEAM for the side seam of a draw string bag gives you a neat finish and it is very durable against the movement of the cord through the opening.

Making a draw string bag is simple and can be made almost any size you like.


Length = desired bag height + 5cm

Width = (desired bag width x2) + 2cm

If you are using a very thick fabric you may want to sew your seams a little wider so add extra width if needed.


*Always start and end all lines of stitching by reversing a few stitches to strengthen.

Fold the bag in half width ways and finish with above mentioned CLEAN FINISH SEAM – BUT – Here is the important bit!

When sewing the first line of the seam, leave a gap in the line of stitching that is 2cm down from the top and 2cm wide.

Finish this side CLEAN FINISH SEAM as usual. When done, you will have an opening where the gap was left to thread the draw string through.


Fold the top raw edge of the bag (the end with the gap you left) down by 1cm – press.

Then fold down again by 3cm and press.

Sew to secure, close to the lower folded edge.

Thread cord through the opening using a safety pin to help pass it through.
Cord needs to be longer than total top opening tube.
CORD LENGTH = WIDTH of fabric (mentioned above) + at least 15cm to allow for a knot or toggle.


Finish the bottom edge with your choice of closing seam. 1cm seam allowance for the bottom edge.

A french seam is ideal. You could choose to overlock this seam, use pinking shears or zig zag the edge.

I hope you found this info useful and will give a CLEAN FINISH SEAM a try next time you are sewing.

Be sure to check out the other  BLOG POSTS here for more useful sewing tips, patterns and reviews.