Seam Pucker: Causes and Solutions

Seam Pucker: Causes and Solutions

Shubham Anil Jain
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited
Bangalore, India


What is Seam Pucker?
A seam pucker, defined by The Oxford Dictionary as “a ridge, wrinkle or corrugation of the material or a number of small wrinkles running across and into one another, which appear when sewing together two pieces of cloth,” is a phenomenon that occurs when two pieces of cloth are sewn together. One of the main barriers to quality, among other sewing-related criteria, is puckering of a seam. It lowers the quality of the finished item made from lightweight fabric. Pucker is the term used when the appearance of a smooth fabric becomes wrinkled due to a seam. When there is too much fabric and not enough thread in the seam, it usually happens. One of the most frequent sewing flaws on fabric is pucker. Clothing seam puckering can have a variety of causes. Most often, seam puckering is seen after sewing and washing.

seam pucker

Types of Seam Puckering in Garments:

1. Feeding puckering:
This type of puckering only affects one side of the seam and is asymmetrical to it. The two fabrics are fed differently during sewing, which causes the seam to feed pucker.

2. Displacement puckering:
Displacement puckering is symmetric at the left and right of the seam; the pucker is still noticeable after the thread has been cut in half between related needle penetrations.

3. Tension puckering:
This symmetrical pucker to the left and right of the seam is caused by tension, and it is remedied by clipping the thread in between the neighbouring needle penetrations.

4. Shrinkage puckering:
This phenomenon, which resembles a tension pucker, results from a different rate of cloth shrinkage than that of sewing threads.

Reasons for Seam Pucker:

a) Variable or uneven stretch on fabric plies:

  1. When sewing together additional plies of fabric, there is a significant chance that the seam will pucker.
  2. The fabric plies will not feed evenly through the sewing machine due to varied stretch, which will result in seam pucker.
  3. This kind of seam puckering is a result of the feed mechanism’s limitations.

b) Fabric dimensional instability:

  1. Seam puckering will develop after washing if the shrinkage of sewed fabric plies is not the same or equal.
  2. Before sewing, it must be aware of the shrinking characteristics of various types of textiles in order to prevent this.
  3. Sewing the textiles together will result in seam puckering if the area of two pieces of cloth shrinks by more than two times.

c) Elongation of sewing thread:

  1. When stitching fabrics, various tensions are applied to the sewing thread.
  2. The needle thread is under far more tension than the beneath thread, in particular. Seam pucker will result if the needle thread’s tension is greater than the under-thread’s tension. The thread’s length is somewhat increased as a result of tension:
  3. Thread and fabric shrink when the fabric is moved or comes down from the sewing machine because they tend to return to their original positions.
  4. There is no risk of puckering if the thread and cloth shrink at the same rate. However, if the thread’s shrinkage percentage is more than that of the cloth, there is the possibility of puckering.

d) Shrinkage of sewing threads:

  1. Seam puckering develops after washing or ironing because sewing thread and fabric have varying shrinkage percentages.
  2. Before choosing a fabric and thread for sewing, it must be aware of the shrinkage percentage of both.
  3. Because synthetic threads shrink less than natural ones, there is less chance of seam puckering while sewing with them.

e) Inconsistent patterns:

  1. When two patterns of differing sizes are combined, puckering will result.
  2. This is the responsibility of the designer. But can happen when the wrong patterns are chosen.

Solutions to Avoid Seam Puckering Problem:

  1. Make light use of the machine’s thread tensions. Start by making the bobbin or looper’s bottom thread tension as light as possible while still maintaining proper thread control. Next, reduce the needle thread tension to the bare minimum required to keep the seam closed and the stitch balanced. This not just diminishes the lengthening of the string in the crease, yet in addition further develops circle arrangement and sew capacity.
  2. To reduce stretching during sewing, choose a thread with a high initial modulus or a low elongation. Choose a thread that has good lubricity properties and can be sewn with little tension.
  3. Crease puckering is more pervasive on firmly woven textures in light of the fact that the yarns are arranged in extremely close layers that can’t move effectively to make up for the string as it is embedded in the crease. This draws up the fabric’s tight yarns, resulting in a rippled appearance at the seam line. When seams are sewn in the warp direction rather than the weft (filling) or bias direction, this typically presents a greater challenge.
  4. Make use of a plate with a small hole for the needle; as well as a presser foot that has a tiny needle hole.
  5. Reduce the number of stitches per inch to lessen the likelihood of seam puckering caused by yarns being displaced along the stitch line.
  6. When you can, cut the pieces of the garment so that they can be sewn on the bias or in a way that lets the different yarns in the fabric move around.
  7. Use a presser foot with low friction: Rolling bearings coated in Teflon, a “feeding foot,” and so on. Utilize a “hostile to puckering” needle plate with a holding spring that keeps down on the base employ to match the top handle.
  8. Make use of sewing machines with a needle feed or compound feed mechanism, in which the fabric is sewn as the needle moves with the feed. This “sticking” of the handles as they are being taken care of lessens feed puckering.
  9. Make sure the feed timing on your sewing machine is set correctly because if it isn’t, you might have to put too much tension on the needle thread. Wrong timing might prompt an imbalanced stitch.
  10. Adjust the needle’s thread tension so that it is as light as possible while still achieving a balanced stitch. This will make it easier to sew and reduce puckering when the thread is stretched.

Puckering is a kind of defect in sewing that causes the stitching line to appear gathered or tangled in isolated areas or at irregular intervals. There is a rippled impact in the crease line which is ugly. One of the primary indicators of a garment made by hand is puckered stitching. However, for each issue, there is an equivalent and viable arrangement. Seam puckering is seen when crease contractive powers surpass the texture clasping opposition inside a join. The issue of seam puckering is more prevalent in knits than in woven fabrics; and it’s especially noticeable on fabrics with a tight weave. Puckering might be evident subsequent to sewing or it might foster later on during use. The properties of sewing threads and fabrics, seam construction, needle penetration, stitch formation, sewing thread tension, fabric feeding, and the compatibility of the sewing thread, needle, and the material being sewn all have an impact on the sewing process. After sewing, the threads shrink, which has a significant impact on puckering as well.



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  4. Procedure of Fabric Seam Slippage Test
  5. Seam Defects | Common Seam Quality Defects in Garments
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1 thought on “Seam Pucker: Causes and Solutions”

  1. I’m grateful for this informative article on seam pucker causes and solutions. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the factors that contribute to seam distortion, including fabric handling, machine settings, or stitch selection, allowing you to troubleshoot and create impeccable seams.


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