DIY Patio Awning/Roman Shade--Advice needed

Making shade covers for my patio and need advice on final bits.
q diy patio awning roman shade advice needed
Thiis is an old photo of my back yard; the bedraggled awnings/shades were made of drop cloths and even though they lasted 6 or 7 years, they got extremely dirty and when I washed them, almost deteriorated. I want to replace them with striped awning fabric.
q diy patio awning roman shade advice needed
This fabric comes in 59" width. (I've actually chosen a Burgundy/white stripe rather than red/white.) My openings are 126 and 123 1/2. The stripes are 2 1/2" wide. So here's my plan: on each of the awnings, a 58" (allowing for 1/2" seams) piece will run down the center. I'll add pieces on each side to make up the measurement, matching the pattern so it will look as much as possible like a continuous piece of fabric. My question though regards the seams. The front will be facing out, the back, or seam side, will face the patio. To make it as neat as possible, I thought at first I'd serge the ironed-open seam edges. Then I considered a flat-felled seam, which I personally would need a bigger seam to accomplish and which I'm not that great at achieving anyway. Also thought of simply serging every seam closed. Then I thought about sewing under an eighth of an inch on every seam width and pressing finished seam open.

As much as I hate making them and will have to practice to not make a mess of it, I'm thinking flat-felled would be the best looking of all options.

Still, I really would like input: from those who sew and those who don't. If it were your back porch, which seam option would you want?
  7 answers
  • Deb K Deb K on May 12, 2018
    I only sew a bit, but I think flat felled would look the cleanest, and on another note, you could Scotchguard the fabric before you put it up and it will be a little more protected from the sun and other elements.

  • V Smith V Smith on May 12, 2018
    A French felled seam will be completely inclosed and require less trimming. You can make your first seam with wrong sides together using your overlock or serger (say 5 mm), then fold the fabric over that seam, so that right sides face each other and sew a second seam (say 7 mm) enclosing the first seam with a straight stich.
    A flat felled seam requires a larger seam allowance, trimming part of the first seam's allowance away, and then folding the fabric over to encapsulate the raw edges of your first seam.
    A flat felled seam requires more work because of the folding but it puts both lines of stitching on the same plane. It is a strong seam - think jeans.
    You can also flaten out a French felled seam if you fold the enclosed fabric to one side and stitch it flat thus making each seam with 3 lines of stitching verses 2.

    • Nancy Gramm Nancy Gramm on May 12, 2018
      Never thought of a French seam; I've only ever done that on delicate fabric. But, yeah, I like the thought of stitching it down. Thanks, V.

  • Jcraw Jcraw on May 12, 2018
    I vote French seam. Very durable too.
    I would also use Sunguard or Marine thread. Sin to do all that work and the thread gives out after one year, if not before

    • Nancy Gramm Nancy Gramm on May 12, 2018
      Thanks for the suggestion! Never thought of using a weather-resistant thread.

  • Teacup8885 Teacup8885 on May 12, 2018
    Maybe just over lap bout 2-4stripes n sew double line straight down each edge

  • 27524803 27524803 on May 12, 2018
    The French felled seam would be stronger under windy conditions ... as it consists of 2 actual seams... another option is to overlap the fabric and use a serpentine stitch... like a zigzag combined with a straight stitch... very strong.. I use it a lot when working with outdoor canvas materials.
    Be sure and get a UV coated automotive type thread... also... if you are using a home sewing machine... try using a leather needle on the machine... very sharp point and sharpened edges to help it go thru thicker materials easier... I order mine from and get the Schmetz needles... size range from 14 to 16 for the heavier thread

    • See 3 previous
    • 27524803 27524803 on May 16, 2018
      I am not sure I would risk my Overlock/Serger machine sewing anything really heavy like canvas.... and the outdoor canvas has a coating on it to make it water resistant.... I have noticed that when I sew on it that I get a lot more "dust" accumulating on and in the machine... also... most Serger needles are really small (size 8,9, or 10) and you may not be able to use the automotive or UV treated thread and the smaller diameter needles may have a tendency to break on multiple layers of the heavier fabric. ... Just a thought....

  • Nancy Gramm Nancy Gramm on May 12, 2018
    Good idea, Teacup. I was hoping to get cushion covers out of the leftovers so I'll have to weigh the idea of perfectly matching the stripes, which your idea would ensure, against buying more fabric for cushions. Thanks.

  • Jcraw Jcraw on May 15, 2018
    Glad to help. I think it’s critical if you’re going to do all that OMG work!!!