Originally Posted by ringring
Felling is not by any means "the sign of crappy jeans". And is probably the strongest way to finish a seam - hence it's use on the back rise & yoke in jeans and also on the outseam of many workpants.
I really don't think this is true. I hear all the time about how felled seams are the strongest type of seam, with the reasoning mostly being, "well, just look at all that fabric tied up in there!" But I've never seen any empirical evidence that they're stronger than a lapped seam, and the argument does exist among top textile manufacturers.
What I do know is this: most of the jeans espoused to be of highest quality around here have lapped inseams. None of my high quality camping gear (tents, bags) use felled seams, and I've also heard that they're avoided on sails and parachutes.
I also know that strength is a moot point, as you implied. If a seam is going to fail on a pair of jeans, it will be the outseam.
The last thing I know is that felled seams are cheap to produce and are friggin' ugly as hell
(which is why this thread was started in the first place, no?), so much so that brands like APC and Nudie try to hide the fact that they use felled seams by using indigo thread on one of the stitches.
For what it's worth, I have seen failed flat-felled seams. They occur on the felled outseam of jeans that were probably purchased at Wal-Mart. This may have to do with the quality of things purchased at Wal-Mart, but the chances of seeing a failed lapped seam are much slimmer because cheap jeans don't use lapped seams.