When sewing with woven fabrics, seams need to be finished. This is to prevent the seams inside of your garment from unraveling. There are a smorgasbord of options when it comes to finishing seams ranging from simple to elaborate. The seam finish you chose will be based on the type of fabric you are using, the garment type, and how fancy you feel.
Pinking is one of the easiest seam finishes. It does require a pair of pinking shears (fabric scissors with zig-zag blades). All you have to do is cut along the edge of your seam. If your fabric is prone to unraveling at all, this won't be a very durable seam finish.
Recommended for: tightly woven fabrics that don't fray, curved edges
STITCHED + PINKED
Take your seam finish a step further by stitching AND pinking. Stitch along your seams about 1/4" from the edge. Proceed to pink your edge. This will give a bit of reinforcement to your seam, but still isn't the most durable option.
Recommended for: tightly woven fabrics, on curved edges, and fabrics that are a bit heavy that might be bulky if turned under and stitched.
TURNED + STITCHED
Turning and stitching your seams will create a clean, professional finish. Turn edge of seam allowance under (1/8-1/4") and press. Stitch along folded edge. This is a long lasting seam finish that will give your garment a more finished look.
Recommended for: light-medium weight fabrics, unlined outerwear (garments where you might see the inside more often).
ZIG-ZAGGED, OVEREDGED, SERGED
There are a bevy of machine stitches that can give you a nice finish. Virtually all sewing machines will have some sort of zig-zag stitch. You can also finish your seams with overedge and serginig stitches. Check out the selection on your machine!
If you want your seam to be EXTRA fancy, go for a bound finish. Wrap bias tape around the raw edge of your seam. Stitch close to the edge of your tape making sure that you are catching the bias tape underneath.
Recommended for: fabrics that fray a lot, formal garments, unlined outerwear.