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I have found a conflict in how I want to UV unwrap my model for cloth modeling:

For material patches, it seems natural to make use of the seams the real thing would have (easier to paint the texture correctly).

For making seams look like seams I need to be able to paint over the real seam, making it hard if I use the real seam as UV seam.

How are such cases usually handled?

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Using a texture with stencil mapping makes it easy to paint physical seams where you want them, regardless of where the uv seams are.

enter image description here

I gave more details about stencil painting in this answer

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You can use two UV maps. One UV map laid out how ever is best for your model with the main texture. Then a second UV map unwrapped so the cloth seams come out better for painting. Uv Maps

You can unwrap your model with UV seams and all, make a second UV map then mark all new UV seams and unwrap again.

Here is an old blender nerd tutorial explaining the process. (for people that like video tutorials)

To use your two textures, and two UV maps in cycles, all you need are two UV Map nodes and two Image Texture nodes. Mix the two images together based on the "seams" image's alpha. The image below is a full node setup for using two image and two UV maps.
cycles nodes

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