Friday, October 30, 2009

How To: Sew a French Seam

I love French Seams!
They are quick, simple and clean. Especially nice for kids clothes that need to endure lots of wash cycles. This is a perfect technique to use when working with fabrics that tend to fray heavily or if you just want a professional, polished finish without a serger or overlock stitch. With a French Seam all raw edges are completely enclosed. No unraveling.

The technique may at first feel counter intuitive but once you've seen it (or sewn it) you'll see it's quite simple and makes perfect sense. There is only a bit of extra math involved in order to determine your finished seam allowance. I will explain how to sew a French Seam if your pattern includes either a 1/2 or 5/8 seam allowance (SA).

If 1/2" SA included - First with WRONG sides facing sew a 1/4" seam.
5/8" SA included - First with WRONG sides facing sew a 3/8" seam.

Next carefully trim seam allowance to 1/8".
Open pieces so that right sides and seam are laying face up, press seam allowance neatly to one side.

Turn again so that RIGHT sides are now facing, press.

Stitch 1/4" from the edge. Finally turn right sides out and voila! You have a completely encased French Seam.


mikaysmom said...

I love french seams!!! thank you for the super quick and easy tutorial! I learned to do these while working in an industrial sewing environment, but it's all the same!

andrea creates said...

I love them too- I use them on my pouches:)

les lubies said...

How funny it is ! In France (I'm French) we call this "couture anglaise" = English seam ;o)

Cristin said...

Best tutorial I've seen! I taught my self a french seam when I made lots of tote bags... nice and sturdy, and if unlined, a nice clean inside without raw edges.

Emimage said...

I didn't know french seams… I'm french tough ! Thank you for this. Here is my new blog, i hope you'll like it :

Jill Elaine said...

I love french seams! Especially on my little girls dresses:) Makes a dress seem really detailed.

Lorene said...

Great tutorial! I've been meaning to start using french seams but every time I sit down to sew I forget. Now that I've seen it done (vs reading about how to do it) I'm going to remember and do it!

maritessb said...

This make soo much sense to do! Thanks.

jessica said...

french seams are great. nice tutorial.

babygees said...

I love these seams too. I used them on my pillowcase dresses. Great pictures!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the french seam how to. I am self teaching myself to sew and this looks so simple compared to the books I'm using! Thanks again!

Tanna said...

Thanks for the GREAT tutorial! I just used french seams (thanks to you) when making a dress for my daughter. Sew nice!

louise said...

Thanks I love a good french seam.

Danielle said...

I consider myself math savvy but I could not for the life of me figure out how to use a french seam on a pattern with a 5/8" allowance!! Thank you so much for including that! Bookmarking page now!!

Hanna said...

I am going through the process of making something like a top and thinking of using french seams. Is it possible to make an entire garmet using french seams? If you make french seams on the shoulders, how can you do it for the sides, or the sleeves?

Zingger said...

I totally didn't know about this technique - so excited to try it out!

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