March 28, 2014

11 Comments

Sewing Techniques ›




 


Basic French Seam tutorial

French seams truly are fabulous. Originally from couture, they're fairly widespread amongst the sewing community -- and for good reason! They wrap the raw seam allowances in fabric, creating a smooth, beautiful finish on the inside of your project. And they aren't nearly as hard as they look!

For this tutorial, I'm using scraps of fabric with a 1/2" seam allowance. You can adapt this technique for almost any seam allowance size, but you will need at least 3/8" to work with. So, if you are using a pattern that has 1/4" seam allowances, like most doll clothes patterns do, just add an extra 1/4" to the edges you'd like to french seam. While you can adapt it to curved seams, straight seams usually yield the best results. 

Start by pinning your two pieces of fabric together, RIGHT SIDES OUT. This is totally backwards from normal sewing, so just take a deep breath and keep going!

Sew your first pass at 1/4", then trim the seam down to 1/8". 

Next, press the seam open, and refold the fabric around the seam allowances. Now the WRONG sides should be out, and the right sides should be together, like normal.  Press this new fold flat, being careful to keep the seam at the very edge of the fold.

Pin along your new, folded edge, and stitch again, this time at 1/4". Notice how we've finally used up all of our original 1/2" seam allowance?

Open out your fabric one more time, and press the french seam to one side. Congratulations! You have now officially completed a french seam! 

And from the right side -- who would guess such a beautiful seam lurked beneath? :)

For Pixie Faire,
Melinda


11 Comments

Marie
Marie

May 20, 2016

Boy did I need this tutorial. I had the basic concept of a French seam, but have been doing it in the wrong way, making it very difficult to accomplish. Thanks for the lesson!

Noel
Noel

May 20, 2016

Such a timely tutorial! I did French seams years ago, sewing my own clothes in high school. I haven’t done them since, but it’s definitely time to use this once again. It was easy then, I recall, so no fear in trying again. I loved it for gauze fabrics, lightweight denim and more, anything that is a bit ravelly.

Thank you!

Linda
Linda

September 04, 2015

When adding the 1/4 to your fabric you can buy rulers that will perfectly allow the extra 1/4 to your seams.They come in differnt measurements like 1/4 and 1/2 you can find these rulers at any quilt shop,or where quilting notions are sold,very easy to use and no guess work.

Sue LaRose
Sue LaRose

June 02, 2014

Enjoyed your hints make allot of doll clothes that would probably look better with french seams but a bit nervous about cutting patterns bigger. When I cut it out would I just cut a little further from the edge? When I cut a part like a sleeve, since I’d have to use a regular stitch do I cut it normal like the pattern?

Jacqueline
Jacqueline

May 07, 2014

I have always known about French seams, but never thought to do them for what I made, especially when sergers were made more available. After seeing how to do tem and how much neater they look, I’m thinking of doing this instead.

Bev
Bev

April 14, 2014

Again
Thank you so much.
This is so helpful for everyone.
Bev

Lynne
Lynne

April 04, 2014

My mother was a Master Seamstress, who taught me years (50+) ago how to make French seams. Unfortunately, she isn’t with me any longer to remind me how I use to make them, so thank you for this tutorial and also a trip down memory lane for me.

Sue
Sue

April 04, 2014

I learned French seams in middle school home economics, for pillowcases, but never thought about using it in making anything else. What a great idea for those fabrics that have a high fray factor!
Thanks, Pixie Faire! Once again I have learned something new from your tips!

Marian Peoples
Marian Peoples

April 04, 2014

Thanks for the encouragement. I have always used French seams for adult’s & children’s clothing as well as household items. Why I never considered it for doll clothes is beyond me.

Shirley
Shirley

April 04, 2014

I have never tried a French seam, but think they are beautiful. Now that I see how it is done, maybe I’ll give it a try :-)

Darlene Crawford
Darlene Crawford

April 04, 2014

I thank you for this French seam tutorial.

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