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? :)
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