How To Sew French Seams
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The sun is shining and it's over 70 degrees here in Colorado. I've got flowy spring tops and dresses constantly on my mind. I thought today's tutorial would be a good one for those getting their handmade wardrobe ready for the warming weather. Because there's nothing better than a French seam in a handmade dress. Nothing.
What is a French Seam?
A French seam is a double seam that encases the raw edge of the fabric. While this method takes a few extra steps, the result is a crisp, folded edge within your garments. Not only do French seams look great, your garment will likely fare better after repeated washings. No raw edges means no fraying fabric!
For me, French seams are akin to bias tape
. It’s a sewing technique that a beginner sewist can easily master with just a few attempts. And it will make you feel like a sewing professional.
If your sewing pattern calls for French seams like the Sutton Blouse
or the Ruby Top
you won’t need to make any adjustments to your seam allowances. Simply sew using the seam allowances stated in the pattern instructions.
If you’d like to add French seams to a pattern that doesn’t include this technique, you’ll need to add extra seam allowance to your pattern pieces. I recommend adding an extra 1/4” for the technique I’ll demonstrate below.
How to Sew French Seams
For this tutorial I’ll be demonstrating how to sew French seams onto a straight seam with a georgette fabric. Sewing French seams with other types of fabric or on curved seams is the same step-by-step process.
1. Make sure your pattern pieces are neatly pressed.
2. Pin your fabric wrong sides together along the seam as often as you prefer. For slippery fabrics I pin every 2”.
3. Sew the length of the seam with a 1/4” seam allowance. Press the seam flat.
4. Trim your seam allowance down to 1/8”. If your pattern pieces are straight you can use a rotary blade and mat. If you’re working with a curved seam, use your fabric scissors.
5. Now, press your seam allowance toward one pattern piece. Then fold the two pattern pieces right sides together along the seam and press to create a crisp edge.
6. Once the full length of your seam is pressed to a crisp fold, sew down the seam with a 1/4” seam allowance.
7. Give your French seam one final press by pressing the seam to one side.
8. If there are any fraying fibers sticking out of your seam, trim them down.
Congratulations! You just sewed a French seam! Isn’t it lovely?
To show you a few more examples, here’s a French seam I sewed on the Sutton Blouse
. This fabric was a sheer georgette. Every seam on the sutton blouse is finished this way, making it a beautiful top inside and out.
My Ruby Dress
also has French seams. This is a standard quilting cotton, making sewing French seams a total breeze.
What are your favorite sewing patterns to add French seams to? Tell us in the comments!
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