How to Make French Seams
Easy-to-follow, Step-by-step Instructions
About French Seams
A French seam is often used when the fabric is too delicate to overcast the seam allowance to prevent raveling. The construction of a French seam provides a clean, finished, professional look to the inside of the garment, such as concealing pinked edges.
The use of a French seam is not restricted to any particular clothing style or type. There are instances, however, where it is impractical (such as a set-in sleeve) because of its complexity. Until the seamstress (or tailor) is proficient with this procedure, using a French seam on curves (such as placing a sleeve into an armhole) should be avoided.
Generally speaking, French seams are not suitable for bulky fabrics.
French Seam Tutorial ©1999-2009 RBR, Inc.
How to Make a French Seam
What You Will Need
- Sewing Machine
- Scissors or Pinking Shears
Make note of the of the difference between the “right” and “wrong” side of the fabric you are using. The nature of a French seam's construction requires that you be aware of the difference during construction so that they are properly oriented in each step.
With the right sides facing out, pin material together, pinning entire length of edge where the French seam will be.
Stitch a 1/4" seam allowance along the entire length of the edge pinned in Step 2. Remove pins after the seam allowance has been sewn. Note: contrasting thread shown in photo used for clarity only.
Cut seam allowance (sewn in Step 3) to within 1/8" of stitches. Although you may use pinking shears, they are not required. The cut edges will be protected (and hidden) by the completed French seam.
Unfold with the right sides up. Press entire length of trimmed seam allowance, pressing both edges flat and to one common side. DO NOT press seam open! Be sure to use a setting on your iron that will not damage the fabric.
Fold material along newly created seam with wrong sides out.
Press entire length of seam flat at fold on wrong side. Be sure to use a setting on your iron that will not damage the fabric.
With wrong sides out, pin folded material together, pinning entire length of pressed seam created in Step 7.
Stitch a 3/8" seam allowance along the entire length of the edge pinned in Step 8. Remove pins after the seam allowance has been sewn. Note: contrasting thread shown in photo used for clarity only.
Unfold with the wrong sides up. Press entire length of seam flat to one side. Be sure to use a setting on your iron that will not damage the fabric.
Give yourself a pat on the back. Note that the right side of the seam is neat and flat. On the wrong side, the cut (or pinked) edges of the seam created in step 4 are now concealed. You're done!
French Seam Tutorial ©1999-2009 RBR, Inc.
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