How to Make French Seams

Easy-to-follow, Step-by-step Instructionsfor making a French Seam.

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.

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What You Will Need to Make a French Seam

  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron
  • Pins
  • Scissors or Pinking Shears
  • Thread

Procedure

Before you begin, we encourage you to read-through all the steps, as well as the safety information at the bottom of this page.

Step 1: How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial
Step 1Make 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

Step 2: How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial
Step 2With the right sides facing out, pin material together, pinning entire length of edge where the French seam will be.

Step 3: How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial
Step 3Stitch 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.

Step 4: How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial
Step 4Cut 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.

Step 5: How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial
Step 5Unfold 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.

Step 6: How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial
Step 6Fold material along newly created seam with wrong sides out.---------- ------ -- - ------ --- ---- - ------- ---- ------ ---

Step 7: How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial
Step 7Press 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.

Step 8: How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial
Step 8With wrong sides out, pin folded material together, pinning entire length of pressed seam created in Step 7.

Step 9: How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial
Step 9Stitch 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.

Step 10: How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial
Step 10Unfold 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.

Step 11: How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial
Step 11Give 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!

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Safety First, Always!Our tutorials utilize methods, equipment and tools that can be dangerous. Never proceed with a tutorial without first carefully reviewing and understanding all of the instructions that accompany the equipment, tools or any other product used in the project, as well as providing yourself a safe working environment. Be aware of your own limitations and factor in your own good judgment and common sense.

Eye Safety is No Accident. Always wear safety glasses!

NOTICE:SewNeau intends our tutorials to be reliable guides, but realizes working conditions, equipment, skill level, and safety issues can vary greatly. As a result, SewNeau does not guarantee the applicability, completeness, or accuracy of the information and does not assume responsibility for the results, or any damages, injuries or losses that occur as a result of using the information provided herein.

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How to make French Seams - a free SewNeau tutorial