Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sewing Basics - French Seam Tutorial

I've been sewing for years, but I never knew how to do a french seam until recently. They're so easy and offer that perfect finishing touch on a project, yet I never took the five minutes to learn how to do them. I bet a lot of people are in the same boat, so I thought it might be a good idea to make some 'sewing basics' tutorials for people who are beginning sewers or who have simply not learned some sewing skills (like me!!). Are there any specific requests??

So, on to French Seams. Don't be scared by the number of steps - they're quite simple and after you do them once you'll remember how to do them forever :)

What you need:
- fabric (whatever your project is)
- an iron!

Step 1: Put the WRONG sides of the fabric together where you want the seam, and stitch. This will seem counter-intuitive, but I promise it will work out in the end :)

Step 2: Trim the seam down as far as you can (further than my picture shows, if possible), and then press the seam open.

This shows the backside of the fabric.

Step 3: Fold the fabric along the seam and press, wrong-side out.

Step 4: Stitched down the length of the seam, with the fold you just pressed at the edge of the foot ( once again, the fabric should be wrong side out).

Step 5: Open the fabric up and iron along the seam, so the 'flap' you created will lay flat.

Step 6: Now, your final seam: stitch the edge of the flap down. Make sure your seams are straight and even, otherwise it will look funny!

You're done! This is what the wrong side of the fabric should look like:

And here's what the right side of the fabric should look like:

No raw edges!!


  1. Actually, you don't do that last step. French seams have no top stitching on the outside of the garment. What you ended up with is more like a flat felled seam. :)

    1. You are absolutely right. This is a flat-felled seam.

  2. Krista B. in OhioJune 6, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    Nice, but try this and you won't have a topstich on the outer fabric:

  3. I think that type of seam is called something else but it sure looks nice and tidy, I love it. As a new sewer, how does doing french seams affect seam allowance? Like if you're using a 3/8 SA instead of the standard 5/8 SA, are there any calculations you need to do to ensure that the garment is being constructed correctly?

  4. You guys are all right - most french seams don't have that last top stitch. I guess I should have said it's optional! however, I prefer it with the top stitched, because I feel that it is more 'finished' looking for most garments than it is when there's a flap just hanging around. But it's really a matter of personal preference and what your project is.

    Melinda - If I'm trying for a 5/8 seam allowance, I usually will use a 3/8 one on the first seam. Therefore, I would probably use a 1/8 seam allowance on the initial seam in your case. I'm not a very precise person though, so I'm not sure if that would be exact enough!

  5. Thank you! I will be using this today!

  6. I came across you yesterday through I just made a pillowcase dress and tried this and I love it. The sewn down edge makes it look so nice! Thanks for the tip!

  7. Thank you so much for this - it's awesome =D! I have been irritated with my ugly raw edges for too long, now!

  8. I'm sewing Mrs. Clause and elf costumes for the Christmas season, and I'm excited about this hem! The costumes are for friends to use at various functions, so I love that they will look more polished. Thanks for all the tutorials!

  9. Thanks for this! I'm just learning to sew and need all the help I can get.



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