Sewing 101: French Seams

Sewing 101: French Seams

Created by: Nikki Johnson

It can be difficult to pick the right seam for your fabric and pattern choices – but the French Seam is one of our favorites!

French seams create a perfectly enclosed seam on the inside of your garment. They’re similar to flat felled seams in their final results, but I prefer French seams for their simplicity. It’s a little tricky at first, but once you’ve got it down it’s smooth sailing.

Use this seam finish when you want a cleaner look on the inside of your clothes. It’s especially perfect for lightweight fabrics from our recent Fabric 101 post about summer fabrics. It can also be used on button-down shirts for sleeves that you can roll up without raw seams showing. Once you know how to make a French seam, you’ll be using it in everything!

I’ll be demonstrating on this Italian Designer Silk Blend Charmeuse. You can see that the shiny sides are the right sides and the matte sides are the wrong sides.

French Seams

The mind-boggling part about French seams is that you begin by sewing the WRONG sides together, which seems counterintuitive. Bear with me – it will work itself out! Sew your WRONG sides together at a scant ¼” seam.

French Seams

You can see that the shiny satin side is where we sewed it wrong sides together.

Flip your fabric around so that your right sides are now together and the seam you just created is enclosed. It’s best to press it at this time for an accurate seam in the next step. You can see that the seam is already enclosed, but this isn’t the side that will be facing outward in the final garment. We need to enclose the seam we made in the last step.

French Seams

Sew another seam 3/8” on this enclosed edge (right sides together)

French Seams

Now your seam is enclosed and you have a beautiful finished seam inside and out!

Inside:

French Seams

And Out:

French Seams

If you don’t make sure your seam allowances are perfect, you will get little stray threads on the right side, so keep an eye on that ¼” and 3/8” mark!

Happy Sewing – the French way! Visit fabric.com to browse our vast selection of apparel fabrics for your next garment.

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