How to Sew French Seams

How to Sew French Seams

Until I watched The Great British Sewing Bee a couple of years ago, I had no idea what French seams were.

Even when I did find out, I assumed that they were another one of those things that were only for people very experienced in sewing. People who had special sewing superpowers or who belonged to some kind of secret super sewing club.

Incidentally, I also thought this was true for boxed corners and magnetic bag closures.

This is really not the case!

There is no big secret and they are not difficult at all!

Why Use French Seams?

The time to use French seams is when you are sewing with delicate fabric like silk or chiffon. I used French seams when I made this foofy skirt!how to sew french seams

Because these fabrics are very fine and are inclined to fray, pinking the seams probably would not be enough and would possibly show through on the right side.

Using an overlocker or an overcasting stitch would result in a bit of a mess, as the fabric is so light it won’t stand up to to all those zigzags. Also my sewing machine has a tendency to eat this kind of fabric.

Delicate fabrics are often used to make something special and French seams give a lovely neat finish to the inside of whatever it is you’re making.

The visible seam allowance is small and neat, with no raw edges exposed that might itch or irritate. All the raw edges are enclosed and there are no fraying bits or stray threads.

And they’re easy to do!

How to Sew French Seams

1. With the wrong sides together, pin the seam. If the fabric you are using is unstable, use plenty of pins!how to sew french seams

2. Using about half the seam allowance, sew the seam. how to sew french seamsTrim the seam in half.how to sew french seams

3. Press the seam. I press it to one side, then the other.

4. Fold the fabric along the seam so that the right sides are together. Press again.

I know this probably sounds like I am mad on ironing. I am really not! Pressing seams makes a huge difference to the overall finish.

5. Now with the right sides together, pin the seam.how to sew french seams

6. Sew the seam using the rest of the seam allowance.how to sew french seams

Now you have a lovely neat seam with the raw edges enclosed!how to sew french seamshow to sew french seamsfrench seams

It is possible to use French seams on curves too. Just be sure to trim the seam allowance right down.

If you like this post, you might like to take a look my Tips and Techniques page for other posts like this one!

Linking up here.

how to sew french seams

About AnnaWilson

I'm Anna and I live in Norfolk with my four beautiful boys, my husband and a three legged cat. I don't have an actual craft room due to the fact that we are six messy people living in a not very big house. I do however have a pile of unfinished projects. Thankfully there is plenty of room in cyberspace, so make a cup of tea, pull up a chair and make yourself at home! And please leave me comments! And maybe like me on Facebook :)

11 comments on “How to Sew French Seams

  1. I’m a huge fan of french seams and teach the technique in several of my classes and tutes. Students are always surprised how easy they are when the perception, as you say, is quite the opposite. I wonder why they’re thought to be difficult? 😀

  2. Great tutorial. I love French seams!! Thanks for sharing at our DIY Crush Craft Party on Thursday!! Domenica picked it as her favorite and will feature it tonight! Hope you’ll stop by and see it!

  3. A super tutorial, think we all think they are difficult because they aren’t mentioned a lot and generally just in passing.

    • Thank you :). That’s it isn’t it, people refer to them without explaining what they are so we think they’re something complicated!

  4. Thanks for the explanation. I found my High School samples back (from 50+years ago) and thought I’d check how I made the seam at the time. 🙂

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