Seam Series: How to Sew a French Seam Tutorial

Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Sewing | Comments

Seam Series: How to Sew a French Seam, on Craftsy

French seams are perfect for lightweight and sheer fabrics, and are among the most popular of seam finishing techniques, as all the raw edges of the fabric are hidden in an elegant finished seam. It is also a great finish for seams that will be exposed, like an unlined jacket. French seams get a bad rap for being hard, but honestly they are incredibly easy. The biggest hurdle is getting over the idea of sewing wrong sides together instead of right sides together at the beginning. It feels all backwards. Follow these easy steps and try French seams on your next project. You’ll soon be saying, “Oooo! La la!”

How to Sew a French Seam: An Easy Tutorial

Pin wrong sides together and place in the machine at 3/8″ seam allowance.

Step 1: How to Sew a French Seam

Step 2:

Sew the entire seam at the 3/8″ seam allowance.

Step 2: Sewing the Entire Seam at Allowance

Step 3:

Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8″.

step 3

Step 4:

Open the seam, right side of the fabric facing up.

Step 4: Open Seam

Step 5:

Press your fabric: press the seam allowance to one side, on the right side of the fabric. Be sure to have your iron set to the correct heat for your fabric type.

Step 5: Sewing a French Seam, on Craftsy

Step 6:

Press on the wrong side to ensure the seam is flat.

Step 6: Pressing

Step 7:

Fold the fabric on the seam, right sides together. Press the seam flat with the stitching on the edge of the fold.

Step 7: Fold and Press the Seam

Step 8:

Pin the layers together along the pressed edge.

Step 8: Pinning Layers

Step 9:

Insert the seam into your sewing machine. Sew the quantity to equal the project’s seam allowance based on what you used in step 1. If you sewed at 3/8″ and the seam allowance is 5/8″ that means you should sew this step at 2/8” or 1/4″.

step 9: Sew Seam

Step 10:

Continue sewing the entire seam, trapping the original seam and allowance in the fold.

Step 10: Continue Sewing - French Seams on Craftsy

Step 11:

Press on the wrong side of the seam, pressing the entire French seam to one side.

Step 11: Press Wrong Side of Seam

Step 12:

Press on the right side of the seam for a final pressing.

Step 12: Final Pressing

Enjoy your new skills and give a French seam a try on your next project! In case you missed it yesterday, learn how to sew flat fell seams. Plus, check out the online Craftsy class Decorative Seams with Katrina Walker to explore a variety of professional seams.


Don’t forget to take a look at Zigzag and 3-Step Zigzag Seam Finishing and also learn how to sew a Hong Kong seam finish.

What is your favorite seam to sew?



  1. Ladymax says:

    Many thanks for this info. I have been using French seams for many years and found them very difficult. Now I know the correct way I will continue to sew them in a less difficult way.

  2. Rosemary says:

    I’ve always sewn the first seam 1/4 inch and the second 3/8 inch that way you are sscure that you have enclosed the seam. It saves the step of trimming down the original seam and although you end up with a slightly bigger seam on the inside, does it really matter?

    1. It doesn’t really matter, as long as the final total is equal to that of the seam allowance. I personally prefer a smaller amount left on the inside, since with lightweight fabrics the part left is visible from the right side. But in the end it’s a personal choice.

  3. gillian Sutherland says:

    I enjoy reading this range of tutorials, as they reinforce the technique excellently with photos. I tried to tell a friend of mine what a french seam is, and I think she understood, but if I’d had this available at the time, I’m sure she’d have found it helpful, so I shall show this when I next see her.

  4. Savannagal says:

    That was a great tutorial. I only wish I could download it as a PDF for later viewing offline. Thanks much.

  5. Nanz in KS says:

    Try emailing it to yourself and keeping in a folder of sewing hints or Craftsy ideas.

  6. Eve says:

    Amusant : en France , on les appelle “coutures à l’anglaise” . Très bon tutoriel


  7. Linda Walsh says:

    Great tutorial. Thanks for the info. For the person who wanted a .pdf – I’m saving the article to my crafting Evernote folder. Evernote is unbelievably easy to use and allows you to save the article for viewing later.

  8. Bernadette says:

    Savannagal, you can try and select all of the text on the page and copy that into a tool like MS Word. Newer versions MS Word will then allow you save it as a pdf.

  9. Lori Thomas says:

    What is an Evernote folder?

  10. Ladymax says:

    Thanks for sharing this great info. I have used French seams for many years, and now I know how to do it without all the bulk that I had. I love this for unlined jackets.

  11. Diane says:

    Can you use this technique in a curve, like a bag shape or hat shape for example?