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.
Sew the entire seam at the 3/8″ seam allowance.
Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8″.
Open the seam, right side of the fabric facing up.
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.
Press on the wrong side to ensure the seam is flat.
Fold the fabric on the seam, right sides together. Press the seam flat with the stitching on the edge of the fold.
Pin the layers together along the pressed edge.
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″.
Continue sewing the entire seam, trapping the original seam and allowance in the fold.
Press on the wrong side of the seam, pressing the entire French seam to one side.
Press on the right side of the seam for a final pressing.
Enjoy your new skills and give a French seam a try on your next project!
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