French Seam Sewing Tips for Your Next Project

Duration: 6:00

When constructing garments, it is important to finish seams so that the inside of a project looks just as professional as the outside. Ashley Hough shows you one way to do that by demonstrating how to sew a french seam.

French Seam

When learning how to sew a french seam, one of the hardest things to remember is that you need to start with the fabric wrong sides together. This is counter intuitive to what you may have learned in general sewing practices, however, Ashley explains why it is necessary. It is also something that can be tricky if the right and wrong sides of your fabric look similar, so you may way to mark the right side of the fabric prior to starting.

Seam Allowances

When constructing a garment, especially one from a commercial pattern, you will be using a ⅝” seam allowance. A french seam is completed by running two separate lines of stitching at different seam allowances that add up to ⅝”. Ashley shows how to sew a french seam starting with a ¼” seam allowance followed by a ⅜” seam allowance. A french seam can also be done in the reverse, starting with the ⅜” seam allowance and then finishing with the ¼” seam allowance. Both will look the same on the right side of the garment, however, on the wrong side one will have a slightly larger enclosed seam.

Other Options

While french seams are a popular choice for stitching enclosed seams when constructing a garment, there are other options as well. Many of these methods require you to finish the seam after construction, like bias bound seams. And some may even have a different look on the right side of the fabric, like flat felled seams which have an extra line of stitching. All methods of enclosed seams will ensure a professional finish to your next project.

Discussion
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6 Responses to “French Seam Sewing Tips for Your Next Project”
  1. Laurie
    Laurie

    Very nice demo. It may seem like more work, It may actually save work with a fabric that frays easily. And if you don’t have a serger your seams can still look professional. I have used this technique for years.

    Reply
  2. Lynda
    Lynda

    The correct way to sew a french seam where a 5/8″ seam is desired is to sew the 1/4″ seam first and then the 3/8″. This would eliminate the need to trim except when reducing the seam bulk is needed.

    Reply
  3. Jodie
    Jodie

    Why not sew a 1/4″ seam first then the 3/8″ will enclose it without having to cut??

    Reply
  4. Romulinda
    Romulinda

    Then there’s those of us who don’t have a neat way to adjust the needle position on our older machines. I’ve noticed that these videos assume we all have the very latest model with all the bells and whistles—well, we don’t! How about making videos with more reasonably aged machines?

    Reply
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  5. Debra Temoche
    Debra Temoche

    What do you do if your seam allowance is only .25″ and you are working with a knit?

    Reply