French seams are a rather fancy way of creating a lovely, neat finish to your garment. What they do is enclose the unsightly raw edges of the fabric within a neatly stitched secret cavity, never to be seen again… or that’s how I like to think of them!
They work really nicely on light- to medium-weight fabric, but not so great on heavier fabrics which will create bulky seams. They’re particularly useful on sheer fabrics as they look less conspicuous than overlocked seams, and the strength of the seam makes them practical for clothing that’s going to go through the laundry a lot. Plus they just look awesome :)
You know how you usually stitch fabric right sides together? Well, with French seams you start by stitching the fabric wrong sides together. Sacré bleu!! Intrigued? Let’s go…
1) Stitch the fabric wrong sides together, using a 6mm / ¼” seam allowance (I use the edge of my sewing machine foot as a guide, because I know it’s this distance from the needle), back tacking each end. If you're fabric frays a lot, trim those pesky sticky-outy threads so they don't reveal themselves later.
2) Press - firstly flat to help “set” the stitches, next press the seams open, and finally fold the fabric right sides together along the stitching line and press along the fold.
3) Now stitch the fabric right sides together using a 1cm / 3/8” seam allowance, back tacking each end. The raw edges should now be hidden away within the two lines of stitching.
4) Press the seam to one side. When sewing a bodice, seams are usually pressed towards the back. On the Mathilde Blouse, you may want to press the yoke seam up rather than down to reduce bulk at the tucks.
Now admire your handy work – don’t those French seams look beautiful?