12 February 2013

How to Sew French Seams

How to sew French seams - Tilly and the Buttons

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? I'm going to show you a demo on the Mathilde blouse sewing pattern. Let’s go…

How to sew French seams - Tilly and the Buttons

Start by placing the pieces you want to sew wrong sides together. Stitch the seam with a 5mm (1/4in) seam allowance, back tacking at each end.

If you're fabric frays a lot, trim those pesky sticky-outy threads so they don't reveal themselves later.

How to sew French seams - Tilly and the Buttons
How to sew French seams - Tilly and the Buttons

Press - firstly flat to help “set” the stitches, then press the seam allowances open, and finally fold the fabric right sides together around the stitching line and press along the fold. Pin the pieces together along this fold.

How to sew French seams - Tilly and the Buttons

Now stitch the fabric right sides together using a 10mm (3/8in) seam allowance, back tacking each end. The raw edges should be hidden away within the two lines of stitching.

How to sew French seams - Tilly and the Buttons
How to sew French seams - Tilly and the Buttons

Press the seam to one side. When sewing a bodice, seams are usually pressed towards the back. On the Mathilde blouse, 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?

Want to give them a whirl? Sew French seams on our Mathilde blouse or Fifi PJs pattern.