For the beginner #2, a French seam

Hi, everyone!  Happy New Year!  This post follows the first for the beginner post, A Plain Seam.  (Also see Some Tips and Sewing Tips 2.)

What is a French seam?  It is a seam that has all the raw edges enclosed inside itself.  Don’t worry, there are photos.  It is more complex than a plain seam in that you have to do more sewing, but you use the same straight stitch (AKA running stitch).  In a plain seam, and most other seams, you place the two pieces of fabric right sides together.  In a French seam, you start with the pieces WRONG sides together.  In this example, the seam allowance is 5/8″.

The two pieces of fabric have been placed wrong sides together and stitched 1/4" from the edge.

The two pieces of fabric have been placed wrong sides together and stitched 1/4″ from the edge.

Press the seam without turning it–leave it flat and press it.  Then open it out flat, so there is just one layer of fabric, and press the seam open.

The fabric has been opened flat and the seam pressed open.

The fabric has been opened flat and the seam pressed open.  At this point, you can trim off some of the seam allowance.

Fold it so that the right sides are facing each other.  Press and stitch.

Here it has been folded so the right sides are facing each other and the wrong sides are showing.

Here it has been folded so the right sides are facing each other and the wrong sides are showing.

This has been stitched 3/8" from the edge.

This has been stitched 3/8″ from the edge.

Then you press this flat then open the fabric and press the seam to one side or the other.  On a vertical seam, press toward the back; on a horizontal seam, press down.  For the most part.

The seam has been pressed to one side.

The seam has been pressed to one side.  This is the wrong side.  Notice how the raw edges are enclosed.

The next photo shows how it looks from the right side.  You can’t tell from the right side what kind of seam it is.

The right side of the French seam.

The right side of the French seam.

You can use a smaller seam allowance if you wish, but remember to change your pattern if you have to.  If you have a commercial pattern with a 5/8″ seam allowance, you don’t have to change anything.  That’s all for now.  Next in this series is bias tape and a bias-bound seam.

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3 Comments

Filed under Beginner, Parts

3 responses to “For the beginner #2, a French seam

  1. Pingback: For the beginner, bias tape and a bias-bound seam | Look, I Sewed This!

  2. Pingback: For the beginner #3, bias tape and a bias-bound seam | Look, I Sewed This!

  3. Pingback: For the Beginner #4: some seam finishes and darts | Look, I Sewed This!

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