A French Seam is a way of sewing a seam and finishing it at the same time. It produces a neat finish and it’s useful when the inside of the garment is visible or the chosen fabric is very lightweight or sheer.
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This seam is called French seam in English speaking countries, but in French speaking countries this technique is referred to as English seam. No matter how it is called, it’s a technique used to construct the seam and enclosing the raw edges of the fabric into the seam. This gives the project a professional look.
This technique is best used with lightweight and medium weight fabrics, such as cottons, linens or sheer fabrics where the seam would be visible in the finished project/garment.
For the purpose of this tutorial I used a seam allowance of 1.5 cm (5/8″). The fabric is Robert Kaufman Fire cotton poplin* from Minerva*.
Step 1: Pin and sew with wrong sides together using a seam allowance of 0.7 cm (1/4″). Yes, that’s right the French seam starts with fabric being sewn with wrong sides together. I you have a mantra ‘right sides together’ with this one you go against that.
Step 2: Press the seam allowance open.
Step 3: Fold the fabric so that the right sides are facing, press and pin.
Step 4: Sew using a seam allowance of 1 cm (3/8″).
Step 5: Press the fabric towards one said.
And voila! You are done. On the right side, the seam looks as normal. And the inside is really pretty with all the raw edges incased into the seam.
Usually, I use this technique on seams that are fairly straight. It is possible to use it on curved seams, but it requires accurate sewing and some trimming of the excess fabric to make the seam narrow.
I do not advise using this seam on garments that require further fitting once the garment is almost finished or on heavy weight fabrics.
I am curious to know, how is this technique called in your own language if your first language is not English or French? Please let me know in the comments below.
- sewing machine used Juki TL 2200 QVP (I purchased mine from here)
- Fabric Robert Kaufman cotton poplin* from Minerva*
- ‘How to Start Sewing’ Assembil Books