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Ooh La La…French Seams

Posted by Betsy on

Ah, a finely made garment finished entirely with French Seams. That is the ideal that Patty Perfect seamstress will have you believe…..unfortunately not reality for busy seamstresses. Rather than giving you a thorough tutorial that no doubt you have seen countless times on other blogs, let me give you my take:

1. You do not need to finish all seams of a garment with French Seams. Certain seams, like the armhole, just don’t work well unless you are a highly skilled seamstress (the percentage that can actually pull this off usually fits in the professional category). The more curves, the less applicable. *note: if you want to give this a try you must use smaller seam allowances.

2. French Seams are not just a detail- they are practical. For instance: I am making a silk blouse. Despite my cajoling, my serger loves to roll the allowance under and makes the seam very thick on lightweight fabrics. Rather than creating extra bulk and looking craptastic on the inside, I have opted for French Seams only for the side seams and sleeve seams. My seams turn out a lot more crisp and flat.

3. Most of the time you end up using more seam allowance than expected- somewhere around an 1/8″ and this adds up. If you are using 1/2″ seam allowance aim for 3/16″ seam allowance for each turn. If using 5/8″ aim for 1/4″ seam allowance each turn.

4. An easy way to remember the order of seaming is that the first line of stitching will be with wrong sides together. (Although I have sewn a bajillion French Seams – yes, I did sew the wrong sides together today, so I thought it was worth mentioning).

5. Once you have your first line of stitching. Trim off the extra seam allowance.  If you don’t trim the extra your chances of loose fabric ends poking through your fabric are far greater. I suggest to trim leaving 1/8″.

6. Press seam allowance to one side.

7. Fold garment so right sides are together. Fold line should be the seamed edge. Press flat. (pressing really is the key to great French Seams)


8.  Stitch through all layers.  Turn right side out and press—you are done.

I hope you found this helpful and insightful, rather than redundant. If anyone has any additional French Seam tips please share



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