tutorial: how to sew french seams

January 3rd, 2013

French seams are one of those things that tend to scare a lot of people – but really aren’t hard at all.


Personally i don’t think they are the solution to every seam, but they are a beautifully neat way to finish raw edges, and are particularly well suited to sheer and lightweight fabrics. Also they are a nice option for those who don’t have sergers/overlockers and want a nice professional finish. Once you try them you’ll honestly find tonnes of situations in which they are incredibly useful.

Here’s how to sew a lovely french seam:

I’ve used a fabric with a digital print, so it’s easier to see which is the right side and which is the wrong side.

Instead of placing your fabric pieces with the right sides together, place them with the wrong sides together (ie right sides facing outwards)

Make sure the side seam edges are lined up correctly.

Sew 3/8″ from the raw edge.

*Please note that other measurements for french seams may be used, but this is the way i do them – mostly a personal preference so that i don’t have to change seam allowances on patterns – ie your total seam allowance will still be the standard 5/8″ after using my method*

Then grade (trim) the seam allowance back to a scant 1/8″.

Open your seam out and press the seam flat.

Now fold along the seamline so that the right sides of the fabric are now facing each other, and the raw edges of the seam are enclosed.

Sew 1/4″ from the folded edge, encasing the raw edges and finishing your seam.

Press your seams flat, and admire your pretty pretty french seams!


11 Responses

  1. Roz says:

    Love this tutorial – so helpful!! Thanks for being so generous with your time and putting it together!

  2. Stephanie says:

    Language is such a strange thing. It’s called French seam in English but it’s called English seam in Dutch :)

  3. Amy says:

    Thank you for this tutorial- I have never bothered to try to learn how to do French seams because it sounded too difficult but now I see that it’s really simple. Will definitely be trying this sometime in the future.

  4. Oh how I love a french seam. I’m made some simple tops and a dress recently where it seemed easier to french seam than change the thread in my overlocker! It’s also good to note that you can do french seams on curves too.

  5. Nicole says:

    I love using french seams, I think they look much nicer and more professional than a serged seam. I have been using them on all my lightweight summer projects, thanks for sharing Megan :-)

  6. Katie says:

    Thanks for posting this tutorial! You make it look so easy :)

  7. Love to DIY says:

    Very easy to follow tutorial! Thanks for sharing. I agree with Katie above, you really make it look so easy! :)


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  11. Laura says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! You just improved all of my future sewing projects.