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Step By Step Guide: How to Do a French Seam

No matter what project you’re working on, your seams are critical if you’re a sewer. You should also be able to stitch French seams since you never know when you’ll need to do so. Fortunately, once you understand how to use them, they’re really simple and useful.

The neatness and cleanliness of a French seam give an item a polished appearance. It will be easier if you’ve previously stitched a French seam if you’re following directions for a new sewing project.

Benefits Of Using A French Seam

There are various benefits to adopting a French seam, including the following: The longer you have and wear a garment, the more beautiful the edges of your clothing will seem, and the fabric will be less prone to fray as a result of this.

French Seams

The interior raw edges of French seams are actually wrapped in an additional row of stitching during the sewing process. It’s a consequence of this that the seam is more resilient and looks as nice both inside and out.

As a beginner, it’s recommended to start by sewing several scraps of material together to get a feel for how the process works. To get started, here are a few things you’ll need:

When to use French seams

French seams are more often used on straight seams than on curved ones, although they still look great on corners when done correctly. French seams Light- to medium-weight materials are excellent for this technique since heavier fabrics tend to add too much bulk to the stitched-together seams. There are several applications for French seams, such as:

  • Linen textiles, which are prone to fraying at the seams because of their natural elasticity.
  • The seams of the pillowcase. Because pillowcases are cleaned so often, it is preferable to have a more robust seam on them.
  • Fabrics that are sheer. Due to the fact that transparent materials’ edges might fray and appear sloppy if a French seam is not used, it is recommended to employ one.
  • Straight side seams, which are often seen on children’s apparel. This is due to the fact that children’s clothing is cleaned on a regular basis.
  • Fabrics that are very fine or fragile Because of the undesirable bulk created by overlocking on fabrics such as chiffon and silk, the stitching may actually show through to the opposite side of the fabric on occasion.

With that said, without further ado, let’s get to the meat of the matter: how to sew French seams and have them turn out spectacularly every time. It isn’t difficult if you follow a few basic guidelines, which are easy to remember.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing French Seams

Even if you’ve never attempted to sew French seams before, the process isn’t difficult after you learn some useful tips. Just follow these easy steps to get the seams right:

Step #1: Getting Started

Pin the wrong sides of the cloth together first, then proceed to the next step. If you’re accustomed to sewing the traditional technique, with the right sides put together, this may seem strange to you. French seams, on the other hand, need that the incorrect sides be pinned together at all times.

Sew the seam, but don’t forget to reduce the seam allowance by 1/4 inch from the amount specified in the pattern. You would stitch at 3/8 inch from the edge for a 5/8-inch seam allowance instead of 1/2 inch from the edge, and so on for smaller and smaller sizes of seam allowances. Sewing using a conventional seam allowance and then trimming the seam to 1/4 inch is another option.

Step #2: Trimming the Seams

Step two is to finish the seams by cutting them down to 1/8 inch wide. To get a clean and precise cut, use a pair of very sharp scissors. In fact, if you’re working with a delicate cloth, pinking shears may be the perfect tool for the job.

Any item with a corner should have the diagonal edge trimmed to decrease bulk before stitching this sort of seam. You may use a pillowcase as an example.

Step #3: Press Your Seams

French seams are notorious for requiring a lot of pressing, and this step demonstrates why. Ensure that the seam allowance is on one side and push the seam open at this point. In order to continue, you must ensure that the seam is perfectly flat.

Do not pull the iron over the seams while you are ironing. Instead, be sure to push in an up-and-down motion for optimum effects. When you do this, the seams are always smoother and more appealing.

Step #4: More Pressing

You should now push the right sides of the two halves together. You may press the cloth in half, but make sure you keep the right sides together and the seam is on the correct side. Make sure that the seam doesn’t go off to one side, but is really on the edge of the fabric. The wrong side of the cloth should be facing out, and the seam allowance should be pressed flat.

Step #5: Begin to Sew

Sew the seam 3/8 of an inch from the edge of the seam, which will now be folded. It’s critical that you stitch precisely right now to prevent raw edges from peeking through the seam. In addition, you’ll tuck the prior seam allowance within the fold.

Step #6: Final Pressing

The next step is to press your stitching one more, just like you would with other kinds of seams. Press the seam open one more time with the seam allowance to one side. Flip it over and press the inner seam to make sure it’s perfectly flat.

While sewing French seams, your iron is just as necessary as a sewing machine in the process!

To Make Things Even Easier, Here Are Some Tips!

Sewing French seams may be made significantly simpler if you follow these simple guidelines:

  • Keep in mind that only thin or medium-weight materials should be sewn using French seams; thick or heavy ones should not.
  • Do not use an iron on your seams; instead, use a pressing cloth. You’ll stretch the seams if you iron instead of press. However, pressing the seams causes them to “settle” and lengthen the seam line.
  • Do not forget to clip any loose edges around the cut edges of the cloth while trimming the seam allowance to 1/8 inch. Because you don’t want visible thread on the garment’s surface, this step is critical.

While learning to sew French seams might be a little challenging at first, with experience and repetition, it will become second nature. The majority of new sewers begin by practicing on scraps of cloth in order to become used to the process. If you make a mistake, just toss the cloth and start again with a fresh piece.

As far as neatness and durability go, French seams have a lot going for them. Why? Due to the fact that they are totally enclosed, any visible edges are obscured.

Disadvantages of French Seams

French seams, on the other hand, have a few drawbacks, including:

  • At first glance, they seem to be a bit more difficult to build than they really are.
  • Are bulky and, as a result, are not suitable for heavy or thick fabrics.
  • It may take a while to complete.
  • Require accurate stitching, which might be challenging for certain individuals.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean that you should be afraid of making lovely French seams. To get the seams to appear as nice as you believe they should, just be honest with yourself and realize that you may have to practice them over and over again.

A French seam is essentially a second seam. In addition to clothing, it may be used for a variety of other things. Remember that the completed seam allowance will be 5/8 inch at the conclusion of your project. Before you begin cutting out your pattern, be sure to verify the seam allowance requirements specified in the pattern. If necessary, you may need to make adjustments to the quantity specified in the pattern.


What is the difference between a French and a flat felled seam?

A. A flat felled seam has stitching visible on the right side (think of the seams on the side of a pair of trousers), while a french seam does not have stitching visible on the right side.

Are French seams strong?

A. When sewing a french seam, the seam of the garment is folded in half and doubled, which requires great care and attention to detail. Using this double folding technique, the seam becomes substantially stronger and tends to endure far longer than conventional seams.

Is there a certain amount of seam allowance required for a French seam?

A. French seams are ideal for use on lightweight or transparent fabrics, since they enclose all of the frayed fabric edges inside a very little seam allowance of 1/4′′, making them very difficult to see (5mm). French seams are a fantastic option if you don’t have access to an overlocker (serger) and want to get a professional-looking finish on your garment.

What is a mock French seam, and how does it work?

A. A mock french seam has the look of a french seam, but it is a little softer than a french seam since it is hand-finished instead of machine finished. Because the edges have not been chopped short, there is less possibility of it ravelling. If you want to create a faux french seam, start by placing the cloth right sides together and sewing it using a 5/8″ seam allowance.

What clothes are French seams used for?

Using a French seam on a delicate, lightweight fabric, such as chiffon or organza, is recommended since the seam consumes a lot of material and may become bulky when used on heavier materials.

What is the proper width of a French seam?

A seam allowance of at least 5/8″ or 1.6 cm will be needed to create a good french seam, which is the recommended seam allowance on many paper designs for woven fabrics. You may easily re-trace your pattern piece and add a few inches to the seam allowance before cutting out the cloth if your pattern does not contain enough seam allowance.

Why is it necessary to press the seam allowance?

The reason for pressing the seam allowance is as follows: When your seams and wrinkles are correctly pressed, it also results in a more precise cut for you. Pressing seams is highly crucial before you sew another seam that will cross the first one you pressed. Finally, pressing your cloth makes stunning darts as well as a lovely “memory” in the fabric.


Make sure you practice on scrap fabric first before attempting to sew a French seam on a real piece of clothing, since these seams may be challenging.

You won’t want to use a French seam for seams around the shoulder or neck of a garment because remember – they work best with straight lines and not curves. When you’re practicing, pay particular attention to the neatness of your sewing and ironing (and flat).

You’ll be astonished at how fast you pick up on the technique if you put in the time to practice these techniques whenever you get a chance.

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Aithley Balder

Hello there, my name is Aithley Balder from Texas. I am a cookware, sewing, toilet, technology enthusiast and I have been sharing my passion with my friends and likeminded folks for close to 4 years now. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page.

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