9.04.2012

Tutorial: How to Sew a French Seam

Ever wanted to sew a project where the back seam might be seen!?! You could use your serger to create decorative stitching along the seam, or you could try and use a fancy stitch on your sewing machine to do it. 

BUT, it is so much easier to create a French seam instead. Especially when you are sewing a straight seam. 

WHAT is a FRENCH SEAM? 
A french seam hides the raw edge of your fabric in a seam so that you see a finished edge on both sides of your fabric. 


Pin your fabric WRONG SIDES TOGETHER!! I know you are used to sewing with right sides together, but this time, DON'T! 


Sew a straight stitch along where you have pinned leaving about a 1/4" seam allowance. Be sure to back stitch at the beginning and end of your seam. 


When you are done, the front of your fabric will look like this. You will be able to see your seam and your fabric will look like it has a mohawk.


The back will look like a regular seam would look on the finished side.


Turn your fabric so that the right sides (the mohawk) is on top. Fold one of the fabrics back so that right sides are now touching and that mohawk is sandwiched between right sides of your fabric. Iron it in place along the seam. 



If you are more comfortable pinning your fabric then go ahead and pin along the fold. I don't always pin (as anyone who regularly reads my posts knows). This time you are going to use a 1/2" seam allowance. This assures that your unfinished seam edges are sewn into a "pocket" so that they aren't visible from the outside. Be sure to back stitch at both ends of your seam. 


Once you finish sewing your "pocket" for the unfinished edges the front of your fabric will look like this. Looks familiar, right!? Kinda like a regular seam!? 


BUT, the back looks like this. You can see the seam 1/2" from the fold.


Next, iron the "pocket down on one side of your fabric. I chose to fold it down over the fabric that would be on the bottom of my project so that the "pocket" is pointing down. 


Now on the right side of the fabric sew a top stitch to hold your pocket in place. For the particular project I was working on, I opted to have this top stitch be 1/8" from my finished seam. You can make this top stitch as far from the seam as you like BUT make sure that it isn't any farther away from your seam than the edge of your "pocket". 


Here is how your finished French seam will look. Be sure to iron your finished seam to set your stitches.


Here is a view of the front and back of the seam. 


Now, go much on a baguette, cook up some french toast, bake some french fries, put on your barrette,  and sew some French seams!! 


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