How to sew a French Seam

We share an easy-to-follow tutorial for how to sew this style of seam

French seams are a lovely way to finish seams for a clean and professional finish that gives strength to even the lightest of fabrics. It’s often seen on lightweight, sheer or delicate fabrics and is frequently used in designer or high-end garments. Despite it’s status as a couture seam finish – it really isn’t hard to sew at all!

Why choose a French Seam?

  1. Your fabric is see-through
    If you are working with a sheer fabric, you will see the inner workings on the outside. A French Seam ensures a clean finish will be seen from the outside – and for this reason, it’s often used on fabrics like silk organza, chiffon and other sheer fabrics in high fashion garments.
  2. Your fabric frays a lot
    If the fabric you are working with is fraying a lot, French Seams are a great choice of seam finish. As the seam is stitched twice and the raw edge is enclosed, the seam is given extra strength and the fraying fabric won’t become a problem.
  3. You don’t have an overlocker
    French Seams are an incredible way to finish a seam on your standard sewing machine. Only a straight stitch is needed, no special machines and you end up with a high-end couture finish to your sewing.

Equipment needed:

To sew a French Seam you will need: a sewing machine, pins, an iron and scissors.

Now you can’t wait to learn this technique, let’s see how to do it…

I’ve used a cream linen/viscose fabric with a bright print so it’s easier for you to see which is the right side and which is the wrong side.

  1. Pin your fabrics WRONG sides together. We never usually do this but for now, we want the seam to be on the outside!

2. Stitch a scant 1cm away from the edge.

3. Trim this seam allowance to 3mm. You could grade this if your fabric is bulky – but French Seams are best suited to lighter weight fabrics so it’s probably not necessary.

4. 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. Press this seam.

5. Pin the seam closed.

6. Stitch 5mm away from the sewn edge to fully enclose the raw edge of the fabric.

7. Press the seam open from the right side and admire your work!

This tutorial was sewn with a 15mm seam allowance. The sum of both these seams (1cm + 5mm add up to 15mm, if you are working with a different seam allowance you will need to divide it up in a similar way).

Now you know how easy it is to sew a French Seam, you won’t be able to help yourself using this technique all the time. You will soon be showing off the insides of your garments at every possible opportunity!
Having an arsenal of seam finishes that you can call on means you can plan what’s best for your sewing project. So…. we recommend you save this post so you can come back to it every time you need it!

To find more ‘Learn to Sew’ tips and advice – click here