French seams are without a doubt my absolute favourite seam finish. I actually get a little bit upset when I am working on something where they are not appropriate. They really finish off a garment so beautifully and I am completely pedantic about the inside of my garments.
Obviously there are other finishing techniques that also give a lovely result but I actually think that French seams can be quicker and less fiddly than most once you get the hang of them.
You can use a French seam on any lightweight garment and they are particularly good for sheer or semi sheer fabrics. They completely enclose all the raw edges and are really nice and durable which is comforting if you are working on something that is a little bit more delicate but still likely to get worn and washed often.
If you have never done a French seam before they can look a little bit baffling. But follow these simple little steps and you’ll be using them on everything in no time!
Three key sewing rules to keep in your head before embarking:
1. 99% of the time the seam allowance on your pattern will be 1.5cm or 5/8″.
2. When sewing most seams you stitch the fabric with right sides together.
3 When doing a French seam you will initially appear to be breaking both these rules!
Start by marking your pattern pieces 1.5cm from the raw edge either with tailors chalk or a long machine basting stitch.
Next place your pattern pieces WRONG SIDES together and pin.
Stitch with a regular machine stitch 1 cm from the raw edge.
Next, trim your seam allowance a few mm away from this recent machine stitching.
Press your very small seam allowance to one side- (doesn’t matter which!)
Fold your fabric so that the RIGHT SIDES are touching and finger press down the seam. Then press this seam with the iron.
Using a regular machine straight stitch sew right next to your chalk line/machine basting. If you have used basting stitches try where possible not to sew directly on top of them as it will make it harder to remove them.
Remove your basting stitches.
Open put your pattern pieces and press your french seam to one side on the wrong side of your work.
Turn your work over and press it on the right side
C’EST TOUT! A lovely French seam!
Now just for fun after all that hard work here are some of my other favourite French related things!
‘The Paris Wife’- fantastic novel about Ernest Hemmingway’s time in Paris told from the perspective of his first wife, Hadley. Some pretty French fancies! A very cute French poodle and ‘Little Paris kitchen’- Rachel Khoo’s AMAZING recipe book filled with delicious French yumminess!
Aurevoir! Hope this tutorial comes in handy