Hi there, future Project Runway designers! As promised, here is a tutorial on how to make a French seam. Let’s get started.
First, I’d like you to see this image of a silk organza blouse. Can you spot the French seams? Usually, it is used in sheer fabric such as chiffon, silk organza etc. But it’s also known to be used in other, denser textiles. It’s just a fantastic way to finish the inside of a garment.
This is what you will need besides your actual fabric:
- Sewing machine – obvi
- Machine needles suitable for thin, sheer fabric. I used size 8
- Fine silk thread (it can be any fine thread not necessarily silk),
- Sharp scissors,
- Fabric marking pen with disappearing ink
Begin by marking your actual seam line. I marked a 5/8” seam line on my sample here. I used the FriXion pen which disappears when ironed but feel free to use any other method for marking. With a couple of French seams behind you, you may not need to mark the seam at all. You’ll see why later.
Pin the two pieces of fabric WRONG sides together (yes I typed that correctly). Above, I’ve marked & pinned the fabric.
Sew the seam 3/8” from the edge which really means that you are sewing ¼” inside the actual marked seam line. Be sure to “sew a fine seam” (can’t resist using that term), by which I mean use a small stitch setting. I used the 2.5 setting on my Bernina.
Trim the seam to 1/8”. Press it, then press to one side. Turn the project over and press on the seam again.
Fold project on the stitched line, this time RIGHT sides together, enclosing the little 1/8” seam. Pin, or baste on the actual seam line (previously marked). At this point, my seamline marks have disappeared, and it’s OK. Press well.
Sew a generous 1/8” from the folded edge and give it a good press.
Voila, le French seam! Pretty, non?
Good luck. I’ll be watching…………..
Dear readers, do you use the French seam often in your sewing? Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section. Thanks!
6 thoughts on “Sew a French Seam”
Very nice tute! I know how to make these and am still a new sewist so was surprised when you last post mentioned that somebody on Project Runway didn’t know how to make them! Makes me think I could be on the show!! Lol. 🙂
Thank you! I think competing for Project Runway has probably been considered by many, many sewers!
Here’s a curious thing: in French-speaking countries a French seam is called an “English seam”! I wonder who _did_ invent/popularise it. : )
[…] for contestants. Feel free to read my previous PR advice post or my special French Seam tutorial for Project Runway contestants. Yup, these tips will keep coming. Nope, I’m not […]
I use a French seam often & love the finish they give. I have noticed a lot of sewing bloggers leave a wider allowance, obviously starting with 5mm & enclosing that with the remaining 10mm. This is a good tutorial, hopefully the project runway contestant can access the internet in their downtime!
Anne, thank you for the comment and the compliment! I’m an avid fan of Project Runway, but sometimes shocked at the lack of sewing knowledge displayed by contestants. I wrote this post to have some fun.