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French Seam Tutorial

on Sep 2, 2008 in sewing, tutorial | 2 comments

This is the perfect tidy seam finish for sewing. Not for quilting so much, but for fashion and home sewing- this is an excellent alternative to serger-finished edges. The raw edges of the fabric are completely contained inside the seam. Let me show you how to do it.

This tutorial is designed for patterns that allow a 5/8th inch seam allowance. 5/8ths inch is the standard on commercial patterns like McCalls and Simplicity.

The first step is the trickiest to remember. You sew your two pieces with the WRONG sides together. Make the first stitching line with a 3/8ths inch seam allowance.

Now, remove the piece and trim away 1/4th inch. This will leave you a wee little 1/8th inch seam allowance showing here:

Do cut the whole length of your seam. {I cut it only half way, to get a better picture.} Open up your pieces an press this 1/8th inch towards one side. Either side, it doesn’t matter much.

Now, fold the piece right sides together. You might want to press the folded seam line, before you start sewing. Take the folded piece and stitch a 1/4th inch in from the fold. This will hide, or encapsulate (Whoooh- $8 word there!!!) the wee little 1/8th inch raw edges.

Press the seam with the fabric closed and just as it was laying on the sewing machine. Press it again with the front fabric pieces open. Here’s what it looks like on the back:

And here it is one the front:

And in case you were wondering here’s how it works:
1/4th + wee 1/8th + 1/4th = 5/8th original seam allowance. Trust me. =) If your 1/8th is too wide, you might have little whispy raw edge bits hanging out from your finished seam. It just takes a bit of practice.

Here’s what the seam looks like on the end. Its kinda hard to make out the seam allowance tucked inside that “channel” but its there.

Ok, I hope it goes well for you! Enjoy! ~jen~


  1. I’m MariBR from S?o Paulo, Brasil.
    Just to say thanks.


    September 18, 2008

  2. Thank you so much I was wanting to learn how to do French Seams.


    January 12, 2009


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