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French seams encase the raw seam edges securely inside two seams. They’re necessary for delicate fabrics, because two seams are stronger than one and the two lines of stitching prevent fraying. But French seams also are fabulous for garments with simple, straight lines because they’re beautifully clean and neat, and need no more finishing. I’m hooked, mostly because I hate finishing edges.

Minna's center back seam is a perfect example.

Technique Materials

Pins, iron

10 Comments Sign in to add a post

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    Apr 22, 2010, 01.58 PMby seemane

    Thank you for adding this technique. There’s a wonderful wealth of info. now on BurdaStyle re: french seams – so I shall have to give them a go soon. Best wishes, Seemane :)

    - Sewing French Seams (Added Apr 21, 2010). - Mock French Seams (Added Mar 8, 2008). - French Seam (Added Feb 18, 2010). - How To: Sew French and Flat-Felled Seams (Added Aug 24, 2007).

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    Dec 28, 2009, 09.00 AMby Wendy C Allen

    I love French Seams – I use them on EVERYTHING! They are so easy to do!

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    May 31, 2009, 01.45 PMby aradhana

    i’m having serious puckering with french seams at curves—like armholes and necklines….

    anyone have tips?

    (the fabric is a super thin cotton—possibly called voile, though i’m not sure—and a lightweight cotton lining)

    is it a lost cause?

    1 Reply
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      Dec 13, 2009, 09.42 PMby ashchaser

      I have been taught that while french seams are perfect for sher fabrics they just don’t work for curves at all-the bulk of the extra fabric inside the seam creates that ugly rippling effect!

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    Mar 2, 2009, 01.31 PMby pixistix

    Thank you for this how to. I am using it in my first pattern.

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    Jan 4, 2009, 07.14 PMby missymay

    Hi Mynrose, I think what fitzfabulous was trying to say is divide the seam allowance as evenly as possible as halving 5/8" and sewing 5/16" is a bit tricky! Its also easier to sew a narrower seam first, then finish the french seam with a wider seam so there’s less change of the first raw edge poking out to the ‘good’ side of your garment.

    Ghainskom, you would press your finished seam to one side.

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    Aug 27, 2008, 06.28 AMby ghainskom

    This method sounds interesting but does it means that you don’t press seam allowances appart (since they’re encased in the seam)?

  • Missing

    Aug 10, 2008, 09.46 PMby mynrose

    hi, can someone help me, step number one is confusing me with the numbers.

    “Take the seam allowance of the seam and divide it into two whole numbers. So a 5/8″ allowance becomes 2/8″ (1/4″), plus 3/8″.”

    what do you mean dividing it into two whole numbers?

    thanks.

  • Missing

    Jun 11, 2008, 06.13 PMby kitkat10

    i am such a french seam addict! after doing for the first time on a project (after reading above how-to =] ) i decided that i LOVED the way they look. the project came out god-awful, but damn, my seams looked NICE!

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    Jun 6, 2008, 09.31 PMby ashtre

    wonderful how-to. nice work!!

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    Jun 5, 2008, 01.19 PMby staticstasy

    Cool! I was looking for ways to finish seams and sounded interesting, but isn’t there a lot of bulk at the seam when you do this??

    • This is a question
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