How to Make a French Seam in Sewing

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French seams completely encase the raw edges of two pieces of fabric, preventing excessive fraying and keeping any fraying neatly tucked away. Therefore, the neatness of French seams is preferable to regular seams when sewing sheer fabric. Garments constructed from light- to medium-weight fabrics, especially those made for children, benefit from the increased durability of French seams. French seams give garments a professional look with only slightly more effort than plain seams.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Put two pieces of fabric together with the wrong sides facing each other. Sew the two pieces together using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

  • Iron the seam flat. Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8 inch.

  • Open the two pieces of fabric and fold them back over the seam allowance so the right sides face each other.

  • Iron over the seam again. Sew along the same edge with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Iron the seam flat.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can adjust the seam allowances for the French seam to suit any pattern you want. Just trim the first seam allowance down to 1/8 inch less than the second seam allowance.
  • French seams don't work well for heavy-weight fabric because the seam becomes too bulky.
  • If using a French seam on a pattern that doesn't call for one, make sure to add extra to the seam allowances, or divide the seam allowance by two -- if it is 1/2 inch or larger -- to get the seam allowance for each seam of the French seam.
  • Use a straight stitch foot and needle plate when sewing sheer fabrics to prevent the fabric from being sucked into the feed.

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