Starting a sewing project is always fun, but finishing it is challenging. One of my favorite ways to finish a sewing project is by finishing it with French seams! Learn how to sew French seams below!
Get A Neat Finish By Learning How To Sew French Seams
Supplies you’ll need on how to sew French seams:
- Sewing Machine & Thread
- Iron and Ironing Board
Step One: Pin The Fabric Together
Unlike usual seams that press the right sides of the fabric together, make sure to press the wrong sides of your fabric. Make sure the borders are aligned and pin the fabric together securely.
Step Two: Sew The Fabric Together
This is the first seam you are going to sew since you will be sewing two seams when doing this neat finish. Make sure you sew 3/4 to 1 centimeter from the frayed edge of the fabric. Use a straight stitch.
Step Three: Press The Seam
Pressing or ironing the fabric will be a recurring step in learning how to sew French seams. But it’s definitely worth it! Pressing the seam will help the thread bind with the fabric.
Step Four: Open The Excess Fabric From The Seam
Lay the fabric flat on the surface and pry open the excess fabric from the plain seam. While keeping it open, press it so it stays open. Be very careful in handling your iron!
Step Five: Trim The Seam Allowances
With your pair of scissors, trim the seam allowance down to 1/8 3 millimeters. Make sure you’re cutting only the seam allowance and not the right side of the fabric.
Step Six: Fold The Fabric
Fold the fabric by putting the right sides together. The seam you made and trimmed should be in the middle of the fold. This fixes the raw edges and makes the next steps a lot easier.
Step Seven: Press The Fabric
Press the fold and the area where the seam is. The seam has to be at the very edge of the fabric! This is quite easy to do because the bump of the seam would be very noticeable.
Step Eight: Sew The Second Seam
Sew the fabric 5 millimeters away from the previous edge. Use a straight stitch! If you’re afraid the fabric would slip, I advise you use pins. Be careful using that sewing machine too!
Step Nine: Press The Fabric
Yes, press the fabric – again. Don’t worry, this is the last ironing task! This is just to make sure the stitches melt into the fabric, securing it.
To get a more visual instruction, check out this video by Made To Sew!
I learned earlier on that all seams vary so much because of the raw edges. When I realized how to sew French seams, I learned just how true that statement was. Unlike regular seams, French seams are virtually invisible. Sewing is a hobby and passion that always has something new to teach you or inspire you to create your very own! Now that you’ve learned how to sew French seams, say goodbye to unwanted visible seams and hello to flawless lines!
Do you know other techniques to sew French seams? Leave us a comment below!
Up Next: Two Ways to Sew Zippers
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
Karen Bond Hinson says
Great information. Would love to have seen a finished project using the French seam.
Sandra Pepe Mundt says
I was taught (many years ago) to sew the first seam 3/8″, trim to 1/8″ and then sew again at 2/8″. This uses the typical 5/8″ seam allowance.
What a great post!
Is that an industrial iron presser??
In Step 2, what kind of measurement is “3/4 1 centimeter”? Converting 3/4 inch to metric units yields 19 mm or 1.9 cm. Please use precise measurements including units. Do not combine different systems of measurements! Examples: 4 mm, 2 in, 5/8 in, 1 cm, 2 yd, 1.5 m.
Very helpful, clear and precise instructions.
I was taught how to sew a French seam years ago making it curtains. It’s very good and strong and can be used for all kinds of sewing.
It’s funny, in french we call these seams “coutures anglaises” (english seams) .
Maybe in Japan they call them spanish seams 😉
D. C. says
You missed that last pressing! I always press from the right side of the garment to make sure the seam is flat. You can see in the last photo that the outside is puffy.
Thanks for this great tutorial. Two hours ago, I did not know a French seam existed. Now I have created one. You made it soooo easy!
Math is not my strong suit. I usually do 1/4 seam allowances when making a bag or pouch. How much more should I add to the pattern if I want to keep the bag the same size. Thanks!!