Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Saturday, April 13, 2013

How to Sew a French Seam...It's Easy!

Good Saturday morning! I am happy to report that it is no longer sleeting and SNOWING, unlike yesterday, though we do have a white yard again. Sigh. Oh well, today is already looking hard-working hubs is installing our new dining room/entry floor as I type, children are outside playing since it isn't freezing cold, the sick boy is feeling better, and I'm finishing up some orders (thank you thank you thank you!!!). Then I remembered that I had wanted to do a tutorial on French seams, but I just kept forgetting. Until now. This may be your lucky day!  ;o)

When I was younger I first read about French seams...and was completely intimidated! There was so much measuring and trimming and ironing and snipping and more ironing-- I think I gave up before I ever got started! Then serging became all the rage to make seams look more professional, but truth be told, I'm not the biggest fan. I see the appeal, but I prefer less "factory" type methods of sewing for most projects.

But the raw-edged seams on my handmade items looked a little too homemade, if you know what I mean. So I took another look at sewing French seams, and this time, discovered a simpler, faster way.

It is easy, I promise! The only thing that you really have to consider are the variations in seam allowances, and how they may alter the sizing of whatever you're making. Honestly, I have never had an issue with this. Some patterns call for 1/4 inch seam allowance, while others call for 5/8 inch. If working with 1/4 inch allowances, do all the steps to keep those seams narrow and things should work out just fine. Okay, let's get started!

With WRONG sides together, stitch 1/4 inch (or 1/8 inch by adjusting your needle position to the right) from the edge--

At this point, you can trim the raw edges with a quick cut if you want to sew a narrower seam. You'll be enclosing the seam with the next stitch line, so if that seam is too wide, it will show...which you do not want.

After you've done this a few times, you will get a feel for how narrow things should be, and it gets even easier!

Open out the fabric with the new seam on top and iron it to one side, gently pulling one side taut--

The wrong side will look like this--
(If you want to, go ahead and iron this flat too, but it isn't necessary.)

Next, fold along the seam, RIGHT sides together, making sure the stitch line is nice and straight.

Now, with the pressed fabric folded {still RIGHT sides together} stitch 1/4 inch, give or take, along the edge. I wanted a nice, wide seam, so mine is slightly larger than 1/4 inch--

Position the seam to the desired side and press the RIGHT side.
On the outside things look just as they normally would, but now on the inside, you've got beautifully encased seams--

 Curves are no problem for sewing with French seams! This is a seam with a sleeve and underarm--

Sorry for the terrible lighting (it was dark & gloomy yesterday!), but here is a pic of the finished product- so pretty!

When working with silky or slippery fabrics, and fabrics that fray easily, French seams can be a lifesaver! There are, however, some occasions when sewing with French seams doesn't work well at all. Bulkier, heavier fabrics are a nightmare because the seams get super thick and difficult to work with- I would zig-zag the edges, or yes, even use the serger!

I hope this tutorial was helpful for you to go ahead and try something new! Feel free to email me at 3sonsplus1@gmail dot com with any questions. Have a great weekend!

ps- I just noticed that my pink fabrics are different in the photos, so I hope that isn't confusing-- I had some nightgown orders to finish up, so the tutorial got a little spiced and diced, ha! But I guess that's a really good problem to have!  =)

Sharing with//
Sew Many Ways 
Six Sister's Stuff 
Sew Can Do 
Sugar Bee Crafts 
Lil Luna


Carol said...

So funny that you should post this yesterday.. I used a french seam yesterday in a recycled bag (jeans) I made for my husband's Kidzone class at Church tomorrow. He needed 20 beanbag toss thingies and then a bag to carry them in. Super easy for both and was done in an hour. :)

Don't you just love quick and easy sewing projects!


Emily Thompson said...

I've never done a french seam... looks like something I should give a try! I came over from Six Sisters... Hope your weekend has been great! Emily @ Nap-Time Creations

Linda said...

Great tutorial. I have never tried a French seam, and it does look easy!

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