This Article is About
french seam
basting stitches
seam line
seam lines
seam allowance
seam ripper
lightweight fabric
French Seam
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What is a French seam? A French seam which also known as English seam is one of the strongest Seams you can Sew. It has the appearance of a tuck on the wrong side of the fabric and is commonly used on silk lingerie. It is appropriate for fine, lightweight fabric and can be use on anything made from transparent fabric as well. It is my go to seam when I am sewing with chiffon, slippery silk, or any lightweight satin.

Because this seam has a little extra bulk it should not be used for intricate seam lines such as curved seam. Because of the extra bulk that this seam possesses you will want to avoid using it in any garment that will be closely fitted. It is inappropriate for heavy fabrics. A French seam cannot be altered so do not use this seam if you are anticipating any changes that you may need to make to the size of your garment. Wait until you are done with any fitting.

When making a French seam you will actually be making two seams. One of those seams will be in the center of your seam allowance. The other will be on your intended seam line.

As with most seams you are going to start with a simple plain seam. But do not put in a permanent stitch line. Just leave the basting stitches while you fit the garment. After you are done fitting, cut the seams open with a seam ripper. Cut the thread where you previously placed the basting stitches. Leave the thread in the fabric as a marker telling you where to place the seam line.

Reposition the fabric sections so the wring sides are together. Match the seam lines where the basting stitches used to be. Pin your fabric together and baste a plain seam in the center of your seam allowance. After you are satisfied with the placement of your basting stitches sew your permanent stiches over the basting line. Leave the thread tracing in your fabric. You still need them to mark your seam line. However you are going to want to avoid even more bulk on this already bulky seam. Remove the baste stitches.

Do you know that plain seam that you just created? Now you will press the plain seam flat. After you have pressed it flat press it open. Fold the fabric over so the right sides are together. Fold the fabric over on the point where you created the plain seam. Press your fabric with the point of your iron to leave an indent where the fold is. Reopen the fold and trim your fabric along the seam so that it is slightly less than the finished width of the seam. If you do not do this your cut end will poke through the seam on the outside of your garment. Unless that is your desired result you will need to trim the seam.

After you have trimmed the cut ends of your fabric refold the fabric at the indents. Baste on the thread traced seam line. Sew a permanent stitch line.

Remove the basting stitches and press the seam flat. Then press the seam to one side.

You have now created a French seam. Because of the strength of this seam if you have done it the way I told you to the seam will last you a very long time. You are so very smart that I am sure you made your French seams perfect! Good job!


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