Wednesday, July 13, 2011

French Seam Tutorial

As I was working on the Patchwork Princess Skirt, I realized that I didn't want this dear little girl to be too itchy from overcast stitches.  There is NOTHING worse than being itchy when you are at the HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH, right?

Since there were a million and one seams from it being patchwork, I hatched up a plan.

French Seams!

Risky? Yes! Considering that I have never done them before.  Heard of them, but never have figured it out in my sewing books.  I went on a hunt and found that there isn't much out there or some of it was conflicting or just plain old confusing.  I think it is so much easier to follow pictures!

So I decided to compile all that I found and share my new found knowledge with you!


Fabric, Thread, Iron, and Sewing Machine


This is going to go against EVERYTHING you have learned about seams!

I wanted to show you what my right sides looked like. 
I also have marked the right and wrong sides throughout to make it constantly clear.

Step One
You are going to place the WRONG sides of your two pieces of fabric together. 

I pulled the blue back so just so you understood that, yes, the wrong sides will be facing each other.

Step Two

Sew your two fabrics together.

I used less than 1/4 inch seam.

Remember, wrong sides facing together.

You can see here that I spread out the two fabrics, right side up.

The raw seam is facing out.

Goes against your natural sewing instincts, doesn't it!

Step Three

Iron your seam to the side. 

Because of my quilting background, I always tend to iron the lighter fabric over to the darker fabric side.

Step Four

Time to make it right!

Fold over your fabric.  Your right sides will NOW be facing each other.

Step Five

Finger press at the seam.  It is important to make sure it is nice and flat. If you want to iron, by all means do so, but it isn't necessary.

Looks a little bit familiar now, doesn't it!

Wrong sides are facing out!

Step Six

Time to make your second seam.  Again, the wrong sides are facing out now, the right side in.  

I did my stitch about 1/4 in away from the edge.  I made sure that it was just far away enough to not get the inside seam caught or sticking out in my new seam. 

Note:  If you are worried about the extra fabric and want to keep the second seam really thin, you could trim the extra fabric on the inside down to 1/8 of an inch between Step Two and Three.  
I didn't because it didn't matter for my patchwork skirt.  I had plenty of volume to work with and didn't think 2-3 inches overall made a difference.

If you can see on this photo,  the seam is just a hair away from the first seam on the inside.

When you open up your right sides, you have a nice clean seam.

An important note!

This will change your seam allowances!!  

Instead of finished squares of 8 inches from 8 1/2 cuts,  I ended up with 7 1/2 inch squares.

So suggestion...add 1/4 inch to each side you plan to do a french seam on!

And on the inside?

A nice clean seam that won't scratch like overcasting will!

Hope you are able to try this sometime!  

Not only does it feel good on the skin, it certainly gives your handmade items a professional look.  


  1. What a great tutorial! You make it look so easy! Will be trying this for sure! :)

  2. I use French seams when I make pillowcases. I have a serger but those seams are weaker that French seams plus like you said...they look great! I have found another new2me seam called the Hong Kong seam lol! It's the coolest thing! I would try to explain it but my tutorial talk is nowhere as good as yours lol!! But you can google it and watch a video. Just found your blog yesterday. I love all your creations!! Amie :)


I cannot wait to hear what you have to say! Seriously! It makes my day!


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