How to Sew a Perfect French Seam

French seams are a great way to add a beautiful and professional finish to your sewing projects. This seam is designed to enclose fraying and hide raw edges, and works particularly well on sheer and lightweight fabrics. To sew a French seam, you actually begin with stitching the wrong sides of your fabric together rather than the right sides. Follow the tutorial below to learn this seam technique or to brush up on your skills!

NOTE: These instructions are based on a 1/2-inch seam allowance. You’ll want to make sure you account for the right width in the seam allowance of your project:

1. Place the fabric pieces with wrong sides together. These instructions are based on a 1/2-inch seam allowance.

2. Zigzag (L=1.0; W=1.0) or lightening stitch (L=2.5; W=1.0) 1/4 inch from raw edge of fabric.

FrenchSeam

3. Trim seam allowance close to stitching (fig. 1).

4. Open out the fabric and press the seam to one side.

5. Fold the fabric along the seam line with right sides together, encasing the zigzag stitching (fig. 2).

FrenchSeam2

6. Stitch a 1/4-inch seam, enclosing the zigzag stitching (fig. 3).

7. Press the seam to one side. NOTE: A serged rolled edge may be used for the first seam when the fabric pieces are wrong sides together. No trimming will be needed, as the serger cuts off the excess seam allowance. If a pintuck foot is available, use it to stitch the second seam for either the zigzag or serger method. Place the tiny folded seam into a groove of the foot so that the needle will stitch beside the little roll of fabric (fig. 4). Second seam is stitched by machine.

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