How to Sew – French Seams

Welcome to Part 1 of my Keyhole Dress tutorial. Today I am going to show you how to make a french seam, but don’t worry, it is a whole lot easier than it sounds. It’s hard to take a picture of this one, but it looks like this when it is finished. The raw edges are hidden inside so everything is nice and neat.


This is how I finished the side seams of the skirt part of the dress before attaching it to the bodice. You could always use just a plain flat seam, but the point of this series is to teach you something new. (And I just think it looks prettier.) So, here we go…

I didn’t receive a lot of feedback about whether most of you guys prefer video or written tutorials, so I went ahead and gave video another try. I think this one turned out pretty well, but please let me know your feelings on the subject. (At least I made it shorter this time! ; )

Don’t forget to stop back tomorrow for a tutorial on how to sew buttonholes.
Thanks for visiting.
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14 thoughts on “How to Sew – French Seams

  1. I never knew that was how you did a french seam. That looks lots easier than how I have been doing it! BTW the video was perfect! So glad you are doing these.

  2. Thank you for your easy to understand tutorial, I'll be using this on garments, I hate the fraying, and it looks better and more effective than the zig zag.

  3. Actually, this isn't the correct way to do a true French seam. You made no mention of the seams allowance width. If someone is using a standard US pattern that generally allows for 5/8" seam allowance, it's done this way:

    With wrong sides together stitch at 3/8". Press open. TRIM the seam allowances down to 1/8" wide then press again with right sides together. Pin and sew a 1/4" seam allowance. The total seam allowance is 5/8". This is the couture method of sewing a true French seam.

    You could definitely use the tutorial here, but since the first seam was a 1/4" and then you've got to sew larger than that to enclose the edges, you're going to have a seam allowance in excess of 5/8" which will screw up a standard pattern.

    I'm just sayin'…..

    1. It is true. What you described is the "right way" to sew a french seam that they teach you in school. That is how I learned it. However…

      The "taget audience" for my blog is more the at home Mom/Hobbyist sewer, and not the fashion show/couture set. Most of us: make our own patterns, print out a PDF, trace Japanese pattern books, or use something other than what you are referring to as the "standard US pattern". The SA varies greatly and 5/8" is pretty darn rare.

      My hope in making the video above was to help explain the process rather than the technicalities to someone who wants to improve their home sewing skills. Then it is up to them to adjust the SA for their particular pattern, but I'll be sure to add a note to that effect to my post.

      If couture gurus are coming to my little blog to learn sewing techniques, they are gonna have a lot more problems than screwed up french seams!
      (I'm just sayin'… ;D)

    2. Correct me if I am wrong, but it should not matter if you start with sewing a 1/4" seam then trim and turn it and sew a 3/8" seam or start with a 3/8" seam, trim turn and sew a 1/4" seam. The seam should still be a 5/8" seam either way.

    1. You're very welcome Nadine. I personally think this is a much prettier seam even if you do own a serger. Definitely a more crisp and professional look!

  4. Thanks Sandy, I'm so glad it was helpful for you! I'm in the process right now of figuring out a way to rig up my DSLR so I can shoot more high quality videos to share with everyone. Hopefully once we move I'll have more space for that kind of thing!

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