How To Guides

French Seams by Lana L. Jones

French Seams by Lana L. Jones

French Seams

A French seam is perfect for lightweight to medium weight fabrics. All the raw edges of your seams are covered for a professional finish… and it is not hard to do. For the July Sew Fun presentations, I choose a black lightweight gauzy fabric that has been aging in my stash waiting for just the right pattern. Lemon Squeeze Cardigan from Snapdragon Studios is a perfect summer jacket that we will be featuring during the month of July. With the enclosed seams and clean finish appearance the French seam is ideal for the combination of pattern and fabric I have chosen.

To create the French seam you will need to remember that you start with wrong sides together. Obviously this is different than we usually sew a seam. For this pattern the seam allowance is ½”, so we will sew the first seam at ¼”.

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After stitching the seam, press the seam as it was stitched to help sink the threads into the fabric so you get a better turn of cloth.

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It is better to spend a few minutes pressing properly, than many minutes of frustration trying to make the fabric fold on the seam line. Pressing the seam open is the trick that makes folding and pressing on the seam line effortless.

There are two tools that make pressing seams open simple, a seam stick and a ham. The seam stick lifts the seam up for ease of pressing just the seam. The ham helps keep the curved shape… curved. If you have sewn a curved seam, you do not want to flatten it on a ironing board and ruin the curve you just created.

Place the seam over the seam stick for a straight seam or over a ham if it is a curved seam and press the seam open.

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Once you have all the seams pressed open, you will fold right sides together along the seam line and press. Because you pressed the seam open first, the fabric will fold effortlessly along the seam line as you press.

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Trim 1/8” off of the seam. Make sure you are using sharp scissors. If your fabric is slippery, it wants to push out of the scissors as you cut. To control this you will want to use serrated scissors. These are not pinking shears. Serrated scissors have very tiny teeth that grab the fabric as you cut so it stays in your scissors and does not push itself out for a beautiful straight cut.

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After you have trimmed the seam allowance, fold right sides back together and stitch ¼” seam.

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Then press the French seam to one side.

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Perfect!

To see the Lemon Squeeze Cardigan and all the other wonderful samples, learn a new technique, or pick up a tip or two, stop by one of the July Sew Fun presentations.

See you there!!

-Lana

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