French seams are commonly used to finish the seams of garments sewn in sheer or light weight fabrics such as silk and chiffon. French seams produce a professional clean look to a garment while protecting the seam from fraying or showing through to the right side if it is made of a sheer fabric. This seam finish can also be used in garments made of light to medium weight fabrics for a ‘couture-like’ finish on the inside.
This seam finish produces an enclosed or self -finished seam with no exposed seam allowance edge and is found in couture sewing.
STEP 1: Pin the WRONG sides of your fabric together and stitch the seam.
- For a 1/2 inch (12mm) seam allowance – sew 1/4 inch (6mm) from the edge.
- For a 5/8 inch (1.5cm) seam allowance – sew 3/8 inch (10mm) from the edge.
STEP 2: Trim the seam allowance to 1/8 inch (3mm). STEP 3: Press open the trimmed seam allowance.
STEP 4: Turn the fabric so the RIGHT sides of your fabric are together and press the seam on the edge.
STEP 5: Sew the seam again 1/4 inch from the folded seam edge. The previous seam allowance will be encased in the fold of the new seam.
STEP 6: Press the seam allowance to one side. Flip your fabric over and give the seam a final press.
The french seam finish gives a very clean and professional look to any garment. Also see my tutorial on a ‘mock’ french seam.