Sewing Back-to-School: French Seams

This post is part of the Sewing Back-to-School series, 30 days of helpful sewing articles by guest bloggers. Feel free to check out the original Sewing Back-to-School post for schedule and previous posts!

Hi all,

  I’m Angela and I blog over at Cut to Pieces.  Sweet Sara invited me here to share a little bit about French Seams with you all.  It sounds a little naughty, but maybe that’s just because I’m up way too late working on this! lol.  French Seams are a really wonderful way to add finished seams to any project without using a serger or a lining.  I first learned about french seams when I was garment sewing, but I’ve used them for more than that now.
French seams are relatively simple to do (despite their fancy name) and have a lot of impact.  They are probably most commonly used for sheer fabrics as a way to both prevent the fabric from fraying at the seams and provide a tidy seam from BOTH the front and the back.  The only tricky thing is if your seam allowances are REALLY strict.  Then you just need to be accurate. 😉

(image courtesy of http://sewingcafewithlynne.blogspot.com)

Today I want to show you how I use french seams on a tote bag I made. The technique is absolutely the same, but it’s a slightly different application than you normally see. Heck, I used french seams when I was making the crib sheets for my daughter. You can turn any straight seam into a french seam!

French Seams tote

To make a french seam, you place WRONG sides of your fabric together.  This is counter intuitive for most of us who sew.  We’re used to sewing right sides together and flipping that inside out.  But that is truly the first step here.  Depending on your total seam allowance for the whole seam, you will do a small seam allowance that is roughly 1/3/ to 1/2 of your total.  Generally speaking you are safe with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Sew the wrong sides together.

French Seams tote

French Seams tote

In working on my tote, I had to do a lot of these seams before the next step.

French Seams tote

Press this seam and then flip the fabric so that it is now RIGHT sides together.  The seam should be in the fold.  Press the fold.   Sew the fabric right sides together with a 1/2″ or so seam allowance.  See how all the raw edges are enclosed?

French Seams tote

French Seams tote

Both sides of the seam are smooth and clean! And in this case, the seams actually provide functional stability for the bag. So they are extra helpful.

French Seams tote

Totally smooth!

French Seams tote

This tote bag had 8 french seamed sides! And they all joined….of course I did the tricky one. lol. But I have a super cute market tote in the End! I think I’ll take it with me to the Sewing Summit.

French Seams tote

I hope you all try a french seam or two. I promise you’ll be happy with the results!

Thanks for having me Sara!

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