Friday, February 17, 2012

French seams the Stacie way: Tutorial

I have been working on the French seams in my Peony, and have developed a few methods that have helped me I thought I would share. I have been doing French seams on garments on and off for awhile, but this project has really made me look at ways to help myself out.

First of all French seams are seams you sew in which the raw edges are encased within the seam allowance. Very unnecessary, but they look nice and are pretty darn strong. Above is the inside of the French seam we are about to make.

Place your fabrics wrong sides together. Yes, it goes against everything you believe in, but trust me. "Right sides together," is your chant when you are doing French seams.

Next I get out my 1/4" presser foot. That's right, it is used for more than my boring quilt posts!

Mathlete Moment: Remember 1/4 inch is also equivalent to 2/8 inch. 

When using a 1/4 inch presser foot you just follow the outside edge of the presser foot. Just stitch right down the seam.

Press the seam open.

Now fold it so it is right sides together. I usually like to press the seam again here to make sure it is lined up and not poofy.

Here is my seam allowance magnet. I use it for all garments. I get distracted and tend to start following the foot instead of the usual 5/8" seam allowance. This sticks to my machine and my fabric can follow it instead of the tiny markings that come on the machine.

I lined up my magnet to the 3/8" mark on my machine.

Here you just line up the fabric with the magnet and stitch.

Mathlete Moment: Your first seam was 2/8 inch, your second seam was 3/8 inch.

2/8 + 3/8 = 5/8

We made a 5/8 inch seam allowance!

Press your seam to the side.

Now look at what you did! Your seam is perfect from the outside and pretty on the inside! That 1/4" foot and magnet totally help you be more accurate.

As for the Peony, I'm working on it. I have foot surgery this afternoon and can't concentrate very well. I made this tutorial then promptly went and sewed my French seams right sides together. Posts may slow down a bit around here while I recover, but I'll be back!


  1. Nice tutorial! I've been considering one of those magnet seam guides, but I always resist buying new tools, especially since I'm so unorganized lately.

    Good luck with your surgery. I hope it goes well and that you're up and sewing again in no time!

    1. I made it through surgery, just not up and running quite yet. :-) The magnet saves me all the time since I don't pay enough attention to my seam allowances otherwise. I notice everything fits better when I use it. Highly recommended!

  2. Get well soon!!!
    Great tutorial you mega mathlete!

  3. Thanks for the french seam tutorial! Can't wait to try it out. The seam allowance magnet looks pretty neat, I'll have to keep an eye out for one of those. I hope your surgery went well. Maybe some online fabric/pattern shopping could keep you occupied while you recover :)

    1. Ouch! Am I that easy to read? I've been out of commission two days and have bought a load from and Gertie's new suit course on Craftsy! I got it for $25 too, so how could I not? :-)