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How to Sew a French Seam with a Sewing Machine

Learn how to sew a French seam with a sewing machine from designer Jennifer Wiese in this Howcast tutorial.


Hi, I'm Jennifer from Workroom Social, and today I'm going to show you how to make a French seam. We have our two pieces of fabric here that we want to sew together, and we want to sew this with a French seam.

To get a good idea of what that would look like, we should identify a wrong side of the fabric. Here we have our two wrong sides. Now, this is one of the few things that you will sew with wrong sides together. So you want to take your two X's and match them up, and then you are going to sew a narrow seam allowance. We are going to sew about a quarter of an inch. I'm just lining up my fabric with the outside of my presser foot, and that's about a quarter of an inch, and then you're just going to sew a straight stitch, and I'm on a 2.5 mm stitch length.

Then after you sew the wrong sides together, you want to press this seam flat. You don't need to iron it, but if you just finger press this to get the seam to open a little bit, then that helps this side lie a little bit flatter. Now what we're going to do is we're going to take some scissors and we're going to trim away about an eighth of an inch from the seam allowance, so we're cutting the seam allowance in half.

Now is the time that we're going to sew right sides together. So with our right sides facing us, we're going to lay right sides together, and we are going to do our best to push out this seam so it's nice and flat. Grab some pins. You can pin it in place to hold it. We have our seam all pinned into place, so now it's time to sew.

Before we do that though, you should think about your seam allowance, so I'm going to do my total seam allowance is 5/8th of an inch, which is a very common seam allowance, and we sewed the first narrow seam at a quarter of an inch, so 5/8ths minus a quarter is 3/8ths, so to get the total 5/8ths, right now I need to take this back to the sewing machine, and sew a 3/8ths seam allowance. I'm going to line up my fabric with that 3/8ths marker that is on my seam guide, and I'm just going to sew a straight stitch following that guide.

Then when you're done, you can take this to the ironing board, and you're going to press your seam to one side because they can't open anymore. Our french seam encloses the raw edge within this bit. This is the right side of our fabric, and then this is the wrong side of our fabric with our French seam.

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