French seams are a rather fancy way of creating a lovely, neat finish on the inside of your handmade garments. What they do is enclose the unsightly raw edges of the fabric within a neatly stitched secret cavity, never to be seen again… or that’s how I like to think of them!
They work really nicely on light- to medium-weight fabric, but not so great on heavier fabrics where they’d create bulky seams. They’re particularly useful on sheer fabrics as they look less conspicuous than overlocked seams. The strength of the seam also makes them practical for clothing that’s going to go through the laundry a lot.
Just before lockdown kicked in, Jenny and I made you a video demonstrating how to sew French seams. The pattern I’m sewing is coming soon…
I wrote a blog post a few years ago about sewing French seams on the Mathilde blouse, which is also worth a look if you’d prefer step-by-step photos to a video. The method I’m demonstrating in this video is slightly different as the finished seam ends up being slightly narrower if you’re working in millimetres – 7mm as opposed to 10mm.
By the way, don’t worry that the millimetres to inches measurements I give in the video don’t translate exactly into each other. It still works! The reason is that, when translating measurements, we often need to round them up or down to avoid giving fractions like 5/16in which are a bit difficult to follow 😉