Monday, January 5, 2015

Love That Technique: French Seams

Greetings and Salutations, fabric lovers! Scraps, here, with one of my favorite sewing techniques: the French seam.

French seams are used most often to enclose raw edges of a fabric that is prone to fraying but they are also the perfect finish to something where the seams will be visible but where adding a lining is less than desirable, like a small pouch or bag or even a sheer skirt overlay.

It's a very simple technique, though you may want to allow a bit more seam allowance when you cut out your patterns to not come up short in the end. I'm prepared a little demo for you, making some small, drawstring gift bags out of organza.

1. Hem the tops of your bag with two straight lines of stitches to create a channel for the drawstring. (I've done this along the long edges of a strip of fabric because I want to make a lot of bags at once.)

2. Fold your fabric, wrong sides together, and sew a narrow seam up both sides--this is step one of a French seam.

3. Trim the excess to about 1/8" before turning the bags right sides together and turning all seams out as far as they'll go. Pressing can help, but on delicate fabrics, finger-pressing and pinning are best.

4. Sew along the previous seams, enclosing the trimmed edges in the process. That's your French seam! Once you return your bag to the right-side-out, you've got a nice, neat seam that you won't have to fear snagging on contents or fraying and making a mess.

5. To finish the bags, turn them right side out again and cut small slits on the outer layer of fabric at each corner to pass your ribbon or thread through. Using a tapestry needle, string your ribbon or thread through the channel, beginning and ending at the same side of the bag, and knot the ends. You can use a single ribbon and tie it to close, or overlap two strings going in opposite directions to make a bag that closes when you pull both sides.

Wishing you creative days,
Jennifer ~Scraps~ Vanderbeek


  1. Wow, this is amazing! Thanks so much for the tutorial!!

    1. You're welcome! It's such a simple thing but comes in SO handy!