If you’ve ever followed a sewing pattern, you may be familiar with the instruction ‘finish seams.’ Usually this means using a serger (which is a sewing machine that sews, trims and finishes the seams) or perhaps just trim them with pinking shears. Finishing seams might seam like a tedious step getting in the way of you and your finished item, but it is important and properly finished seams won’t unravel in the washing machine. If you don’t have a serger, like me, why not try using French seams when you’re sewing. Not only does it mean you are sewing and finishing the seams in one step, but it also makes your garment look so much neater and more professional. And it’s so easy to do!
1. Take the fabric that you’re working with and place it wrong sides together. That’s not a typo! This is the opposite to what you’ll be used to doing, but trust me, it’s going to turn out great!
2. For regular 5/8″ seams, start by sewing, wrong sides together, a 1/4″ seam.
3. Trim the seam to 1/8″. The easiest way to do this is just cut the seam allowance in half, rather than spend time measuring.
4. Turn piece inside out and press the seam, making sure it is centred.
5. Take your work to the sewing machine again and sew another 1/4″ seam from the pressed edge. It should enclose the first tiny seam you made.
6. Turn your work again and press the seam. And now you have lovely neat seams that don’t need to be finished with pinking shears and your work looks really professional!
Now wasn’t that easy?! French seams are great for light to medium weight fabrics, but might add too much bulk to heavier fabrics. This is now my go to finishing technique, and once you’ve given it a go, there’ll be no reason why it shouldn’t be yours too! Every handmade item should look beautiful inside too and French seams are just the way to do it.