The french seam is a very neat encased seam which has the reputation of being difficult to achieve but it really is not. You do however have to get used to the method of sewing with the wrong sides of your fabric together, which seems a bit backwards at first. It is stitched twice, once from the right side and once from the wrong side. It is the classic seam finish for sheer and very light weight fabric, enclosing all of the fabric edges so they can not fray open. It looks nice when the finished width is just ¼ inch or 6mm. It is best used on straight seems as going around curved edges can be tricky. For curved edges it is better to apply the mock french seam (another tutorial).
With the wrong sides of the fabric together, stitch ⅜ inch or 1 cm from the edge.
Trim seam allowances to ⅛ inch or 3 mm.
Press the seam open. Fold the fabric so that the right sides are together with the stitched line exactly on the edge of the fold and press along the seam edge again.
Stitch on your seamline, which is now ¼ inch or 6 mm from the fold. Press finished seam to one side.
Now you have the perfect french seam for all of your sheer, silk and light weight fabric projects. Use the comments box below to tell me what’s on your sewing table at the moment, I’d love to hear from you.
Do you need more winter dresses so that you can be warm and comfortable?
I’ve decided to make a series of warm winter dresses over the next two months of this New Year. And I’m starting with a simple bodycon style made from purple Ponte di Roma.
The pattern that I have chosen to use consists only of four pieces, the back, and the front and the two sleeves. Because it is such a simple design I felt that I wanted to break up the body of the front of the dress to create a bit more interest. I looked around for ideas and inspiration from a few of my favourite recent fashion shows and came across the Christopher Kane Spring RTW 2015 collection. I’ve pinned two of the pictures from that show here and here…
It was both the colour of the fabric and the directional lines, which dissect the body at differing intervals, which appealed as a starting, point for my own ideas.
So maybe my sketch doesn’t look as dramatic as the designer’s, but I am making a new winter dress and it has to be a practical day wear outfit too.
I’ve used a basic sewing pattern, which I have used before so I know that it fits me. I drew it out onto paper and played around with it, drawing the piping lines onto the front until I was happy with the placement, then I cut it up!!
I numbered the paper pattern pieces and marked them with the straight grain line so that it would be easier to keep them in the correct order. It was important that I remembered to add the seam allowances onto these new pattern pieces as well. I used an allowance of 15mm / 5/8 inch.
I’ve selected to use a Ponte di Roma fabric for this make. It is a warm double knit with a directional stretch. It is very easy to sew with and comfortable to wear. It is also simple to wash and press.
When I was cutting out the fabric it was important to get the straight grain of the fabric on the vertical but also to check that the stretch was going to be going around the body and for the sleeves, around the arms. I numbered all of the fabric pieces as I cut them out to save confusion when it came to sewing them together.
I handmade my own piping from a darker shade of purple, to add an accent. I wasn’t sure about it at first so played around with a few options on a small scrap of the fabric. As well as piping with the accent colour, I tried piping with the main fabric, it would have worked well, but I was after a bit more punch.
I was pleased with how easy it was to put the main front section of the dress together. The seams were overclocked/serged before sewing the back and front together with the sewing machine, it gives a neat finish.
I decided to sew a single line of piping on to the sleeves as well. By simply measuring my arm length and cutting the sewing pattern where I wanted the placement of the piping to be and not forgetting to allow an extra seam allowance so that the tapered sleeve would still fit my arm.
Was this a successful first winter dress of the New Year? (@sewingavenue)
I think so. I am happy with the result; it will be fun to wear inside and with the addition of boots and a cardigan under a coat it will be great for outdoors too.