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How to sew a princess seam

Princess seams are shaped seams which are designed to fit the contours of the body. They can be on either or both, the back or the front of the body. The seam can begin either at the shoulder or at the arm hole and can either stop at the waist or continue down the body shaping the full length of the garment over the waist and hips. So this How to Sew a Princess Seam should help you.

The typical princess seam will curve outwards over the fullest part of the bust or back and then curve inward to shape the waist and if the seam extends down towards the hips then the seam will curve outwards again to accommodate the body’s contours.

Before beginning your project it is important to check the pattern size. Some commercial dress patterns come in sizes which allow for different cup fittings, A, B, C, D etc. This can be very useful, however it is always worth making a toile or muslin first. This is a trial garment or part of a garment to check for sizing. If the fabric you have chosen for your dressmaking project is expensive then making a toile from a cheap calico or plain cotton could save you a lot of money. When you get the princess seams to follow the shape of your body precisely you can create a very elegant shape.

Princess Seam – Step1

It is a good idea to put a row of stay stitching for reinforcement inside the seam lines on the centre bodice piece. Some fabrics have a tendency to stretch a bit when handled and this will help prevent movement of the fibres.

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Princess seam fabric pieces

Princess Seam – Step 2

With the side panel on top of the centre panel with the right sides together pin along the seamline, match any notching you have and spread any ease evenly. Baste stitch this seam in place and remove the pins. You want to avoid any gathering or puckering. If it is necessary you can clip into the seam allowance but not the full depth of it.

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Princess seam basting

Princess Seam – Step 3

Machine stitch the seam, being careful to ensure that the underside of the fabric is laying flat.

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Princess seam sewing

Princess Seam – Step 4

Remove the basting stitches and cut more notches along the curve of the seam to allow the seam to shape the bust when pressed flat. Do not cut into the line of stitching.

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Princess seam pressing

Princess Seam – Step 5

Press the seam open on the wrong side of the fabric. If you have a tailor’s ham use this for pressing to ensure the seam retains the correct curved shape.

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Princess seam bust front

 

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Princess seam bust curve