Sewing a professional-looking project is not just about how it looks on the outside but also about how it looks on the inside. The devil is in the detail and in this case it is in the finished seam. Finished seams on any project prevents unraveling, makes the seam stronger, and look polished, and professional. If you grew up in the microwave generation you might think that a serged seam is the only way to go. But not everyone has a serger or can afford to run out and get one. What’s a body to do?
There are several seam finishing techniques but my go-to favorite is the French seam. I love it because all the raw edges are hidden. French seams are not recommended for curved seams. They work best on light-weight woven fabrics and are ideal for sheer fabrics. A French seam is such an elegant finishing technique and incredibly easy to do.
When I teach this to my grandchildren I usually have them make a simple project like a pillowcase. Let’s get ready to make a pillowcase. I happen to have in my stash some fabric I picked up on a business trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota last year. Sioux Falls was the perfect place to find Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Minnesota Viking fabric and I guess the Super Bowl playoffs is as good time as any for me to sew it them up.
Making a pillowcase is easy, fun, and fast. The are a number of tutorials on the internet and YouTube has several videos. Jenny Doan at the Missouri Star Quilt Company has great video with the basic construction technique and then let’s learn to make the French seam.
This is what you are going to need:
Main fabric: 1 yard Actually around 27 inches. For the Minnesota Viking I got a remnant that a “smidge” (that’s what the saleslady said) less than 27 inches for 75% off. I just cut the cuff a “smidge” longer to make up the difference. It was actually about an shorter inch.)
Cuff: 1/3 yard
Trim: 1/4 yard (This is optional. I did not use it on these pillowcases I didn’t feel like messing with it and a little too fru fru anyway.)
Cut the Main fabric: 27 X 40 inches
Cut the Cuff: 10 x 40 inches
Trim (if using) 2 x 40
Once you have attached the cuff follow these easy steps to sew the French seam.
Step One: Pin wrong sides together and sew the entire seam at a 3/8 seam allowance.
Step Two: Trim the seam allowance to a 1/8 inch
Step Three: Open the seam and press the seam allowance to one side. Press both side to be sure that it will lay flat.
Step Four: Fold the fabric on the seam with the right sides together (RST) and press flat again. Pin the layers.
Step Five: Sew the entire seam with a 1/4 inch allowance. You are hiding the original seam with its raw edges within the seam.
Step Six: Press the entire seam.
Now enjoy your new skill. Give French Seams a try on your next garment or home decor project. You will be saying “Ooh! La, La!” too.