We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a French Seam?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A French seam is a type of sewing seam in which the raw ends of the fabric are tucked in, leaving a clean, polished, professional look. In addition to looking tidier, this type of seam also protects delicate skin, and it prevents raveling of the fabric. Many seamstresses use such seams on lightweight fabrics, and they are relatively easy for a sewer to create once he or she gets the hang of it.

To sew a French seam, the seamstress starts with the right side of the fabric facing out, and sews the seam along the desired edge. Then, the seam allowance is closely trimmed so that a minimum of fabric sticks out beyond the stitches. Next, the fabric is opened and then folded together, with the right sides facing in, and another seam is sewn in close proximity to the first one, neatly enclosing the ragged edges of fabric inside the seam. Typically, the seam is then pressed to lie flat in a particular direction, and after that, it is finished.

Because this type of seam is entirely concealed, the technique can be used when threads would distract from the integrity of the design, or on lightweight fabrics that might ravel easily without reinforcement. The double layer of stitches protects the fabric and hides contrasting thread very well. In addition, there are no trailing threads or ragged edges to irritate the skin, a trait that can be very useful on garments worn close to the skin.

When sewing a garment with a French seam, sewers should remember to include the required larger seam allowance when cutting the fabric for the garment. Since the seam is sewn and then doubled back on itself, it will require a wider margin than some other seams. Sewers may also want to start with straight seams before plunging into hidden seams on curves such as sleeves, as these can be challenging.

When purchasing clothing, a French seam is often a sign of good quality and careful construction. Shoppers should make sure to inspect the seam closely to ensure that it is tight and even, and look for signs of puckering or gaps along the length. Consumers may also want to pull gently on either side of the seam to make sure that the fabric does not tear or separate. These inspection techniques should be used on all garments before purchase, as seams are the first line of failure on cheap clothes.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By eidetic — On Nov 27, 2012

@dautsun - I hate when sewing projects go wrong! However, at least you learned your lesson doing a pillowcase pattern with French seams instead of on a larger project like a dress! I know the more I spent on materials for a project, the more upset I am if something goes horrible awry.

By dautsun — On Nov 27, 2012

As the article said, you definitely have to allow extra fabric to do a French seam. I think a good rule of thumb is to double what you would usually allow for the edges.

The first time I ever did a French seam I was making a French seam pillowcase. I forgot to allow extra fabric for the seams, and I ended up making the pillowcase way too small. It wouldn't even fit on the pillow I made it for. I ended up scrapping the project, but I did learn my lesson about French seams.

By KaBoom — On Nov 26, 2012

@starrynight - I learned to sew when I was younger too, but for some reason I always resisted French seams until recently. A friend offered to show me how to sew a French seam, and once I saw her do it, I realized how easy it was. Now I use French seams in most of my sewing projects!

By starrynight — On Nov 25, 2012

@goldenmist - I agree! I do a lot of thrift store shopping, and checking the seams is one way I check the quality of the clothing I'm about to buy. You can find a lot of really good stuff in thrift stores, but there's also a lot of junk out there!

Anyway, my mom used to be a tailor, and she taught me how to sew pretty early on. I didn't really take to it, but I do remember how to sew a French seam. In the rare even that I sew an article of clothing, I always do French seams!

By anon275731 — On Jun 19, 2012

What is the second name for a french seam?

By anon261288 — On Apr 15, 2012

Could you please tell me what types of garments are drapery french seams used for?

By goldenmist — On May 03, 2011

Excellent tip in the last paragraph there. I'm sure everyone's had experiences where they can't really tell the difference between cheaper and more expensive clothes in stores. I usually go with the more mid-range to slightly-on-the expensive side with clothes because they seem to last longer.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.