French Seams on Various Seam Allowances

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As a follow up to Monday’s post on French seams I wanted to post how to deal with seam allowances that differ from my tutorial since I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this. The three pieces above have a 1/4″ seam allowance, a 1/2″ seam allowance, and a 5/8″ seam allowance. Basically when you do a French seam, you’re going to first stitch half of the seam allowance for the first seam (with wrong sides facing of course), but in situations such as a 5/8″ seam allowance stitching at 5/16″ is just not going to happen, nor does it need to. Stitch 3/8″ for that first seam.

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Various Seam Allowances

From there press the seam open and trim the seam allowances in half. From left to right the original seam allowances are as follows… 5/8″ – 1/2″ – 1/4″

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Various Seam Allowances

Press the seam with right sides facing to enclose the seam allowances. You’ll be stitching the 5/8″ seam allowance at 1/4″, the 1/2″ seam allowance also at 1/4″, and the 1/4″ seam allowance at 1/8″

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Various Seam Allowances

From left to right above we have the finished 1/4″ seam allowance, the 1/2″ seam allowance, and the 5/8″ seam allowance. Hope this clears things up a bit on various seam allowances.

11 replies on “French Seams on Various Seam Allowances

    • Jen

      It’s a fat quarter of quilting cotton I got at a fat quarter sale some years ago and unfortunately came without an informational selvage. Sorry I’m no help on this!

      Reply
  • Erika Arens

    So really I could do French seams on 3/8″. First sew with a 1/8″ and then with a 1/4″? A lot of my international patterns use 3/8″ and I was upset when I thought I couldn’t do french seams. Sometimes I worry about my math skillz.

    Reply
  • Louise

    I’m working on a low-quality chiffon blouse right now and French seams are the only things keeping the darn fabric from falling completely to pieces! I’m so grateful for your helpful hints.

    Reply
  • Stephanie

    Thank you for putting this together! Bookmarked immediately. I always find myself searching for “French seam for ___” seam allowance” before sewing (even though the math is pretty simple.. I like to be extra cautious!) and it is so nice to have this in one place 🙂

    Reply
  • Laura

    So grateful for your post! It’s bookmarked and I will refer to it until I get the hang of it. Many other posts show how to sew a French seam, but do not give instruction on how to work with seam allowances. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Norma

    Thanks so much for the clear, concise instructions. Seems like I have to relearn this each time I do it, so I don’t do it as often as I’d like to. You’ve made it simple.

    Reply
  • Sylvia

    I saw your first tutorial about french seams and that was my question too: how much seam allowance. Great that you made it clear to all of us. Thanks a lot!

    Reply

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