French Seams on Right Angles

Grainline Studio | French Seams on 90 Degree Angles

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to work French seams on the waistline seam of the Alder Shirtdress. Here’s a little tutorial to show you how to make this happen. This tutorial assumes that you already know how to make French seams so if you need a refresher you can check out our tutorials here and here. As always, if you have any questions just leave me a note in the comments below.

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

To begin, mark the pivot point on your corner. If you’re using the Alder pattern this is marked for you.

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Starting with one side, stitch the first seam of the French seam. This will be at a seam allowance half the width of the pattern’s written allowance. In this instance we have a 1/2″ seam allowance so this first seam is stitched at 1/4″ from the edge of the pieces to the pivot point.

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Clip just to, but not through, the corner to the stitching line you just made.

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Press the seam allowance open and trim the seam allowances in half down to 1/8″ in this instance.

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Fold and press the seam with the seam allowances to the inside. Above is what the piece looks like from both sides.

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Stitch at 1/4″ (or more depending on your starting seam allowance) from the raw edge to the pivot point. This is the first French seam of the angle. Clip to, but not through to the stitching of the pivot point.

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Align the remaining edges together from the raw edge to the pivot point. Make sure that the seam allowance of this seam you’re about to stitch falls to the opposite side of the garment than the seam you just finished so that when you sew the second seam they end up on the same side.

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

After you stitch at 1/4″ (or half of your seam allowance) there will be a folded edge outside the seam allowance that prevents you from pressing the seam flat. Clip this as shown above.

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Press the seam allowance open and trim the allowance in half (down to 1/8″ in this example).

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Fold the seam over with the raw edges to the inside and press. Above are two photos that show what both sides of the fabric look like at this point. Stitch across the seam using the remainder of the seam allowance from the pivot point to the raw edge.

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Grainline Studio | French Seams on Right Angles

Press your seam allowances and you’re done! A French seamed right angle! Now, I’m not going to lie, on the Alder I always serge the gathered seam (because nothing sucks quite like French seaming a gathered seam) and then French seam the front pieces but you can use this tutorial to do that as well. It works the same way, the serged seam is done first, sewn and serged, and then the straight seams down the front of the skirt are sewn as the second French seam in this tutorial. Hope that helps…any questions let me know below.

15 replies on “French Seams on Right Angles

  • Carol

    Hi,
    I’m not sure if it’s my computer or not, but I’ve noticed the last few times you’ve posted a series of photos with “Pin It” in the corner that the pictures cover up most of the descriptive writing you have to the right of them. FYI I am reading your blog directly from your website.

    Reply
  • Carol

    Oh never mind. As soon as I hit post on the message above, the page refreshed and now everything looks fine. It is a Monday after all. Thanks so much for doing these tutorials. I always learn so much.

    Reply
    • Jen

      Hmm, two of you are having the same problem so that means likely more people are as well. Any chance you wouldn’t mind telling me your browser, computer & operating system so I can try to figure out what could be happening? Thanks!!

      Reply
    • Jen

      Any chance you wouldn’t mind telling me what browser, computer, and operating system you’re running? I haven’t seen this on my end but if it’s happening to 2 people it’s happening to more than two 🙁

      Reply
  • Cilou6

    Thank you for this tutorial. Great as usual.

    So now : French seams and piping? Please?

    I don’t think it is even possible, but I’m ready to be proven wrong ; p

    Reply
  • joellestlaurent

    this is a bit too much for me to totally grasp before my first cup of coffee, but it seems totally genius! you make everything look so easy… thanks!

    Reply
  • Ashley

    Hi Jen! Love your patterns and tutorials! I’m on my second Alder, this time doing View B in a dotted Chambray and I’m in LOVE. I’m hoping you can help me with the second seam of the french seam on a right angle. I can’t seem to figure out how to sew it in a way that doesn’t create a pucker. Is there a special way to handle the pivot point? I tried doing a few tests on scraps and my little brain can’t figure it out!! Any additional info will surely help! Thanks very much!! 🙂

    Reply
  • Melala

    Thank you for the tutorial. It really helped me! One tiny suggestion – in future tutorials it might help to clarify things if you used a fabric with a clear right side and wrong side.

    Reply

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