HOW TO SEW FRENCH SEAMS

Completed french seam

Completed french seam

Recently I was asked for a tutorial for how to sew french seams on the Somerset Patchwork cushion cover, so I have used those measurements for this project.  French seams are a great way to enclose the raw edges of the seams so that the seams are really neat and there is no chance of fraying.

Cutting requirements

I have used a 13.3/4″ square as the front of the cushion to match in with the somerset patchwork.  For the back of the cushion, cut two rectangles 13.3/4″ by 10″.

Sewing the french seam

Turn under a double hem on the backing pieces

Turn under a double hem on the backing pieces

Turn under a double hem on one long edge of each rectangle of backing fabric to enclose the raw edges.  Sew in place.

 

 

 

Place backing fabric on the cushion front

Place backing fabric on the cushion front

The two rectangles overlap

The two rectangles overlap

Place the two backing rectangles on the cushion front with wrong sides together.  This feels odd because normally you always place right sides together, but it is how you begin sewing the french seam.  The two backing  rectangles will overlap by several inches, creating the envelope opening for adding a cushion pad.  Pin.

 

 

Sew all round the edge

Sew all round the edge

Trim the seam allowance

Trim the seam allowance

Using a 1/4″ seam, sew all round the edge of the square.  Trim the seam allowance close to the stitching but do be careful not to snip the stitching itself.

 

 

 

Finger press the seam allowance open

Finger press the seam allowance open

Turn the cushion cover wrong side out

Turn the cushion cover wrong side out

This isn’t strictly necessary, but I always try and finger press the seam allowance open.  There’s not much to work with, but it just gives you a sharper finish when you turn the project inside out.

The overlap of the backing pieces provides a gap through which you can turn the cushion cover wrong side out.  Push the corners out gently and press the cushion cover so that the seam is exactly at the edge.

 

Sew all round the edge

Sew all round the edge

Sew all round the edge using a 1/4″ seam.  You can now see that you have a lovely neat seam with no raw edges showing – they are tucked inside the french seam that you have sewn.  Not only is it a neat finish for a seam, but there is no chance of fraying as the raw edges are completely enclosed within the seam.

 

 

 

Here’s the video:

Bargello quilt pattern

Bargello quilt pattern

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Comments

  1. Mary G. says:

    Great tutorial – thank you.

    Mary

  2. This was a great learning experience for me. I am new to sewing and quilting so I learned a new trick today that will be very useful!

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