technique-a-week: french seams

when you’re beginning a new project, do you sometimes create little test swatches of different methods or techniques, like pockets, seams, trims or buttonholes? just to be sure you understand the process before committing to cutting and sewing (and potentially ruining) a project, or to be sure that the chosen method will work with your fabric ? well i do. and i sort of love my growing pile of weird halflings. i love their raggedy edges and specific-ness, and the information they contain. some have just been tests to see if an idea i have floating around in my head might work, and they haven’t become anything yet. others are very specific to a project or material.

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i’ve been fantasizing about spending a little bit of time each week investigating one technique. (my fantasies are hot, right?) technique might not be the right word, but i think that word gives me the flexibility i’m looking for. and it rhymes with week!

i’d love to make all the different types of buttonholes, just for the experience of making buttonholes. or practice all the different ways to attach a collar to a shirt (is there more than one?). i was inspired a while back by this – LiEr created different types of pockets, and utilized them to make a quilt. while i don’t have any desire to make a quilt, i do very much looooove the idea of making every type of pocket, and generally getting super into some nitty-gritty technical stuff. and if i can manage to keep track of the process, catalog it and corral it in some useful way….whoa. that sounds super fun. and super nerdy.

so i’d thought i’d share my adventures in sewing/textile investigations here and on instagram, as my technique-a-week!

i started super easy with a french seam. can you believe i’d never sewn one before? lately i’m all about the serger; just whirrrrr and you’re done! well, i’m officially hooked.

150322_FRENCH SEAMS_blog_5there’s really not much to say about a french seam. it’s pretty, tidy and simple. ooh la la!

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150322_FRENCH SEAMS_blog_3(i’m pretty psyched that i’ve been photographing strictly in manual for awhile now. yay! i think i’m getting better…? this project will probably be just as much about honing those skills as about learning new techniques.)

150322_FRENCH SEAMS_blog_4just a side note: i don’t expect to create tutorials for any of these techniques; i think that would just be white noise at this point, as there are already so many awesome bloggers teaching great stuff out there. i plan for these posts to be image-heavy and text-light. i’m just hoping to provide inspiration (if i can do [insert thing here], so can you!), pretty pictures (i hope), and a way for me to personally chronicle my growth and lessons learned. i plan to happily share where i learned how to do what i did, and am psyched to not only find great blogs and books in the process, but to potentially help guide others to great resources too!

i used instructions from the vogue sewing book, which i am absolutely in love with. mine was a gift, but i just found a copy on etsy for $10! seriously, buy this book!


also, have you seen…

  • grainline studio has a tute for frenching sleeves. sexy!
  • sew mama sew has a post from sewing goddess and guru nancy zieman herself!
  • southern matriarch has a tutorial for a french seam with gathers! i’m adding this to my list.

150322_TECHNIQUE INTRO_blog_1i’ve got big plans…


i’ve added a picture of the french seam instructions from the vogue sewing book above!

9 responses to “technique-a-week: french seams

  1. French seams are my favourite. They look so very tidy. I like binding seams too – especially for bulky stuff – but I find myself using french seams in a lot of the baby clothes I’m making for the summer.

  2. I’ve never considered doing a test swatch before I cut out my project. I always do them once the project is well underway. Your way seems smarter, I’ll try that next time.

    • either way is probably a good idea – it’s the testing before sewing that matters, right?! sometimes i use scraps from cutting out the pattern pieces if it won’t affect whether or not i can work with that fabric.

  3. great idea! and the links are very useful (i often refer to lier’s pocket series). can we sew along??

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