When Britex offered me some midnight navy spotted silk to sew with, I thought I might make a kimono robe or another lounge item. But when the silk showed up, it was just too gorgeous to only wear at home, so I decided to sew the Clover Dress from Paper Cut Patterns, and it was a perfect match.
When sewing with silk, especially one that is semi-transparent, having gorgeous seams is key since there’s a good chance that they will be visible through the garment. This is when using a French Seam is a perfect choice, and if you don’t know how to sew one, here’s a handy tutorial for you!
Note: the tutorial is sewn using a scrap piece of the silk, not on the garment itself.
Step 1: After you have cut all your pieces according to the pattern instructions, the key is sewing them in a reverse order from how they instruct you to sew a regular seam. So instead of right sides together, we will be putting wrong sides together. Pin in place.
Step 2: Sew the seam at 3/8” seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8”.
Step 3: Press the seam allowance to one side.
Step 4: Fold the fabric so right sides are together and the seam sewn in step 1 is right at the top of the fold. Press the seam.
Step 5: Pin the fabric together and stitch at 1/4” seam allowance. The 1/4” and 3/8” will equal a 5/8” seam allowance. Should your project have a different sized seam allowance, these two amounts added up will need to match the total seam allowance and adjust accordingly.
Step 6: Press the seam flat. Note to use the iron settings in accordance to the type of fabric you are sewing with.
Step 7: You will now have a beautiful interior seam where all the raw edges are encased, and the right side will look just as it should, like a regular seam.
When the fabric is held up to a window, you can really see how lovely this kind of seam looks on a sheer fabric.
If you’re sewing up the Clover Dress, this kind of seam is ideal, as it works great on the raglan sleeves, side seams, and center front and back seams as well. Give it a try on your next project!
Christine Haynes is a Los Angeles-based sewing author, teacher, and pattern designer with her own line of sewing patterns–Christine Haynes Patterns–which are perfect for the vintage-loving modern seamstress.
Christine grew up in Saugatuck, MI, a small beach community on the southwestern coast of Lake Michigan, where the arts were part of her daily life. Christine attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the department of Film, Video, and New Media.
Her mother taught her to sew around the age of 10, and it grew as a personal hobby, until it eclipsed other mediums and became her main artistic outlet. After selling ready-to-wear garments for many years, Christine turned her focus to teaching others to experience the joy of making clothing for themselves through her patterns, books, and workshops.
"Sewing empowers you to be in total control of all the details of your clothing–fit, fabric, style–and frees you from having to rely on trends and fast fashion for a more thoughtful and conscious approach to your wardrobe." - Christine Haynes
She has written four books, How to Speak Fluent Sewing (2015, C&T), Skirts & Dresses for First Time Sewers (2015, Barron’s), The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction (2014, CPI), and Chic & Simple Sewing (2009, Potter Craft), and has contributed to other books, such as One Yard Wonders (2009, Storey).
Christine’s articles have been published in Sewstylish, Sew News, Craftstylish, and Craft Zine magazines. She teaches sewing classes both in person and online, and has presented lectures and workshops at the American Sewing Guild Conference, Camp Stitchalot, Camp Workroom Social, the 2012–2016 Craftcation Conferences, and the 2016 QuiltCon West Conference.
Christine was a featured guest on seasons 2 and 8 of PBS’s Sew It All TV show, and her work has been featured in Threads magazine, Mollie Makes, the New York Times, the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, Martha Stewart’s radio network, People.com, LA Weekly, Daily Candy, and NBC’s Today Show, among others.