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How to Sew French Seams with a Side Seam Split

Hello sewists! Today I’m sharing a French seam tutorial, and how to sew it even when your garment has a split in the seam. Typically, this would be on a top, but it could also be on the bottom of pants or even the hem of a skirt. I’ll be demonstrating using the Anno & Pum’s Kid’s Peasant Top sewing pattern in a textured cotton woven. This fabric is originally from Alyssa May Design Textiles, but it’s been stash-aged for quite a few years.


The ideal pattern for a French seam calls for a lightweight woven fabric, and the seam allowance is at least 1/2”. It can be larger, but not smaller. The pattern I am using has a 1/2” seam allowance.


To start, place your fabric WRONG sides together along the side seam. Sew this seam with a 1/4” seam allowance (or half your SA).



French seam tutorial with a side seam split

Stop your stitching when you get to the extra fabric for the split.

French seam tutorial with a side seam split


At this point, clip into the seam allowance just up until the end of your line of stitching. Then, carefully trim the side seam allowance to 1/8”. Do not skip this step! (I do, sometimes, and always regret it!). 

French seam tutorial with a side seam split


Then take your garment and flip it around so it is now RIGHT sides together. Again, sew the line of stitching along the side seam, at a 1/4” seam allowance (or half your SA). This step encloses the raw seam allowance.

French seam tutorial with a side seam split


Again, clip into your seam allowance up to the end of the line of stitching. If your fabric frays heavily, you can sew a few stitches across the raw edge of the French seam, or dab it with a bit of Fray Check.

French seam tutorial with a side seam split


Using your sewing machine and a zig zag stitch, finish the raw edges of the fabric for the split.


Fold the fabric to the wrong side and press. Because you clipped into the SA it should press flat neatly. Continue following the directions to finish the split.


Your French seam side split is now complete! Pat yourself on the back for a job well done. If you are interested in more hacks, specials, and pattern styles to sew from the Anno and Pum Sewing Patterns, make sure to join their Facebook group