"Arrowhead Stitch"

French Seams

This is a seam that has no unfinished fabric edge exposed, so it endures washings and wearings very well.

You need to remove the seam line fabric threads from the sides of the even weave fabric, these are the yellow lines in the graph below.

Each graph line represents a fabric thread.

Use the graph between the yellow lines for the thread counts to remove these fabric threads on both side edges of your fabric and across the bottom of the fabric. The yellow line furthest right is the seam line that has the wrong sides together, the left yellow line is the second, enclosing seam line. This second enclosing seam line encases the first seam line and the fabric selvedge or seam allowances.

To make a French Seam turn the fabric with the wrong sides of the fabric together and make a seam on the right side of the project. This is not logical, I know! Why would you put a seam on the right side of a project? Well, when you turn the project inside out and make the second enclosing seam it will encase the first seam you made.

Do a Double Running stitch about three eighths of an inch from the fabric edge, or on the yellow line furthest right on the chart above, I pulled a thread on each seam line as mentioned above. Then I lined up the two pieces of cloth along this space and pinned them together before doing the Double Running stitch in the line of the fabric where I had removed the threads. Use safety pins to pin if you are concerned about poking yourself. And it really is best to baste all these seams first, nothing holds better or is less obtrusive than basting.

Now turn the bag wrong side out and make another seam with a Double Running stitch about one quarter of an inch in from the first seam. Again use the line in the fabric where you removed a fabric thread. This second seam will enclose the first seam and produce a closed seam that will not unravel or fray. You will have to use away knots to start all these seams and then bury the tails carefully inside this seam so they do not show at the top of the bag. Be sure to cut away the knots.  

The red lines on the chart above are for the bottom of the bag.  The same instructions apply for them. Copyright 2004, Linda Fontenot, www. AmericanFolkArts.com