I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how to work French seams on the waistline seam of the Alder Shirtdress. Here’s a little tutorial to show you how to make this happen. This tutorial assumes that you already know how to make French seams so if you need a refresher you can check out our tutorials here and here. As always, if you have any questions just leave me a note in the comments below.
To begin, mark the pivot point on your corner. If you’re using the Alder pattern this is marked for you.
Starting with one side, stitch the first seam of the French seam. This will be at a seam allowance half the width of the pattern’s written allowance. In this instance we have a 1/2″ seam allowance so this first seam is stitched at 1/4″ from the edge of the pieces to the pivot point.
Clip just to, but not through, the corner to the stitching line you just made.
Press the seam allowance open and trim the seam allowances in half down to 1/8″ in this instance.
Fold and press the seam with the seam allowances to the inside. Above is what the piece looks like from both sides.
Stitch at 1/4″ (or more depending on your starting seam allowance) from the raw edge to the pivot point. This is the first French seam of the angle. Clip to, but not through to the stitching of the pivot point.
Align the remaining edges together from the raw edge to the pivot point. Make sure that the seam allowance of this seam you’re about to stitch falls to the opposite side of the garment than the seam you just finished so that when you sew the second seam they end up on the same side.
After you stitch at 1/4″ (or half of your seam allowance) there will be a folded edge outside the seam allowance that prevents you from pressing the seam flat. Clip this as shown above.
Press the seam allowance open and trim the allowance in half (down to 1/8″ in this example).
Fold the seam over with the raw edges to the inside and press. Above are two photos that show what both sides of the fabric look like at this point. Stitch across the seam using the remainder of the seam allowance from the pivot point to the raw edge.
Press your seam allowances and you’re done! A French seamed right angle! Now, I’m not going to lie, on the Alder I always serge the gathered seam (because nothing sucks quite like French seaming a gathered seam) and then French seam the front pieces but you can use this tutorial to do that as well. It works the same way, the serged seam is done first, sewn and serged, and then the straight seams down the front of the skirt are sewn as the second French seam in this tutorial. Hope that helps…any questions let me know below.