Throughout the instructions on this web site we have used a variety of seams. Seams are a way of joining fabric together and the more commonly used are illustrated below.

colour code image

Flat seam instructions imageFlat Seam

A simple way of joining 2 pieces of fabric together with a single row of stitches.

  1. Place the fabric pieces, right sides together, matching the raw edges.
  2. Pin, tack, and stitch, 0.5" (12 mm) in from the raw edges.
  3. Work a few stitches in reverse at each end to secure.
  4. Press the seam allowance open.

French Seam

A self neatening seam that is usually used to join sheer fabrics where no stitches show on the right side.

  1. With wrong sides together, edges matching, tack and stitch the fabric, taking a 0.25" (6 mm) seam allowance.
  2. Trim the seam allowance to half its size.
  3. Refold the fabric with right sides together, to enclose the raw edges.
  4. Pin and stitch a second seam just big enough to cover the raw edges.
French seam instruction image, steps 1-2 French seam instruction image, steps 3-4


Gathering is used to add frills. A frill before it is gathered needs to be at least 1.5 times it's finished length, but making it twice as long gives a much better effect.

When gathering on a sewing machine, use a heavy-duty thread on the bobbin for extra strength and loosen the upper tension slightly.

  1. Gathering instructions image, step 1Work 2 rows of stitches, 0.25" (6 mm) either side of the seam line and knot the threads at one end.
  2. Gently pull the bobbin threads from one end feeding the fabric evenly down the gathers.
  3. Wind the threads in a figure of eight round a pin at the side when the required length is achieved.
  4. Instead of machine stitches a small running stitch can be used especially when a long length is to be gathered. It may take longer but there is less chance of the thread breaking.
Gathering instructions image, step 2-3 Gathering instructions image, step 4

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