Sewing a princess seam together or 5/8″ seams suck

There are a number of excellent tutorials out there on sewing together princess seams. However, I’ve noticed they’re aimed at people who are either working with unforgiving fabric or people who just aren’t that comfortable with their sewing machines. So here’s the trick for those experienced seamstresses who are working with nice pliant wovens.

  1. Walk your seams. Especially if you bought from the Big Four. Make sure that the stitching lines of the two pieces are the same length, the seam allowances will NOT be the same length, but the stitching lines MUST be.
  2. Match your pattern up at the first notch then work back to the start of the seam. If necessary trim the seam allowance so that the start of your seam is a neatly matched corner. That way you can start your seam with the seam allowances matching.
  3. Now you’re ready to sew. Well, almost, do yourself a favor and trim your allowances to 3/8″ or 1/4″ if they aren’t already.*
  4. Line up the start of your seam. Drop your presser foot on the seam and lower the needle. Control your the lower layer of fabric with one hand and the upper layer with the other hand.
  5. As you come to curves, put a bit of tension on the fabric as needed to match the seam allowances only on the part of the seam that is just about to go under the presser foot. The fabric will stretch a bit for this to happen. It will not be stretching at the stitching line, so there will not be puckers.
  6. Grade your curves (thank you Coletterie), press.

*The regular straight stitching position gives a 1/4″ seam on a standard presser foot. Then there’s an offset needle position for straight stitching that creates a 3/8″ seam. Obviously, this also creates a 1/8″ seam with the other edge of your presser foot. It is amazing how much better life is when you can just use the edge of the presser foot to line things up.




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