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How do you finish a shoulder seam on a chiffon/ chiffon lined dress?

Sophia115 | Posted in Techniques on

Hi All! 

I have two questions. 

1. First, I am sewing a chiffon dressed that is lined with chiffon. The neckline and armholes will be  finished with French seams.  Any tips for how to sew the shoulders? As of now, I am practicing using this method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zd2qFFmvDQ&list=WL&index=20. I am not loving the results. 

I’ve attached a picture to show what I am working with. This is just a practice run. 

How would you finish this shoulder? And is there any way I can sew the shoulders as French seams as well?

2. Second, would you interface? Where and with what? 

Any and all help is much appreciated. Many thanks!


  1. deeweaver | | #1

    If you google "how to insert a sleeve with a French seam" you'll find a few videos. I haven't done it myself yet, but that's the method I would use. Alternatively you could sew the seam as normal and then bind it, but that would make it more bulky.

    1. Sophia115 | | #2

      Thank you!

    2. ClaireTT | | #3


  2. raquelcantrell | | #4

    Google "how to insert a sleeve with a French seam" to get a few videos. Although I haven't tried it myself yet, that's the approach I'd take. The seam might also be bound instead of sewn, although it would make the item bulkier. https://www.ytvancedpro.com/vanced-music-apk/

    1. deeweaver | | #5

      There's an echo in here! :))

  3. user-7816864 | | #6

    If you want to interface (without seeing the dress design/pattern, I can't tell where you might want to interface), use sheer silk organza either in your skin tone, or white - whatever looks best. It will add the stability you need but it won't show. If you need to stabilize a curved seam, you can cut bias strips of the organza to sew in between the lining and the fabric - this might be good for the neckline and the armholes to keep them from stretching out.

  4. User avater
    user-5178140 | | #7

    I would definitely do a French seam on the shoulder. You need to stabilise it first so it doesn't stretch and I use a soluble fabric stabiliser for that (it looks like interfacing but is actually an embroidery stabiliser.)
    I cut a strip around 2" wide and 2" longer than needed, mark the shape of the shoulder area, pin the right side face down to the stabiliser - pin very close together at r angles to the fabric edge. Then pin r side of other piece on top so you have it layered as follows - front shoulder, back shoulder then stabiliser and the pieces are wrong sides together. If it's really fine silk chiffon you could tack(baste) the layers together (using silk thread so you don't mark the chiffon!)
    Then stitch your 1st part of the French seam (small seam allowance as you like - I use 7mm as I have a foot and setting on my Janome that makes this really easy) then trim off the stabiliser at the seam line but leaving the small piece on the edge. Place your work on a clean towel and using a wet cotton bud or a flat paintbrush you need to wet the remaining stabiliser to dissolve it but try not to fray the seam while you do this. You don't have to get it all out as it will act as a fray stopper and make the next stage easier.
    Leave the seam to dry - blotting it helps dry it enough to work with.
    Press the seam one way, flip over and press flat then you can stitch it at 8mm which should enclose the previous seam by a whisker. You can tack(baste)it before you stitch if not too confident about just stitching.
    In the UK this stabiliser is call Fabric Solvy but does go under a whole bunch of different names. It is definitely my best friend for very fine fabrics but you have to be careful with silks not to over wet it as you can stain the fabric - you only want the water inside the seam allowance.
    I know it all sounds a bit of a hassle but it is definitely worth the extra time. Good luck!

    1. susansj | | #8

      I hadn’t thought of using Solvy as a stabilizer for garments — great idea. A further suggestion would be to actually wash a measured sample of your silk chiffons just to see what happens. I usually cut 2 — 4 inch squares and toss them in the delicate load in the washer. I air dry one and toss the other in the dryer with the rest of the load. Silk can be a lot more washable than you expect and this would mean that removing the Solvy won’t be difficult. In any case, carefully remove all the excess Solvy that you can before you apply any water. Sometimes the stitches will act as perforations or you can trim carefully with appliqué scissors.

  5. Donaldfoster121 | | #9

    search in browser "how to add a sleeve with a French seam" to get few ideas. Although I also tried it, that's the approach I'd take. The seam might also be bound instead of sew, it would make the item more bulkier. https://www.loklokofficial.com/

  6. susansj | | #10

    I think the choice between a French seam and a binding comes down to how much ease is in the sleeve cap. A shirt sleeve can be easily sewn as a French seam but a sleeve which includes gathers is probably better bound. I would make some samples to test the method. A mock French seam is yet another option — sew the seam normally right sides together. Then trim one seam allowance, wrap it with the other seam allowance and hand stitch it along the seam line.. A sample is again in order to determine which seam allowance would be the best one to trim.

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