How to Sew a French Seam

Item # X-HT-200698

Add eye-catching top stitches to your boat and auto upholstery with a French seam. Taking the time to sew a French seam not only adds visual interest to your upholstery but it also strengthens the seam. We’ll show you how to get this look for yourself in a quick video tutorial.

Example of an upholstery French seam.

The French seam demonstrated in our video is also known as a “double top stitch” and is commonly found in applications using leather, faux leather or vinyl. When sewing lighter materials for apparel and some home goods applications, the term “French seam” refers to a slightly different technique.

When sewing a French seam for your upholstery, we recommend adding a backing material behind the first seam. This way, if the seam is stretched when the seat is in use, the backing fabric blocks the lining under the fabric from being seen, while also adding additional strength. To get the best appearance on your top stitch, we also recommend using a heavier weight thread so it will have a thicker appearance. You can also sew with a contrasting thread color so the stitching will pop against your fabric.

These French seams are featured in longer videos on making Powerboat Cushions from our 2016 Project Powerboat Series — be sure to check them out!