WHAT IS IT?
Princess seams are vertical seams used for shaping a garment. Princess seams start at either the shoulder or the armhole and extend across the bustline to the waistline. Tapering in at the narrow parts and out at the wider parts, the seam follows the curves of the body. If the garment extends below the waist, the princess seam can go all the way to the hemline. Princess seams are used instead of darts (page link), as they’re easier to fit and adjust than darted garments. They’re simple to sew and very flattering. Princess seams are used on both the front and back of garments.
Princess seam on Pendrell Blouse
Princess seam on wool coat
WHEN DO YOU USE IT?
Princess seams are very flattering, as they curve to fit the body and create vertical lines. Choose princess-line styles for easier fitting. Princess seams are a good choice for heavier fabrics like coating, as there is no dart point to try to press flat. It’s easy to make little adjustments to princess seams as you sew. You can change a pattern with darts into princess seams for a better fit.
Tips + Notes
- When altering or fitting princess styles, be sure to make adjustments to all of the panels.
- If you change a dart (page link) to a princess seam, make a muslin test garment (page link) to check the fit before cutting your fabric.
HOW TO SEW PRINCESS SEAMS
Both types of princess seams are sewn the same way, whether they start at the shoulder or the armhole. Your pattern will usually have notches or markings along the princess seam to help line up the curves. Make sure these markings are transferred to your fabric pieces, then staystitch (page link) both sides of the princess seam just inside the seam line.
Compare the two sides of the princess seam between the markings. Clip (page link) the seam allowance of the side with the inner curve, on the center panel, just between the markings that indicate the curviest part of the seam. This will allow the seam line to spread and to match the side with the outer curve.
With the right sides together, pin the fabric pieces together, matching notches and markings. Check the curviest section and spread the clipped part to match the curve. Make more snips, if needed, to ensure the raw edges meet on both sides of the seam.
Sew the seam and press it open. Notch the seam allowance of the side panel so the seam allowance can lie flat without ripples. Snip the notches between the clips, so they are not in line with each other.
HOW TO CHANGE DARTS INTO PRINCESS SEAMS
Take the pattern piece and draw a line from the dart point (page link) toward the shoulder or armhole. For armhole princess seams, curve your line toward the armhole line, about one-third of the way up. For shoulder princess seams, extend the dart point up toward the middle of the shoulder seam. In this example, I’m going to extend it to the top of the bodice.
Cut out the dart along both sides of the dart and through to the extended line. My bodice piece is now two separate pieces. If there is a side bust dart, cut along one side of the dart line and fold the dart closed.
Round out any points or corners so the curve is smooth. Add a seam allowance to both sides of the new princess seam. Mark notches at the top and bottom of the curve to make the seam easier to match up and sew.
Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine