Origin & history of the “French seam”?


Would any of you know of any literature that documents the origin & history of a classic  invisible seam calledFrench seam?

NB: interestingly, this seam type is also referred to as “English seam”… 

Fred Goudswaard
librarian AMFI – Amsterdam Fashion Institute

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6 thoughts on “Origin & history of the “French seam”?

  1. Sherri,

    This may just be a start…

    From the book Clothing For Women: Selection, Design, Contruction by Laura I. Baldt.
    Whipping: Use of plain hemming or overcasting stitch in joining lace to a rolled or finished edge, or as a means of gathering a rolled edge.
    To work: Hold strip for ruffle with the wrong side toward the worker, turn edge and roll between thumb and first finger of left hand, rolling only about an inch or two at a time. Stitches pass underroll, not through. Use short threads. Ruffles which are whipped are afterward overhanded to the garment. Each stitch should take up one fold or gather made in the whipping (Fig. 116).

    The terms Whipping, Whip Stitch, Oversewing, and Overcast are used interchangeable in historical reference sources.

    Websites:
    http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/stitches.htm

    http://nvg.org.au/documents/other/stitches.pdf
    VIKING AND SAXON STITCHES: OVERSEWING, ALSO KNOWN AS OVERCAST STITCH OR WHIP STITCH

    http://someclothingofthemiddleages.wikidot.com/stitches

    Book sources:
    Medieval Clothing and Textiles 8 by Robin Netherton and Gale R. Owen-Crocker
    Textiles, Cordage and Raw Fibre from 16-22 Coppergate (Archaeology of York) by Penelope Walton

    Burda Vandeborne, Librarian II, Art Department, Los Angeles Public Library

  2. I’m adding this to an earlier response.
    Re: French seams in the Viking age.
    Krupp, Christina, and Priest-Dorman, Carolyn. 1992. “Women’s Garb in Northern Europe, 450-100 C.E.: Frisians, Angles, Franks, Balts, Vikings, and Finns.” Compleat Anachronist 59 (January 1992). Milpitas, California: The Society for Creative Anachronism.
    Great bibliography list included at this website.
    http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/viktunic.html

    Burda Vandeborne, Librarian II, Art Department, Los Angeles Public Library

  3. Fred Goudswaard,

    You may want to start with the following websites; Archaeological Sewing by Heather Rose Jones shows a comprehensive bibliography of literature sources.
    http://nvg.org.au/documents/other/stitches.pdf
    Sewing Stitches Used in Medieval Clothing Compilied by Jennifer L. Carlson
    http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~Marc-Carlson/cloth/stitches.htm
    historical needlework resources
    http://www.medieval.webcon.net.au/technique_stitches.html
    Archaeological Sewing by Heather Rose Jones
    http://heatherrosejones.com/archaeologicalsewing/index.html

    Burda Vandeborne
    Librarian II
    Art Department, Los Angeles Public Library

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