How to Sew a Princess Seam

The princess seam is a tailored delight in jackets, vests, blouses, overcoats, and dresses. It adds feminine shape to a garment without being revealing or clingy. While it comes and goes from style, it is absolutely timeless in its classic look.

When sewing at home, there are a few challenges with constructing the princess seam. The stiffer the fabric and the deeper the curve the more the challenge. You might try a practice run on a slightly stretchy material to get the hang of it.

In order to get the curve, one piece of fabric is “shorter” than the other in the curve area. That’s where the stretch comes in. Also the sewing challenge. Just remember that any curve can be broken down into very small straight lines. That’s your trick to sewing any curve, the princes seam is not an exception.

Your pattern will come with instructions and illustrations. Here are some tips with the instructions:

  • Cut out your pattern pieces according to instructions.
  • Be sure to mark your pattern by clipping at notches or using Tailor’s chalk.
  • Now you will need to “Stay Stitch” the area of the princess seam. Tip: Don’t skip this part. It keeps the fabric from stretching out the seam during sewing. Machine stitch 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) from raw edge of fabric between notches.
  • Clip to stitching.You’ll see why. Tip: By clipping, we mean hold the scissors with the point towards the stitching and clip from the edge to the stitch, repeat along the curve
  • Match notches of the two pieces (front and side front for example).
  • Okay, now between the notches you have to make the two sides “match”. This is why one side is clipped. Gently pull the clipped side to match the unclipped side.
  • Pin the two sides together. See how one side is sort of “fuller” than the other? This gives the shape to the garment.
  • Now sew at 5/8 inch (1.5 cm) between the notches. Tip: Sew slowly if you need to.
  • Don’t forget to back stitch.
  • Remove pins.
  • Clip curve of seam.
  • Trim the seam down as necessary to press open.
  • Now press open the seam.


A video is worth a thousand pictures, and you can check out a video tutorial online about how to make a princess seam.

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