Sewing & Pattern making Terms

Princess seam

Princess seams are a popular and versatile design element used in garment construction. These vertical seam lines, commonly found on bodices, dresses, jackets and blouses, play a significant role in creating a flattering and shapely silhouette. Seamstresses and pattern makers frequently use princess seams as an alternative to traditional darts, as they provide a smoother and more contoured fit. In this article, we will explore the significance of princess seams, their applications, and how to incorporate this technique to achieve elegant and well-fitted garments.

What are Princess Seams?

Princess seams are vertical seam lines that run from the shoulder or armhole down to the hem of a garment. These seams curve over the bust, waist, and hip areas, gracefully defining and accentuating the body’s natural curves. Unlike darts, which are often used to shape and contour a garment, princess seams offer a continuous and seamless look, creating a smooth and elegant appearance.

The Role of Princess Seams

Princess seams are essential for achieving a flattering and tailored fit in a variety of garments. Let’s explore the significance and applications of this design feature:

  • Flattering Silhouette: Princess seams provide a more flattering and contoured silhouette compared to garments constructed with traditional darts. They shape and mold the fabric to the body’s curves, enhancing the overall fit and appearance of the garment.
  • Versatile Design: Princess seams can be incorporated into various garments, including dresses, blouses, jackets, and bodices. Their ability to follow the body’s curves makes them suitable for both fitted and flowing styles.
  • Design Flexibility: Princess seams offer design flexibility, as they can be manipulated to create different visual effects. For example, they can be lengthened or curved to create elongating or hourglass-like shapes.

How to Incorporate Princess Seams

Follow these steps to effectively use princess seams in your garment construction:

  • Pattern Preparation: Choose a pattern that includes princess seams or modify an existing pattern to incorporate them. Carefully trace or cut the pattern pieces to ensure accurate seam placement.
  • Marking and Sewing: Mark the seam lines precisely on the fabric using tailor’s chalk or marking pens. When sewing, align the fabric pieces along the marked seam lines, ensuring that the seams smoothly curve over the body’s natural curves.
  • Pressing and Finishing: After sewing the princess seams, press them open or towards the sides, depending on the fabric and design. Take care to avoid pressing pleats or puckering along the seams.

Tips for Perfecting Princess Seams

Consider the following tips to achieve flawless princess seams:

  • Precise Cutting: Cut the fabric pieces carefully and accurately along the marked seam lines to ensure a smooth and contoured fit.
  • Tension and Stitch Length: Pay attention to stitch tension and length when sewing princess seams. Maintain consistency to create even and secure seams.
  • Muslin Fitting: If you are using princess seams in a fitted garment, consider making a muslin or test version first to check the fit and make any necessary adjustments.


Princess seams are an invaluable technique that adds elegance and refinement to garments. Seamstresses and pattern makers appreciate their ability to create a shapely and flattering silhouette while providing design versatility. By skillfully incorporating princess seams into your garment construction, you can achieve well-fitted and visually appealing creations that highlight the body’s natural curves. Embrace this technique, pay attention to precision and detail, and enjoy the satisfaction of sewing garments with beautiful and flattering princess seams.

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Melissa Villegas
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