What are "Empire Seams" - Definition & Explanation

Empire Seams

Empire Seams are a specific type of seam used in garment construction. They are named after the Empire style of clothing, which was popular during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Empire Seams are characterized by their placement just below the bustline, creating a high-waisted appearance in the garment.

These seams are typically used in dresses, blouses, and tops to accentuate the bust and create a flattering silhouette. The Empire Seams create a fitted bodice above the bustline and allow the fabric to flow or gather below, adding volume and creating an elegant, empire-waisted look.

Types of Empire Seams

Empire Seams can be categorized into two main types:

  1. Princess Empire Seams: Princess Empire Seams extend from the center front of the garment, usually from the neckline, to the side seam or slightly beyond. These seams create a fitted and elongated look.
  2. Bodice Empire Seams: Bodice Empire Seams extend from the side seams or under the arms, curving up towards the center front of the garment. These seams provide a more relaxed and draped appearance.

Handling Tips

When working with garments featuring Empire Seams, it is important to consider the following tips:

  1. Pattern Placement: Pay attention to the pattern placement on the fabric, ensuring that the design aligns properly across the Empire Seams to maintain visual continuity.
  2. Seam Reinforcement: Reinforce the Empire Seams with appropriate techniques such as understitching or topstitching to prevent the seams from stretching or becoming distorted.
  3. Fabric Choice: Choose fabrics with the appropriate drape and weight to enhance the flow and silhouette of the Empire Seams. Light to medium-weight fabrics with good draping qualities are often preferred.
  4. Finishing Techniques: Utilize suitable finishing techniques such as French seams or serging to ensure neat and durable edges on the inside of the garment.

Top International Users and Manufacturers

Several international brands incorporate Empire Seams into their garments, offering stylish and flattering designs. Here are some notable users and manufacturers:

  1. Chanel: Chanel, a luxury fashion house, often incorporates Empire Seams in their elegant dresses and blouses, showcasing the brand's iconic style and sophistication.
  2. Dior: Dior, known for its timeless and feminine designs, incorporates Empire Seams in their collections, adding a touch of elegance to their dresses and tops.
  3. Oscar de la Renta: Oscar de la Renta utilizes Empire Seams in their high-end designs, emphasizing the brand's dedication to luxurious and flattering silhouettes.
  4. Valentino: Valentino, renowned for its romantic and ethereal creations, incorporates Empire Seams in their dresses, blouses, and eveningwear, creating a sense of grace and sophistication.
  5. Kate Spade: Kate Spade incorporates Empire Seams in their feminine and playful designs, offering a contemporary twist to the classic silhouette.


Empire Seams in textile refer to a specific type of seam used in garment construction, creating a high-waisted appearance just below the bustline. They are popular for their flattering and elegant silhouette, accentuating the bust and adding volume to the lower part of the garment. With variations like Princess Empire Seams and Bodice Empire Seams, they offer different styles and draping options. Handling Empire Seams requires careful pattern placement, appropriate seam reinforcement, and suitable fabric choices to ensure a neat and well-finished result. International fashion brands such as Chanel, Dior, and Valentino incorporate Empire Seams in their designs, showcasing the versatility and timeless appeal of this construction technique.

Empire Seams
A seam that is sewn directly below the bustline.

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