Friday, 8 February 2013

Stay Stitching


“Stay stitching” is a simple row of stitches to help hold the shape of a piece of fabric. Stay stitching is useful on diagonal cutting lines or curved areas such as necklines, as cutting on the bias makes them susceptible to stretching. It’s also a good idea to stay stitch over folds of fabric, such as tucks, to help hold them in place.

If you're making the Mathilde Blouse, stay stitch the neckline on the yoke and back bodice pieces.

Here's how:


Do your stay stitching on each piece of fabric after cutting them out but before attaching the pieces to each other. Stitch a line parallel to the cutting line, within the seam allowance (about 1cm / 3/8” from the edge if you’re using 1.5cm / 5/8” seam allowance) so you won’t see it from the outside of the garment.


It’s a good idea to sew in the same direction on either side of the centre to keep things symmetrical. So on a full neckline, for example, sew from one shoulder to the middle, then from the other shoulder to the middle.

And that's it!

Like this? See also Sewing Construction Basics

15 comments:

  1. I used to hate this kind of stuff when i was sewing as a kid - but I just LOVE it now. I'm getting more and more OCD as i get old ;)

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    1. I know what you mean - boring but useful!

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  2. I've just recently discovered your blog and its amazing! Working on making 4 outfits for a university fashion show and this blog is definitely a goldmine for a sewing novice like myself. Look forward to reading your future posts!

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  3. stay stitching really does help! it's one of those steps you might like to skip, but doing it is worth it so the edges don't stretch out as you're starting to work! also when i started sewing i didn't realize you needed to stay stitch INSIDE the seam allowance (less than 5/8" from the edge). I stay stitched exactly at 5/8", but then when i went back and sewed the seam on top of it, it wasn't perfect and i had to rip out the stay stitching that you could see peaking out of the seam at some spots. it makes so much sense now. but i didn't understand that bit when i started.

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  4. Is it useful for all necklines or just for wide one?

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    1. Useful for all, but particularly on wider ones and fabric that's more likely to stretch.

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    2. Thanks!! One time I changed the facing on one dress and found out that neckline became pretty wider!! So now I will try to make this stay stitch!

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  5. For myself, for necklines that are curved, straight, narrow , wide, scalloped, whatever, I always stay stitch as there's always somewhere along those lines that will be on the bias.

    -Woodencanoe

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  6. ''sew to the middle on each side''. great tip, that. just finished adding a few pockets to a new winter coat, and wasn't focused as i closed one of the pockets. sewing from one corner down, across the bottom, and up to the *D'oh* ! you guessed it : misaligned corner

    amazing how many websites and books share the same ''common knowledge'' but one in a hundred (or fewer) add a tip or technique that i can't imagine NOT using the majority of the time. but being self-taught i also only consult patterns as my ''Plan B'' : what i'll do if nothing more logical or easier comes along

    loved your tutorials 'on the whole' (as you Brits say) and much appreciate your helping us beginners

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  7. What stich length is used for for the stay stich

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  8. Thank you so much for this! I am going to sew a dress and I am supposed to stay stitch in the first step. I wasn't sure what stay stitching is, I'm so glad to have found this! Do you sew it in the regular length that you sew the garment, or do you use the longest length?

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    1. You're welcome! Yes, just sew at the regular stitch length, 2 - 2.5mm.

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