Basic Directional Stitching to Sew Stay Stitching and Seams

  • 01 of 03

    Directional Stitching the Bodice Area

    Directional Stitching for the Bodice Areas
    Directional Stitching for the Bodice Areas. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Once you lay out a pattern and cut out the pieces, you will start production of the item. Although it seems like you have already handled the fabric and it's all set to sew, there is another important step that may or may not be included in the pattern directions. Knowing how to stay stitch and the directional stitching methods for that stay stitching will assist you in putting the pieces together in the production process.

    Always follow the pattern instructions but it is plausible to supplement the pattern instructions with things like stay stitching so that the pieces will fit together later.

    Stay stitching is machine sewing, through a single layer of fabric, purely to stabilize the fabric. The same stitching width and length that you will be using to construct the garment can be used for stay stitching.

    Stay stitching seems like you are accomplishing nothing while you are doing this step but in reality, you are preventing all kinds of problems in the later steps of putting the pieces together. Fabric can easily become distorted or misshapen just from stitching and handling.  Stay stitching is done to prevent this distortion.
    Stay stitching is done in certain steps and sewn in certain directions to maintain the original shape of the cut-out fabric. Directional stitching doesn't distort the fabric as you stay stitch. Because many edges are a bias cut, which can stretch, they can become distorted. Stay stitching will prevent the distortion that can happen just by handling the pieces as you move them or do various sewing processes such as the darts.

    Whatever the shape of the neckline, sewing is done from the upper edge towards the center on each side, as shown in the image. Marking the center will help you know when to stop sewing and return to the top edge. Overlapping one or two stitches is ample to anchor your stitching meet your stitching.

    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Directional Stitching for Facings

    Directional Stitching for Facings
    Directional Stitching for Facings. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    All facings have the same basic shape. Taking the time to do stay stitching the facings will help them fit together with the rest of the garment. The arrows on the photo show what directions to sew the stay stitching to maintain the original shape of the cut-out fabric.

    As an example of why you should not skip this step, if the neckline of the main pieces are stay stitched and the facing edges are stay stitched, they are going to fit together instead of one of the pieces being distorted so that they don't line up later when you are putting them together. When the pieces fit together they will end up laying smoothly and have a better-finished appearance.

    Many people like to believe that interfacing the facing pieces is enough to stabilize the fabric. In reality, the process of applying the interfacing through fusing can distort the fabric. Stay stitching should be the very first thing you do in the sewing production process.

    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    Directional Stitching for Skirt Areas

    Directional Stitching Skirt Areas
    Directional Stitching Skirt Areas. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Not all skirts or dress patterns will tell you to stay stitch. The more loosely woven your fabric is, the more likely the threads of the fabric will move and distort the originally cut out fabric. It only takes a few minutes and can save you frustration latter if you stay stitch the single pieces so that they will fit together easily later in the construction process.Keep the original shape of a skirt and have the pieces fit together during construction by stay stitching the edges in the direction of the red arrows.