The value of taking the time to staystitch is to avoid curved edges, such as necklines, collars, and armholes, stretching out of shape during construction.
And staystitching does this by holding the grain line threads of deep curves, such as the neckline and armholes, in place. In other words, staystitching stabilizes curved edges.
Okay. Now for the rules…
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Rules of Staystitching
Rule #1: You MUST staystitch immediately after cutting your pattern out!
Rule #2: You ALWAYS staystitch your fabric in a single layer.
Rule #3: Regardless of seam allowance width, you ALWAYS stitch ⅛ inch from the stitching line inside the seam allowance (SA).
Rule #4: You don’t need to remove staystitching.
And, of course, there are several ways that you can stabilize your edges…
2 Ways to Staystitch
There are several ways to staystitch curved edges.
And here are just two of the easiest ways to make sure your curved edges know their place:
- Using your sewing machine, set your stitch length to a regular stitch for the fabric you’re sewing and sew your staystitching line; or
- Finish your all edges with a 3-step zigzag BEFORE construction of your garment. Don’t use a regular zigzag for this.
Alright. It’s time to learn how simple it is to staystitch…
Staystitching Is Directional
To avoid funky, ugly, stretchy distortion of necklines and armholes, these are the precise directions in which you need to staystitch curves:
To staystitch a scoop neck front bodice…
Staystitch (sew) from…
- Neck point (NP) to center front (CF) or center back (CB) on scooped necklines and collars
- NP to shoulder point (SP) on shoulder seams
- SP to underarm on armholes
Repeat on the back bodice.
And to staystitch a V-neck front bodice, sew from the point of the V up to the NP on one side; and then repeat on the other side.
To staystitch a skirt, sew from…
- Side seams to CF or CB at waistline; and
- Hipline up to waist at the side seams.
Alright. Now that you know the direction in which to go, let’s learn how to staystitch…
How to Staystitch
- Mark the staystitching line of your curves. In the image above, I marked the the staystitching line in red. I also marked the seam line in blue for the purpose of this tutorial.
- Set your stitch length to regular for the type of fabric you’re sewing.
- Then, position your fabric in a single layer under your presser foot.
- Stitch inside the seam allowances (SA) ⅛ inch from the stitching line. In other words, if you’re using the standard 5/8 inch SA, you would be stitching ½ inch from the raw edge or ⅛ inch from the stitching line.
- Staystitch one side of the garment piece from the right side (RS), and then flip it so you can the staystitch the other side from the WS. In the image above, you would stop at the V-notch, which is located at CF, and flip the piece to the WS to sew from the NP to CF.
Remember: Staystitching is directional sewing. For example, when staystitching a scooped neckline on a front bodice piece, you would staystitch from the NP to CF on the RS of the garment. Then, you would flip the garment to the wrong side (WS) and staystitch from the NP to the CF on the other half.
Not taking the time to flip your bodice at CF can lead to a stretched out, ugly of the neckline. And you don’t want that, do you?!
- Once you’ve completed staystitching your garment piece, layer the tissue pattern piece on top of garment piece to make sure the garment piece’s size and shape still match the tissue pattern’s piece.
Well, there you have it.
You now know that staystitching stabilizes curved edges and how to put this very important skill in action.
It is a crucial first step in constructing insanely well-made clothes. Don’t skip it!
Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!
RELATED: Click HERE to learn the basic skills you need to sew insanely pretty clothes!
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RELATED: Click HERE if you’re ready to begin this journey and would like to buy my recommended tools and supplies!