How to Understitch

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Hey, you!

I like to think of understitching as the best friend of topstitching and the first cousin to edgestitching! In fact, understitching is an edgestitch that is close to a seam.

And while topstitching and edgestitching can have a dual personality — functional and/or decorative, understitching is ONE thing:

functional!

With understitching, the seam allowances (SAs) of enclosed seams are graded and then stitched to the facing. This gives a nice firm edge for you to turn and press facings to the wrong side (WS).

And it helps facings “know” their place, which is INSIDE a garment.

So if you’re ready, let’s begin with the…

NOTE: If you’re ready to begin this journey and would like to buy my recommended tools and supplies, please click HERE

Rules of Understitching

Rule #1: If you’re finishing an edge with a shaped or bias facings or applying a collar, then you cannot, must not skip understitching!

Rule #2: Prior to attaching a shaped facing, it is interfaced for added stability!

Now, here’s…

How to Understitch

It’s really not difficult, but you do have to take your time, so you can be precise!

And here’s how you do it…

FIRSTstaystitch the neckline and armholes of the garment and the shaped facing.

Then, align the right side (RS) of the facing to the RS of the garment’s edge and stitch them together.

bodice-neckline-stitched-to-shaped-facing

SECOND, now, grade and clip SAs as needed before understitching.

bodice-neckline-trimmed-and-clipped-ready-for-understitching

Did you notice that the SA of the facing is graded in half?

THIRD, press the SA up towards the facing from the RS of the garment.

bodice-neckline-understitched-shaped-facing-pressed-up

FOURTH, then, from the RS, edgestitch the SAs to the facing. You want to position your needle very close to the seam, no more than ⅛ inch away. I like to find a spot on my presser foot to use as a guide to help me maintain the proper distance away from the seam line!

understitching-seam-allowances-of-bodice-and-shaped-facing

Take your time understitching, please!

Once you’ve completed understitching, this is how it looks closeup…

understitched-seam-from-wrong-side-closeup

FIFTH, press the facing to the inside of your garment, rolling the RS of the garment ever so slightly towards the inside of the garment. This will be easier because of understitching!

pressing-shaped-facing-to-wrong-side-after-understitching

SIXTH, and you’re done! Behold the finished result from the bodice side…

understitched-neckline-from-right-side

and now from the shaped facing side…

understitched-shaped-facing-from-wrong-side

If you’ve done this right, your facing will hopefully have the good manners to know its place, which is INSIDE the garment!

The End

Along with the staystitch, the topstitch, and the edgestitch, you need to know when to, the value of, and how to understitch!

So remember this:

When applying shaped facings, you must, you must understitch. Because it is the only way to show them who’s the boss!

Plus, it is the only way to end up with a professional end result. Click HERE to see understitching in action!

And remember…

Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn about the three types of edge finishes!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn how to apply bias facing to an edge!

RELATED: Click HERE if you’re ready to unleash your dressmaking super powers and learn how to sew a simple dress! Warning: This is a MEGA 5-part series!

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