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:


It gives a nice firm edge to turn and press facings to the wrong side (WS). This helps facings know their place, which is INSIDE a garment.

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

Rules of Understitching

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

Rule #2: Prior to attaching a shaped facing, you have to interface the facing or the edge that the facing will be finishing!

Now, here’s…

How to Understitch

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

  1. Staystitch the neckline and armholes of the garment and the shaped facing.
  2. Align the right side (RS) of the facing to the RS of the garment’s edge and stitch them together.
  3. Now, grade and clip seam allowances (SAs) as needed before understitching.

seam allowances graded & clipped prior to understitching

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

  1. Then, press the SA up towards the facing from the RS of the garment.
  2. Next, 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 in progress

Take your time understitching!

seam allowances understitched

  1. Finally, 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!

And you’re done!

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

understitching featured image

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.

And remember…

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

RELATED: Click HERE to learn other basic sewing skills you need to sew garments you are proud to flaunt!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn about the three types of edge finishes, including the shaped facing!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn how to change your stitch length!

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