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Tips & Techniques > Directional Stitching Prevents Stretching

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Posted by: HeyJane
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Member since: 5/18/05
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Posted on: 4/26/08 2:15 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 6 people   Very Helpful by 16 people   
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TIP: Directional Stitching Prevents Stretching

Sewing seams in the proper direction will prevent stretching. The diagram shows where stay-stitching is usually needed, and the arrows show how to do it directionally.

I tend to forget about doing this when I'm eagerly sewing a project, but since I found this diagram and printed it out, it reminds me to stitch in the proper direction for better results. I didn't notice any other posts on this, so thought I'd mention it. HTH

From Coats and Clark, Sewing A-Z:
Stay-stitching is done on the separate garment pieces, the first thing after cutting and marking, through a single thickness. When an interfacing or an underlining is added, however, the stitching that attaches it serves as stay-stitching, and is done DIRECTIONALLY where required.

STAY-STITCHING is machine stitching used to stabilize fabric cut on curved and bias edges to prevent stretching the edge during garment construction.

DIRECTIONAL stitching is used when sewing garment pieces together to help prevent stretching the seam.

Another link to directional stitching and staystitching:
"Basic Directional Stitching to Sew Staystitching and Seams"

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Miss Fairchild said... (5/15/08 9:06 AM) Reply
Thank you so much for providing this info, Jane. I've often wondered about staystitching, although I do it around the waistline. Your picture was printable, and I'll be able to place it in my sewing book as a reference. Thanks again!
HeyJane said... (4/28/08 12:20 PM) Reply
One last reference, to me this wording is more clear: From "Fashion Sewing for Everyone" by Adele P. Margolis: "To preserve the grain, staystitching must be directional. Stitch with the grain. The rule is: stitch from a high point to a low one, from a wide point to a narrow one. The latter takes precedence over the former. The yarns of the material actually point the way. Examine the frayed edges for the direction. When the yarns point down, stitch down. When the yarns point up, stitch up." Her diagram indicates to start at the shoulder and stitch down the neckline. Never make a continuous line of staystitching around a corner. Break the thread at neckline center, and begin again on the other side.
Patzee said... (4/28/08 5:48 AM) Reply
HeyJane, thanks for finding that reference! It makes a lot of sense.
HeyJane said... (4/27/08 6:51 PM) Reply
Whoa....that was observant, Patzee. I totally didn't notice that. I use the pink chart and assumed they were the same...will have to check this out some more, but I believe the answer has to do with grain: (although I still don't know why the drawings would be different) Directional stitching: 1 All sewing lines follow the direction of the fabric grain – also known as ‘stroking the cat’ (to find the direction of the grain, run finger along cut edge and stitch in direction in which fibres curl smoothly). 2. In dressmaking, directional stitching refers to stitching every seam in the same direction, ie: all seams waist to hem in order to prevent seams puckering or stretching. 3. On a sewing machine, this refers to multi-directional stitching including side to side (not just forwards and backwards).
Patzee said... (4/27/08 6:16 PM) Reply
Uh, is it me or are the recommended stitch direction arrows pointed differently at the two links provided: The "V" neckline and the facing?
Patzee said... (4/27/08 6:14 PM) Reply
Uh, is it me or are the recommended stitch direction arrows pointed differently at the two links provided: The "V" neckline and the facing?
SewVeryTall said... (4/27/08 6:11 AM) Reply
Good information. When I began sewing, this was always shown on the pattern with little arrows. I don't understand why the pattern companies quit showing this, it's important. A tip for beginners...when stitching, if your fabric tries to pucker up, it's ok to pull on the thread/fabric behind the needle. Don't worry, you can't stretch it out of shape after it's been stitched.
Roxxygrl said... (4/27/08 0:43 AM) Reply
I try and remember to do this.. but don't always suceed.
nancy2001 said... (4/26/08 7:48 PM) Reply
Thanks for the very helpful information.
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