Saturday, June 2, 2012

Understitching: So Important in Garment Construction

Sewing in lining can be a lot of work. Using under-stitching can make your garment look like a piece of art.

What is Under-stitching?

Necklines with facings and sleeveless blouses both use under-stitching to work the garment. It is a line of straight stitches that keeps the facing tucked nicely away inside the garment. Basically, you sew the seam allowance of the garment to the lining. That is, when a facing is sewn to the edge of a v-neck neckline, the under-stitching keeps the facing from rolling out so that it is visible to others. You under-stitch the facing to the seam allowance so the facing stays in place. You might also see under-stitching around the waist of a lined skirt – the style without a waistband. You can under-stitch lining in a garment without facings or you can under-stitch through all layers if the garment has both. Under-stitching is important for garments with many layers.

How do you under-stitch?

  1. Following the pattern instructions, apply the facing to the garment. After sewing, trim the seam allowances.
  2. Clip into a curved seam at regular intervals, staggering the clips from layer to layer of the seam allowance width. Press all the seam allowances toward the facing (or lining). Remember, this can include the garment, facing, interfacing and any collar seam allowances as well, so there can be many layers. 
  3. Set the machine for a straight stitch at 12 stitches per inch and use thread to match the garment facing. 
  4. The under-stitching is positioned about 1/8" to the right of the actual seam-line. If your machine has an adjustable needle position, use it to correctly position the stitching line. 
  5. It's important that the stitching go through all the seam allowance layers to properly function, keep checking underneath as you sew to be sure the seam allowances are caught by the under-stitching. 
  6. (I baste the underlining on by hand because it is less frustrating than going back and fixing the places where I didn't manage to catch all the layers).


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