Maw & Mo Sew Along: Stay Stitching

This is a continuation of a series:  part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.

Hey Moxie Peeps, we’re trucking along with Simplicity Cynthia Rowley #2305.  This post marks the time when Madelyn and I realized that our original game plan was going to take a lot longer than we had thought!  The reason why?  Both of our sudden realization that there is a lot more to quality construction than just stitching up a couple of side seams and calling it a day.  It was a total oversight on my part — a pitfall of having made more than one dress in the past and being able to do basic garment construction on auto pilot.  For Mo, it was the realization that a LOT goes into a dress… oh, my.

So, we slowed down a bit here and worked on the bodice for this dress, beginning with stay stitching the curved neck edges.  This is super important because on a curved piece of fabric, the textile can stretch or lose its shape during the construction process as well as over time when you wear the piece of clothing.  Staystitching is something that becomes hidden from the outside, but works really hard on the inside to give structural support.  It’s the difference between something made with care and things that are not made to last.

stay stitching

The problem with stay stitching is that the pattern instructions never really explain WHY you should do it.  They just say to do it and I hear about seamstresses taking shortcuts all the time, skipping this part.  It’s not hard to do and only takes a couple extra seconds.  I like to stay stitch about 1/2″ inside my seam allowance a stitch length about halfway between a basting stitch (i.e. 5mm) and a final stitch (i.e. average weight cotton is stitched at 2.5mm).  When I sew on a 5/8″ seam allowance for my finished seams, the stay stitching remains conveniently tucked inside the garment.  Easy peasy.

The pattern instructions are quite clear about the direction you should sew (yes, it really does matter!).  Some pieces are small and you only stitch in one direction.  Some pieces, like a center folded front or back bodice will require that you stitch one side, then the other, and it’s smart to overlap in the center about 1 -2 inches.  No need for any back stitching on either ends.

This is what the pattern instructions look like for Simplicity 2305.  Seems innocuous but it’s the very first step!  First steps are important ones…

stay stitching pattern instructions

Next up, we tackle facings and edge finishing.  I’m working on the video edits right now… it seams that in my demonstration of facings, I flashed my bra and cleavage an awful lot to Mo over iChat.  Who knew “sewing” and “peep show” would ever end up in the same sentence??  I’ll make it G-rated for you.  Promise.  (Sorry, Madelyn!  It’s all PG-13 for you.  Ha!)

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