Maw & Mo Sew Along: Stitch in the Ditch

This is a continuation of the Maw & Mo Sew along:  part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7.

It sounds like throwing a seamstress style insult, “Stitch in the ditch!”  Actually, this is a really cool technique that helps tack facings to the bodice in a very invisible way.   The “ditch” is the seam and for this pattern, the ditch is the shoulder seam.  We are going to take that facing we made in the previous post and tack it to the bodice.  It takes less than five minutes and it’s awesome sauce!

stitching in the ditch

I always like to start by making sure the facing is flat against the bodice and then I pin it on either side of the seam (“ditch”).  This way, I know it’s not going anywhere and I’ll get a nice stitch out of the whole deal.  I carefully line up my presser foot, using the foot markings as a guide.  If you want to be super duper careful, I would recommend using your fly wheel to gently lower your needle into the fabric — if you’re just a smidge off from the ditch, you can raise your needle before it goes through the fabric, adjust your fabric under the presser foot as needed, and get everything really lined up.  Remember, this is supposed to be “invisible” so when you’re done stitching, it won’t be detectable to regular eyes looking at your dress.

stitching in the ditch

I like to back stitch just one or two stitches and then go all the way forward until I get to the end of the facing.  I’m sewing on the right side of the bodice, so when I do this technique, I feel with my fingers through the fabric.  It’s pretty obvious when you’re stitching through multiple layers and when you get to the end of the facing and back to the single layer of bodice fabric.  When I get to the end, I finish it with a couple of careful back stitches to secure the stitch line.

stitching in the ditch

On the front, it looks “invisible”… on the inside it may be visible but it doesn’t matter!  No one is seeing your facing and where it’s been tacked to your bodice.  This is one of those moments in sewing that forces you to become really Zen about it all… nothing is perfect.  Done is better than perfect.  What matters is that the outside of the bodice doesn’t show a trace that you stitched in the ditch.  As Mo so aptly put it in our last video, “No one needs to know what happens backstage.”  Wise woman!

stitching in the ditch

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  • Madelyn - I’m not going to lie, the first time I saw that phrase, my brain conjured the image of a sewing machine stitching furiously along all by its lonesome in a roadside ditch 😉 I did figure out pretty quickly what the instruction meant, but its such a silly little phrase, it tickled me in all of the right places 🙂ReplyCancel

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