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When and How to Use Stay Tapes for Knits

Video: Threads magazine

When you’re sewing knits, stabilizing strategically results in a more professional look. Discover how to use fusible stay tapes to keep necklines, hems, opening edges, shoulder seams, and waistline seams from stretching out of shape. Pattern designer Pamela Leggett recommends the SewkeysE brand of stay tapes. They are thin and don’t add bulk, and they come in a variety of widths and fabrications.

Fusible woven stay tape

This tape is cut on the straight grain and, therefore, adds perfect stability where it is fused. Apply 1/2-inch-wide fusible tape along the front shoulder seamline, and then sew the seam.

Fusible knit stay tape

This 1/2-inch-wide tricot knit tape has more flexibility than the straight-grain woven tape, so it’s suitable for curved edges.

French trim (or bound neckline)

Apply the tape along the edge of the neckline that you intend to bind. This tape is easy to shape around curved edges. It also has a thermal memory. When you steam it, it shrinks distorted edges back to shape.

Turned and topstitched finish

Staystitch 1/2 inch from the raw edge. Apply the knit stay tape with one edge along the staystitching, within the body of the garment. This stabilizes the area you’re folding the edge toward. Fold the edge over the stay tape, with the staystitching rolled slightly to the wrong side. Pin in place, then topstitch with a straight stitch, set for a length of 3.00 mm or 3.5 mm. Block with steam, then press gently to flatten.

Hemming knits two ways

Double-sided fusible stay tape, 1 inch wide, is a helpful notion for creating smooth and even hems. This fine tape comes with a paper backing, and it doesn’t add stiffness or bulk, even in lightweight fabrics.

Topstitched hem

Because the tape won’t curve to match the shape of some…

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  1. user-7863167 | | #1

    This is such a useful tutorial. Specific, and detailed with excellent demo. Takes all the complications out of choosing stabilizers and the tips/tricks address all common frustrations with knit necklines or sleeveless bindings/finishes.

  2. StashaNovak | | #2

    Thank you so much for your instructions, detailed info and presentation. Have to save this video for my many knits that are waiting to be done.

  3. MGRonan | | #3

    Awesome & just what i needed to see...thanks sew much Pamela

  4. Grandma2six | | #4

    Thanks for your great instruction on these Stay Tapes. Your instructions are always spot on and bring a new dimension to sewing our garments. Knits are tricky, but you've made the tricky elements so much easier!

  5. CGinColorado | | #5

    I have purchased all of the tapes mentioned and now use them in all of my garments. They are great tools to help make my sewing look and feel better than RTW, which is my goal. Thanks, Pamela! I also love your patterns.

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