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raven99 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hi everyone, I’m a new member in this forum, although I have been a Threads devotee for many years.

This is a question for those out there who are familiar with tailoring techniques. I know what padstitching is, and I know how to do it by hand, but I’ve seen references in patterns for machine padstitching and I don’t really understand how its possible to padstitch by machine without the stitches showing on the fabric. I guess that’s ok as long as the collar is lying flat, but what if you want to turn up the collar on a blustery day. Wouldn’t the padstitching show?

Thanks in advance for any replies.


  1. clarkebmc | | #1

    Hi MarionC,

    I can actually answer this, having just "Pad-Stitched" two lapels for a sports jacket.

    If I'm not mistaken, there are two separate places where "Pad Stitching" is required.

    The first is to fasten all the interfacing pieces together. In this case the pad stitch would penetrate all layers and could be performed with a machine.

    The second pad stitch, which might be better called a prick-stitch according to my wife, is used to attach the lapel to its interfacing and does not penetrate the lapel fabric. It would not show if the lapel were turned up.

    I think that there must a special industrial machine to do this.

    Hope this helps.

    /* Bernie * /

    1. edgy | | #2

      Somewhere in the back of my head, I think Claire Schaeffer discusses pad stitching by machine. Maybe someone else can find a reference in Threads.nancy

    2. GhillieC | | #3

      The essential thing about hand pad stitching is that you hold the two (or more) thicknesses of fabric in a curve while you stitch them together, thus adding some shaping to the garment. An expert tailor will adjust the curve according to the shaping s/he wants. The pad stitching on a collar or lapel shows on the underside as very neat rows of small prick stitches. As it is a sign of an expensive hand tailored garment it is considered a bonus. Pad stitching is also used to join the various layers of interfacing used in jackets before applying them to the outer fabric. This does not show at all in the finished garment. I guess this is nearly always done with an industrial machine these days though you would get a better shape if you did it expertly by hand. You can buy (with difficulty) ready padded jacket fronts, though I have never used them.Cheers,Ghillie

  2. SewTruTerry | | #4

    I have pad stitched some with my basic machine and the blind hem stitch.  Since you are only going to be using this technique with the interfacing the interfacing is the fabric that is against the sewing machine bed. The fashion fabric is the one that is folded back and the zig part of the stitch takes a very small bite of it.  This really only works if you can match the thread exactly and there is a bit of texture to the fashion fabric to hide the occasional extra big bite.

    1. raven99 | | #5

      Many thanks to everyone who replied to my post. The kind of padstitching I was referring to is in fact used on collars and lapels to help control and shape them.I searched the archives for the Claire Schaeffer article that Nancy mentioned, but couldn't find a reference to it... yet. I like Ghillie's comment "The pad stitching on a collar or lapel shows on the underside as very neat rows of small prick stitches. As it is a sign of an expensive hand tailored garment it is considered a bonus." I'll have to work on my technique so I can produce a padstitch that I wouldn't mind showing! I may have to drop in to see my friendly neighborhood tailor to see what professional padstitching looks like in real life.I can see the possibilities of using the blind hem stitch to padstitch. That makes sense to me.Thanks again!Marion

      1. ElonaM | | #7

        Marion, I've been sewing for a long time, and have done pad-stitching by hand on several jackets. While it's not my favorite job, it can be done while watching TV, and it's really a treat to see the collar and lapel begin to drape so prettily over your hand.The trick to almost invisible stitches on the underside is to catch only one or two threads with each stitch, and not to get the thread too tight. It takes a little practice, but not much, really.I do believe I saw a very nice article on this, with excellent photos, in a recent Threads. It may have been contained in one of those kind of heavy paper inserts they put in sometimes, with titles like "10 super techniques you have to know."

        1. carolfresia | | #8

          There was a Basics column on pad stitching in issue 110, and it's a good one. The Singer book on Tailoring compares hand pad stitching, machine stitching, and fusible methods of shaping jacket collars and fronts, with many photos.


  3. MOMPEA1 | | #6

    Your question sent me to my reference library...there's NOTHING in the book "Jackets, Coats and Suits" put out by Threads. I was surprised, not even a mention of pad stitching in the index. There is one chapter called "Techniques for a Top Coat" and on page 79 they discuss pad stitching, but it's by hand, not machine. There is also a chapter "Contemporary Tailoring, Construct a classic jacket completely by machine" but they use fusible interfacing, no pad stitching. It does mention having to use multiple layers of facing to achieve the look you want.

    I know I have other books around...one on couture sewing, but I can't lay my hands on it right now. I'll keep looking and see if I can come up with a resource for you if you don't get an answer from all the pros in here.

    Good luck!


  4. always_sewing | | #9

    You are right!! there is no way to make machine padstitching invisible on the right side of the fabric. I have worked as a historic costume specialist at a 1860's historic site for 19 years. Isn't it nice to know that with all the modren inventions today we can not reproduce fine hand stitching.That  is what makes us an aristan not just seamstresses who only sew seams. Hopefully the rest of the world will appreciate the difference. So please do take the time to do thing the "old fashioned way" when you have the time. Then you can proudly turn up the coller on a cold day!!      Yours in sewing, Jill

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