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sewing seams in the right direction

Aless | Posted in General Discussion on

This is a perennial….. I have read many times that, when sewing straight seams (eg on A line skirt) it is best to sew from the wider end to the narrower. Can someone please tell me the technical reason for this?

I am sewing Bemsilk lining (for a skirt) at the moment and started at the narrow end. Needed to taut stitch-with an inbuilt dual feed!!!! Then I remembered about the ‘rule’ and it really made a difference.

So… can someone tell my why it is so?




  1. ShannonG4d | | #1

    What you're referring to is directional stitching.  The reason I use it is because of the way the grain behaves at different positions on the seam.

    Let's use your a-line skirt as an example.  The curviest part of that seam is from the hip to the waist; that part of the seam is to a great extent on the bias, and will stretch.  The part of the seam below it is closer to the straight of grain.  When you stitch the lower part of the seam, it is less likely to stretch.

    If you begin at the top of the seam and stitch to the bottom, you're dealing with the more bias part of the seam at the beginning.  It's likely that the bias will "push" itself down, into the straighter part of the seam.  You'll have little "ripples" that will appear in the seam, and they will be difficult to press flat.

    If you begin at the bottom of the seam, the seam will be stable for the bottom 3/4 of the seam.  You won't deal with the bias until the last part of the seam, and will be able to pay better attention to controlling the stretch of the fabric.  You will be able to match the two sides evenly in this area, giving the seam curves where they are needed. 



    1. User avater
      Aless | | #2

      Thanks,Shannon. That all makes perfect sense. I'm a long time seamstress but can still find lots I don't know.......


    2. mem | | #3

      Thanks for that Shannon what happens with pants ?

      1. ShannonG4d | | #4

        Depends on the shape of the pant leg.  Look at the grainline and how it relates to the side seam....in a boot cut pant, you'll have straight of grain from mid thigh up to about mid-hip.  The hip to waist is curved (just like a skirt), and the bottom of the pant is on the bias for that wonderful boot cut flare.  I'd sew that seam beginning at the knee, stitch to the waist, then from knee to hem.

        A straight leg pant will have straighter grain from mid-hip to hem, then the curve from hip to waist.  I'd sew that bottom to top, just like for a skirt.

        These are my own personal observations and my own opinion.  As the famous disclaimer states...."your results may vary":)


        1. mem | | #5

          thankyou that is something I will have to remember. It waould also explain why when sewing a side seam in any thing I sometimes have a lttile tag left at the end of the seam.

  2. berniejh | | #6

    I was taught in my sewing classes at school (many years ago) to sew in the direction you cut, which should always be from bottom to top.  Can't remember why but I still do it. The comments here sound sensible to me.

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