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When staystitching isn’t enough

Pearl5 | Posted in Fitting on

Hi everyone.  I recently made a sundress with a V in the back (rayon/linen).  Although I staystitched the V on the fashion fabric and the facing, it still stretched and created a wave in this area.  What are your thoughts on using a narrow zigzag stitch to staystich?  Or, alternatively, can you suggest another way to prevent this stretch? 




  1. starzoe | | #1

    One thing about staystitching that you have to remember, you have to staystitch exactly on the stitching line that is marked on the pattern. It is too easy to stretch (especially a V neck which will be on the bias).

    But perhaps it is a fitting problem and not a staystitch fault. People have different body shapes, you may have a smaller back measurement than the pattern expects, or you may be thinner in that spot, or the shoulder-to -shoulder measurement may be less than the pattern.

  2. DONNAKAYE | | #2

    May I ask, which direction did you staystitch in?

  3. jjgg | | #3

    This has nothing to do with your stay stitching. You probably did a fine job. The issue here is that the "V" is on the bias and it's the bias that has stretched. What you need to do is stabilize the area with some type of tape - the selvedge from some lining fabric - organza, charmeuse etc. something light and on the straight grain. If it's a little bit on the heavy side, baste it just to the inside of the seam line - it will all be in the seam allowance, but will still prevent it from stretching. If it's very lightweight you can baste it over the seam line. Alternatively, some people will use elastic in this area to hold it in shape. I light the straight tape better.

    1. Cherrypops | | #4

      "The issue here is that the "V" is on the bias and it's the bias that has stretched.

      What you need to do is stabilize the area with some type of tape"

      Thank you JJ, I was going to advise the same.

      1. jjgg | | #5

        HI Cherrypops, I looked at your picture, for some reason it was ot at all what I expected. It's funny though, when I think about it, I don't know what I expected, but when I saw the picture I thought Wow! did I have the wrong idea!

        1. Cherrypops | | #6

          thank you. was it the profile pic you looked at?. there is another pic i uploaded ages ago; full length photo of me and my son. i will track it down for you if you haven't seen it.

          1. jjgg | | #11

            No, I remember seeing the picture of you and your son, so I don't know why this pix struck me! I guess you look a lot younger in this picture.I like your long curly hair!

      2. Pearl5 | | #9

        Thank you for your responses.  I staystitched from the bottom of the V to the shoulder.  I did not know that staystitching is done on the actual seam line; I thought it was to be inside the seam allowance -- at 1/2" or less. 

        I like the idea of using a selvage edge of another fabric to stabiliize.  When is this done?  Is it in place of staystitching?  Or is it sewn when you attach the facing to the garment?

        I think the dress fits properly.  I made a muslin of the bodice from cotton and it did not gape open. 


        1. jjgg | | #12

          Attach the selvedge strip when you do your 'stay stitching' step.Actually, you should hand baste the tape to the seam line before you even cut out the fabric, that way it will not stretch out of shape at all.

  4. dressed2atee | | #7

    I've had a similar problem and used clear elastic.  Try easing a small strip into the area that has strecth.

  5. DONNAKAYE | | #8

    What is your fabric?

    1. Pearl5 | | #10

      The fabric is linen and rayon.   pearl

  6. Teaf5 | | #13

    If it created a wave in the flat garment, it was probably caused by stretching the fabric while sewing, sewing the bias in the wrong direction, or by too tight of a pressure foot tension.  If it waves only when you are wearing it, it is gaping caused by the curvature of your back.

    The first problem can be prevented by barely holding the fabric while stitching, sewing from the wider to narrower part of the bias (so that you are not sewing across the grain), and loosening the pressure foot tension (if you can on your machine).

    The second problem, gaping, can be solved by angling the shoulder seam in a little right near the neck edge (and at the center back seam, if there is one) or the clear elastic as already mentioned.

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