Stay Stitching: How to Stay Stitch? – (Guide)

Last Updated on November 6, 2023

When it comes to sewing your own garments, attention to detail can make all the difference in the final outcome. One essential technique every aspiring sewist should master is stay stitching. Here, we’ll explore what stay stitching is, how to do it, and why it’s crucial for ensuring your creations fit and hang perfectly.

How to Stay Stitch


  • Stay stitching stabilizes curved areas like necklines, preventing distortion and ensuring a perfect fit.
  • Perform stay stitching immediately after cutting your fabric, following pattern instructions for stitching direction.
  • Curved areas are susceptible to stretching due to the fabric’s bias; stay stitching safeguards against unwanted distortion.
  • While stay stitching is vital, sewists can explore alternative methods like fusible interfacing or couture techniques for stabilization.

So, grab your fabric, thread your needle, and let’s dive in!

What is Stay Stitching?

Stay stitching is a sewing technique used to stabilize curved or angled areas of a garment, such as necklines and armholes.

It is necessary to prevent these areas from stretching or distorting during the construction process, ensuring a proper fit and professional finish for your garments.

These areas are particularly vulnerable to distortion due to the fabric’s bias, which has more stretch and give than the straight grain.

Stay stitching prevents these areas from stretching out of shape during the construction process.

How to Stay Stitch?

How to Stay Stitch

Stay stitching should be done immediately after cutting out your fabric and marking necessary details like darts and notches.

Stay stitching involves sewing a small straight stitch close to, but not on, the final stitching line in curved areas of a garment, such as necklines and armholes, to prevent distortion and maintain the fabric’s shape during the sewing process.

Follow these steps to execute a perfect stay stitch:

  • Identify the Areas: Typically, patterns will indicate where stay stitching is required, focusing on curved sections of the garment, such as the neckline and possibly the armholes.
  • Choose Your Stitch Direction: Always consult your pattern instructions to determine the stitching direction. For necklines, it’s common to stitch from each shoulder towards the center to prevent stretching.
  • Adjust Stitch Length: Set your sewing machine to a small straight stitch, around 1.5mm, ensuring that the stay stitching is close to but not on the final stitching line.
  • Stitch Carefully: Sew the stay stitch, starting and ending with a few backstitches to secure it. Be mindful not to pull or stretch the fabric as you sew.
  • Trim Threads: Trim any loose threads after completing the stay stitching.

Why Stay Stitching Matters?

Stay stitching is vital because it acts as a reinforcement stitch, preserving the shape of the fabric in vulnerable areas.

Neglecting to stay stitch can lead to distorted necklines and ill-fitting garments that don’t sit well on the body. By stabilizing these areas, you ensure your garments maintain their intended shape and structure.

Alternative Methods

While stay stitching is effective, there are alternative methods for stabilizing garment sections. Fusible interfacing provides stability and is a popular choice.

Another couture method involves using fabric, such as silk organza or calico, which can be hand or machine-sewn onto the garment to reinforce specific areas.

Stay tuned for our next article, where we’ll delve into these alternative techniques in more detail!

When should I perform stay stitching on my fabric?

Stay stitching should be completed immediately after cutting out your fabric and marking essential details such as darts and notches. It’s a crucial first step before handling and assembling the garment pieces.

How close to the final stitching line should stay stitching be sewn?

Stay stitching should be sewn close to the final stitching line, typically about 1/8″ of an inch or 3mm away. It’s important to avoid seeding directly on the final stitching line, as stay stitching is not removed once the garment is finished.

Can I skip stay stitching and use alternative methods?

While stay stitching is highly recommended for curved areas, there are alternative methods like fusible interfacing or couture techniques involving fabric reinforcement. However, these methods might better suit specific projects and fabric types.

Are there specific patterns or fabrics where stay stitching is more crucial?

Stay stitching is essential for patterns with curved elements like necklines, armholes, and princess seams. It’s essential when working with fabrics that have a bias, as bias-cut fabric tends to stretch more than the straight grain.

Can stay stitching be removed after the garment is complete?

No, stay stitching is a permanent stitch in the garment. Unlike basting stitches, which are temporary, stay stitching provides permanent reinforcement to the curved areas, ensuring the garment retains its shape over time.

Is stay stitching necessary for all types of garments?

Stay stitching is particularly crucial for garments with curved or angled seams, as these areas are prone to distortion during construction. While it may not be needed for every single garment, understanding and mastering the technique is valuable for ensuring professional results in your sewing projects.


In conclusion, mastering stay stitching is a fundamental skill that every sewist should have in their repertoire.

By taking the time to stabilize curved areas of your garment, you’re ensuring that your creations not only look great but also fit impeccably.

So, the next time you embark on a sewing project, remember the importance of stay stitching—it’s the secret to a professional-looking finish.

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