Monday, May 7, 2012

Do You Staystitch?

When I get a new pattern I immediately, well as soon as possible, start reading the instructions.  I know sewing nerd here.  I don't always use the instructions but I like to see if there are any surprises or I make notes on how I want to change things. Usually I make notes on where I will change sas on Vogue patterns. I trim the enclosed seam allowances to 3/8 and add in case sas to the side seams. Then I note the sewing order, not necessarily writing it down but I never sew in the order they advise.  I like to group details and sew everything I can before I get up to press.  The first one I looked at  is this Vogue  top.
I knew from the notions list that they call for packaged bias tape.  I'll make my own.  Wouldn't it be nice if they mentioned making your own and how to do it?  But, no this is an Easy Vogue pattern and I guess they deem it too hard.  But I digress, the topic of this post is do you stay stitch and before they  get to the binding, they tell you to stay stitch the neck edge.  I don't do this anymore.  I used to when I remembered and then for the most part I just stopped.  I still  do it for opposite curves like a very curvy princess seam that I have to clip, but mostly I don't stay stitch anymore.  I don't think it keeps a seam from stretching.  I'd be more inclined to stay a bias edge with tape, interfacing or a piece of thin 
fabric.  I also see directions for stay stitching a knit neck edge.  This I really don't get.  I do do this with Lynda Maynard's knit binding method, but I use interfacing on the neck edge first and the stay stitching is a placement guide for the binding.  
If you've been watching Peggy Sagers webcasts she is vehemently opposed to stay stitching and other archaic home sewing methods.   I feel vindicated in my laziness!
How about you, do you stay stitch and if you do when do you do it?

30 comments:

  1. I never, ever staystitch. Since I sew mostly from BWOF, it doesn't come up often. But, my last two projects are from Big 4 and both asked for staystitching. What I will do is use interfacing along a bias neckline. I actually think I mostly use interfacing when staystitching is involved or asked for.

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  2. I always follow the instructions. Mostly because I lack confidence. I've been skeptical about stay stitching, but to fearful not to do it. I think you've just given me permission to give it a miss!

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  3. No I don't - too lazy and in a hurry - I don't have time for that. Your exception is mine also. Good topic - let some people off the hook!

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  4. I "staystitch" only when I need a visible seam line for guidance. I never staystitch for its intended purpose, because other methods are better. Kathleen Fasanella did a post on this very topic; guess what she thinks about staystitching?

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    1. I've read her post and she's in the same camp as Sagers. I am a self taught seamstress and I learned to sew from Vogue sewing patterns, when they had detailed directions and their sewing book dated 1972 and guess what? They all told you to staystitch. Vogue just hasn't come into the 21st century.

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    2. I admit it: I do staystitch collars (but that's about it). Usually it's to keep things neat or if I'm using an unusually loosely woven fabric. But I certainly don't do it directionally (if that's the right word) -- or at least I don't think I do. I can never remember whether you're supposed to stitch from the center out to the ends or vice versa!

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  5. This is a timely question for me, because I am working on a StyleArc pattern that has pieces that are for neck stays. I wasn't exactly sure what to do with this so I asked for some clarification. It seems that neck stays are to be cut from a tear away stabilizer. But if that is the case, you could actually just do stay stitching or, like Peggy Sagers, not do it at all. I must admit that I do see the sense of not doing it although I do like the effect of clear elastic because it adds some stability to the neck area.

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  6. I do a lot of the same pattern changes that you do: I change the order of construction and never used purchased bias tape. I don't trim the seam allowances to 3/8, though that is a good idea because I prefer a 3/8" allowance!

    I almost never stay stitch. I will do it on a neckline if it's a woven and seems like it might distort due to handling. But that's it.

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  7. I almost never stay stitch. Very, very occasionally I will be working with a fabric that is so unstable that stay-stitching does make a difference, but I do not do it on a routine basis.

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  8. I will only do it if I know the edge will need to be clipped. Otherwise I don't think it helps, so I don't use it! I will confess that I do use store-bought bias though - I have a giant collection of it, and sometimes the contrast is nice (at other times I do make my own.)

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  9. To me staystitching is very much something that is done in the instructions for US patterns. I don't remember ever having seen instructions for staystitching in European magazines like Knip mode or Burda style.
    Having learned to sew the "European way" (e.g without seam allowances on the pattern pieces and no staystitching) I hardly ever staystitch, not even when the instructions tell me to do so. I will use interfacing or tape if needed.

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  10. Most of the time I don't staystitch. Years back I took lessons from a very accomplished dress maker and she said to never stay stitch. She claimed it stretch out the garment as you did it. She also had you move any piece "in the flat" so that any curved edges did not get stressed and stretched from handling. It's a little weird but it works and I still do it.

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    1. I agree with being careful about moving a garment and keeping it flat, especially if you have any bias edges, like a neckline. I like to stabilize those asap so they don't stretch by the time I work on them. I interface or tape any edge I need to stabilize right away even if I am not sewing it yet. It's amazing how easily a v neckline can stretch without even working on it!

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  11. I always stay stitch around necklines. A very experienced sewer in my Guild suggests starting at the centre of a round neck and working out to the shoulders from both sides. This avoids stretching the fabric.

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  12. No idea about the stitching but can't wait to see how this turns out.

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  13. I never, ever staystitch. To me it just looks and feels gross. If something needs stabilising, I pull out my BFF, vilene bias tape. :)

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  14. Very rarely stay stitch. If there is a great danger of an edge stretching, as for example an almost bias edge on a V or cross over neckline, and its not possible to deal with this first, I put a line of masking tape in the seam allowance before cutting the line.

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  15. Always stay stitch areas that may stretch and stay stitch with the grain which may involve taking the garment out and changing direction once or twice while sewing the seam. Stitching with the grain helps eliminate stretching. And, always stay stitch just inside seam line so it won't ever show.

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  16. I confess to not staystitching, ever. When an area may be prone to stretching, you have to be careful with it and it is often a good idea to double check it against the pattern piece to ensure that it has not stretched before attempting to connect it to something else (like a neckline being attached to a collar). If it has stretched, almost every fabric can be manhandled back into shape. If the fabric is very unstable, or steam and heat won't shrink it back, the odds are that staystitching won't be enough to stabilize it, and there is a danger of stretching the edge just by running it through the machine, ESPECIALLY if the direction of sewing runs against the grain. So IMHO it's not worth the trouble.

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  17. I left my comment for a while to see what other sewers had to say. I read something recently to say always staystich and which direction to go. I think it was an Adele Margolis (hope I spelt that correct) book. Maybe it is good for beginners as they may stretch things out whereas the more experienced will be more mindful of how they treat the cut out piece? I would have to say I do staystitch.....sometimes :)

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  18. The Margolis is an old book and most of the sewing advice these days is modeled after rtw and they never stay stitch.

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  19. Yes, I usually stay stitch the neck and armscyes. I don't want to have to be careful with my fabric as I'm manipulating it and the fact is that a garment can be 'in progress' and moved (or shoved) from spot to spot over the course of quite some time. I am also a compulsive when it comes to sew a seam, try it on, sew a seam, try it on - constantly checking the fit. At the end of the day, the stay stitching only takes a minute or two.

    However, I don't do basting stitches - it either gets sewn for real or pins will do - and it's extremely rare that I use interfacing, whether the pattern calls for it or not.

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  20. I only staystitch if I'm going to clip into the seam, like a collar or princess seam

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  21. I do stay stitch when a curve needs to be clipped. Otherwise, I use a fusible bias for something casual. I've actually benefit a lot from staystitching if only for the fact that it encourages me to clip, notch, and grade with more confidence and precision.

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  22. I recently made this top* and I staystitched the neck - I don't think my fabric needed it, but I used the staystitching as a guide for the binding and also as a line to match up against for the centre back zip.

    Have you made this top? The sizing seemed small compared to other Vogue patterns to me. Although perhaps I have grown a bit lately I doubt I've grown in the shoulders or in height, so perhaps Vogue's sizing is changing?

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