Do You Really Have to Stay stitch? – Let’s Learn To Sew

You've probably come across the term “holding stitch” on a sewing pattern or in a sewing book and wondering what holding stitching is. You may have even wondered if you should stay in sewing.

The answer is yes!

Staying in sewing isn't difficult, but it often feels like a waste of time. It may be tempting to skip this step when your fabric is fully cut out and you're ready to wear your new clothes, but pattern makers don't waste your time.

What happens if you don't stay in point? It's like skipping the prewash on your fabric, it's a gamble. It is impossible to predict what will happen to your garment when finished.

What is continuous stitching?

In many patterns, you will be required to stay stitched on curved patterns or patterns sewn into curves, such as collars, necklines, armholes, and facings.

In hold stitches, straight stitches are sewn along the edge of a single piece of fabric, slightly inside the seam allowance. This must be done before sewing pieces together.

A standard seam line is ⅛” (3.2 mm) from the raw edge of the fabric. For hold stitches, some people shorten their stitch length, while others sew directly on the seam line. This helps to sew from one edge to the center and fasten off. Then sew from the other edge and join it in the center.

Once the garment is finished, the seams will no longer be visible. What's the point of doing that, then?

Why do you have to stay in stitches?

Each time you cut the fabric at an angle or curve, it approaches the grain of the bias and the bias stretches accordingly. The bias of your fabric may warp when you handle it during construction due to its stretchiness. When you sew your garment, the held seams prevent your fabric from stretching.

Here are the top three reasons why you don't want to skip the seam.

  1. The garment does not lie flat on your body. The neckline will lose its shape if it stretches during construction. As a result, V-necks will lose their characteristic V-shape and they may appear wavy or baggy.
  2. Your pattern pieces won't match. When you attach coordinating pieces, such as a facing, sleeve, or collar, without fixed seams, your pattern pieces may not match. The neckline can stretch too much which will cause puckering when you try to sew the neck piece together with the neckline.
  3. Your fabric is stretching, even if you don't see it yet. Even if you think you'll handle your fabric gently, try pulling a piece of fabric cut close to the bias. It can be stretched by gently tugging on it. Your feed dogs can tear the fabric from your hand while the garment is being made. When you tie bias binding, facing, or if you have to do the burrito method, you are pulling on the fabric. Unless your fabric is held in place by that helpful row of stitches, these pulls and pulls will stretch it.

Common areas to stay in focus

  • Round necklines
  • Cut necklines
  • Armholes
  • Styling lines
  • Shaped belts
  • Pocket openings – curved and cut!
  • Shoulder seam – if extended and crosses grain line of bias

Is continuous stitching the same as basting?

No, holding points are not the same as basting. Using a basting stitch, we tie two pieces of fabric together and remove this thread once we have finished sewing the final seam.

The individual pieces are sewn and the stitches are then left in place.

Should you keep sewn liner pieces?

Yes! Everything you cut – major fashion fabrics, facings and linings – must stay sewn if you want it to last!

Do you backstitch when you stay sewing?

You don't need to backstitch when sewing, but it won't hurt if you do. You can also shorten your stitch length at the beginning and end of your line of holding stitches. This has a similar effect to back stitch.

Staying sewing is worth it.

So try not to skip the stitches; it's worth the extra time.


Want to get into sewing but need a hand with the basics? Our Sewing 101 course has everything you need to start sewing with confidence and improve your skills. Be sure to join our free private Facebook group.

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