Sunday, February 14, 2010

What is Understitching and Why is it Important

When you sew facings to a garment at the neckline and/or the armholes understitching is a very important step .This stitching is also often used when you add a contoured waistband to a skirt or pant.

The instructions for the facings on the dress I just sewed for my daughter read:

To understitch,press facings away from garment;press seam toward
facing.Facing side up,stitch close to seam through facing and seam

Now what does that mean? Here are the steps:

1.Sew the facing to the garment (neckline or armhole for example.)

2.Press the seam away from the garment and toward the facing.

3. Trim and grade your seam down to about 3/8 inch.(To grade a seam you trim the two sections of the seam allowance separately and make one narrower than the other by about 1/8 of an inch.)

4.With the outside of the garment facing you,sew a line of stitching on the facing and through the seam allowances very close to the seamline joining it to the garment.

5. Turn the facing toward the inside of the garment. Notice how the facing wants to turn in .You'll notice that a little bit of the outside has turned toward the inside. This is a good thing. Now the facing won't show from the outside.
This is why understitching is so important and this step should never be skipped.

You'll want to attach at least part of the facing to the inside of the garment. Sometimes it's enough to stitch in the ditch at the underarm and/or the shoulder seams.
If that isn't enough ,you can use Steam-a-Seam around the facing and fuse it to the garment.If your garment will not be laundered very often,fusible thread is another option.(See here for details on sewing with fusible thread).)


  1. Diana, Today is my first visit to your online sewing class. What a slendid idea and gift to young sewists. This lesson is very well taught and beautifully illustrated.

  2. Hi Diana, This is a wonderful lesson on understitching. I'm a new sewer and it was so helpful in figuring out what the pattern meant. I'll be coming back to your site to reference your other lessons. I see you haven't posted in several months, I hope that doesn't mean your gone forever! Thanks for explaining understitching so well!

  3. Diana,

    This was a great find to me as a newbie to sewing. Thanks for continuing to make this journey or learning enjoyable!

  4. Thank you for your blog- the description of why you started the blog fits me perfectly (want to learn, no one to show me!). Have been struggling with the concept of understitching, this helps.

  5. Very helpful Diana, thanks so much for the tutorial.