Techniques to Stabilize a Seams

Sometimes, when sewing, it is necessary to stabilize the seam to avoid it gets stretched. If we don’t do this, the finished measurements of the garment might vary.
Stabilizing seams is required either for wovens or knits.
The areas that must be stabilized are those where the cut is on the bias of the fabric.

Two methods can be used when stabilizing a seam:

  1. making a stitching along the seam allowance
  2. adding a stay tape (or silicone or knitted fabrics with a lot of elasticity).

You can apply the best-suited method for your garment, depending on the type of fabric used and the cost of the garment.

Seams

As mentioned before, we need to stabilize the areas that are cut on the bias. The seams are usually curves or diagonals such as necklines and armholes.

Usually, you don’t need to stabilize the entire seem. So you can work on those areas that require it.

Stabilizing by a Stitching (Stay Stitch)

The “stay stitch” consists of a topstitch parallel to the seam allowance, placed 3mm from the edge. This stitch is the first step before starting sewing the garment.

Use a short stitch length (between 2 and 2.5 stitches per centimeter) with a tone to tone thread, since the stitch will remain on the garment once it’s finished.
Keep in mind that the bias cut could change the shape of the seam easily, so it must be stabilized immediately after cutting the pieces (before ironing or embroidering).
Make sure the stitching is always in the same direction, from top to bottom.

Stabilizing by an Interfacing Tape with Chain Stitching

Stabilizing tape is a thermo-adhesive tape cut at the bias. Its width goes from 8 to 13mm, and ti has either a chain stitching or a cord right in the middle. The one with a chain stitching suits better on lightweight fabrics, and the one with a corded tape works better on heavyweight fabrics.

Since it’s thermo-adhesive, it’s secured to the fabric by ironing. When heating the tape, the iron must not slide to avoid distortions of the shape.

Place the tape between the seam allowance and the edge.

Silicone Stabilizer Tape

The silicone stabilizer tape is a very elastic and transparent polyurethane tape of 9mm in width.
The tape is attached to the fabric by a stitch.

Bias Stay Tape

The bias stay tape is a 100% cotton tape made of a very light fabric. It’s mostly used on lightweight fabrics. You’ll find tape in different widths.

Depending on the factory and the cost of the garment, one method or another will be applied. Or non-method might be applied. As a product developer, it is good that you know them and require them to improve your samples.

Olga Fuenmayor

Olga Fuenmayor

Editor at Seampedia.
Fashion Technical Management / Consulting
Model development / Quality control / Production control.

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