How (and why) to Under stitch a Seam

  Once you start sewing, and especially once you start sewing with patterns, you fall into a world of stitches.  Top stitch, under stitch, back stitch, stitch in the ditch…it’s enough to make a person crazy!  None of these are particularly difficult to do, but if you’re just starting to sew, it can all seem a bit like a foreign language.

  Today I thought I’d talk about under stitching.
  Under stitching is mostly used in circumstances where you have a lined garment and you don’t want that lining to show.  Necklines and armholes on sleeveless shirts are the biggest places you’ll see this instruction.  If you look at the top picture above, you can see that a finished, under stitched piece pulls the smallest bit of the exterior fabric to the interior of the garment.  This ensures that the lining stays out of sight.
  To under stitch your seam, start by sewing it as usual.  Follow your pattern’s instructions for seam allowance and press the seam flat.
  Now, press the seam allowance (that you just pressed open) all towards your lining side.  In my picture the muslin is the lining.  Once the seam allowances for both fabrics are pressed to the inside/lining, stitch on top of the seam allowances, through the lining, close to the seam.  You’re looking for about 1/8″ away from where you’re original line of stitching is.
  When you are done it should look something like this:
…and on the finished side.
  Fold your seam so your lining is on the inside and your outer fabric is, well, on the outside, and iron the edge.  It should finish nicely like the top picture.
  A Quick Note
  Because this technique is typically used for necklines and armholes, it’s pretty likely you’ll be using this on a curved seam.  I used a straight seam just for ease of photographing and clarity in the shots, but it’s the exact same process for a curved one, except that you may need to clip your curves.  I suggest clipping them before you iron the seam allowances towards your lining as this will let them lay the flattest and cause you the fewest headaches.
  Good luck and let me know if you have any questions, comments or requests for future tutorials!

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