Do You Backstitch When Stay Stitching

Backstitch is one of the commonest stitches or, as others may put it, one of the oldest techniques in sewing. It is helpful in embroidery, hand sewing, and machine sewing.

In most cases, it is quite useful to hold the seam together and make sure it does not come undone. It strengthens the seam and stops it from unraveling. That’s why it is sewn both at the beginning and end of the fabric. In embroidery, however, it is sometimes used as a decorative stitch.

One of the commonest questions among people who sew is whether or not you can do a backstitch when Stay stitching. This article will address this question.

Can Someone Backstitch When Stay Stitching?

No, you do not need to backstitch when Stay stitching. A stay stitch goes on all curved and straight areas of the fabric. If the length is shortened and sewn at the start and end, it has the same effect as a backstitch.

That’s why you do not need a backstitch when Stay stitching. However, although not necessary, backstitching is not completely out of the picture. If one wants, they can still backstitch when making stay stitches.

How to Stay Stitch Properly?

To the question, does one need a stay stitch? The answer is yes. Consider making a stay stitch a part of your sewing project. It helps to create beautiful finishes for your fabric.

To properly stay stitch, think about the distance from the edge of the fabric, the direction the stitches will run, and where you want to start and finish the stitch.

You can also stay stitch as soon as you cut your fabric. It helps to ensure the fabric does not stretch out on curved edges. It also prevents the fraying of the fabric.

The best length for stay stitches is 2 mm. The stitch should be straight and not zigzag. It should also be short from start to finish.

The following is how you can properly stitch common stay stitch areas.

1. Stay Stitching Necklines

The way to stay stitch a neckline will depend on the type of neckline. For Curved and V-neck necklines, you start your stay stitch from the shoulder to the center front, then move down to the center-back. After you reach the center back, you should stop and snip the fabric. Then, repeat the process on the opposite shoulder.

Note that sewing from one shoulder to the other distorts the fabric in that direction. That’s why you should not sew from one shoulder to the other.

For V-neckline, always find a way to stabilize them when stitching to avoid gaping. For example, you can use sew stay tape as a stabilizer as you sew the stay stitch.

2. Stay Stitching Armholes

The sewing direction is equally important when sewing armholes. Always start from the shoulder and move down to the underarm. Do the same for the back, armhole.

3. Stay Stitching Style Lines

The style line will determine how you should stay stitch. For example, if you are sewing a dress that is not on grain with the straight grain, you should consider a stay stitch.

Sewing tops and other dresses may need you to stitch a slightly curved seam of a princess seam. How tight or loose the fabric’s weave is will equally determine if you should sew the stay stitch.

4. Stay Stitching Facings

The Facing pieces will need to match the main pieces.  You should start to stitch the facings if the pattern pieces that the facing will be attached to have stay stitches. If you stitch the pattern or main pieces but not the facings, you may find that they do not match later.

How to Stay Stitch Without Backstitch?

As earlier said, you do not need a backstitch when sew stitching. However, some of the general steps to follow to sew a stitch without a backstitch are below.

Step 1: Know Where to Sew

Knowing where to sew is the first thing to note when sewing a stay stitch. You should make sure you stitch all curved areas of the garment at risk of distortion. Keeping the curved edges firm will require you to sew stitches that are slightly smaller than a normal sew stitch.

Step 2: Mark Your Seam

Marking your seam is simply drawing a seam allowance line using a removable pen or chalk and a ruler. You should only draw the line covering the seams you plan your stay stitch and not just anywhere. It will act as a guide, increase accuracy and help you visualize as you sew.

Place pins on the marks you make to hold the fabric together. Make sure you place the heads of the pins on the outside for easy removal as you sew.

Step 3: Sewing Your Stay Stitch

When sewing the stitches, follow the marks you put using either chalk or a removable pin and the pins.  Despite marking where you want your stitches to appear, consider the area you are sewing.

For example, consider if it is an armhole, neckline, dress curve, et cetera. It will guide you on where to start your stitch from at this point. For instance, stitching a neckline will require you to start from one shoulder and move to the center.

When sewing curves, consider sewing them in one motion. If the curves are tight, stop with the needle down on the sewing machine.

After which, lift the presser foot, pivot the fabric, and then sew the stitches. You can adjust as much as needed to get the desired outcome. If the curve is complicated, use the handwheel to have control.

Step 4: Clipping

Removal of any excess fabric is the fourth step. It helps in preserving the smoothness of the sewn part.

For curves, cut triangular notches out of the seam allowance to get a smooth finish.

How to Prevent Backstitch While Making a Stay Stitch?

The trick to prevent a backstitch while making a stay stitch is to begin and end all your seams with short stitches.

Instead of pressing the reverse button to form a backstitch, using a sewing machine reduces your stitch length. Set the stitch length down to make 18-20 short stitches per inch. For a good number of machines, this means setting the length down to number 1.

Short stitches do a wonderful job of securing your seams. In addition, they help in eliminating bulk even after trimming the seam allowance. As a result, this helps to create neat and flat corners.

Essential Tips for Stay Stitching

There are some crucial tips you can follow when stitching. Below are four of the essential tips to follow.

1. Stay Stitching Curves

Always set your stitch length to 1.5 mm when stitching curves. This length creates small stitches and creates a stronger bond.

Remember, curves can have different requirements during the stay stitching process. For example, convex curves will differ from concave curves on certain things.

However, the difference is usually not much; it can be as simple as whether to clip the seam allowance or not.

2. Maintain the Standard Stay Stitch Length and Distance From the Edge

It is advisable to sew your stitches 1/8″ from the sewing line. If the seam allowance of the fabric is 5/8″ (15 mm), sew the stitch ½” away from the raw edge.

3. Know When to Sew a Stay Stitch

A stay stitch is apparent within the seam allowance. Always sew a stay stitch right after cutting the fabric to stop the fabric from stretching out of shape. Then, depending on the fabric, move it around a few times to avoid it from stretching.

4. Take a Position to Start the Stitch

Curved areas like necklines will require you to stitch from the edge of the shoulder to the center. Then, repeat the process on the other shoulder. Again, it helps in making sure the stitches are even on both sides.

Make sure you do not sew the stitch across the seam line because it will show on the right side of the garment.

What Stitch Length Should I Use for Stay Stitching?

Stay stitching uses a tight length of 2 mm. The small stitches keep the edges firm. You don’t need to take out stay stitches like basting stitches. Instead, you can sew the row of a stay stitch 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch from the seam line and within the seam allowance.

Never sew on the seam line because the stitches will end up showing on the right side of the garment.

Do You Remove Stay Stitching?

No, it is not necessary to remove stay stitching. The stay stitch is sewn within the seam allowance area or below the seam line. That makes it invisible on the right side of the garment when it is complete.

You should also not remove the stay stitch because it stabilizes the fabric and prevents it from stretching or distorting.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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