Following my earlier article on staystitching, Anne Bell left a message on the Facebook page to say she would like to learn more about Understitching. Me too Anne, so I've read lots of articles on the matter and carried out a few tests. I admit, sometimes when it came to the instruction for understitching on a pattern, I've skipped it because I didn't really understand what they were asking or why it was needed. So at last, a guide to understitching a facing, neckline or lining.
What is U
Definition -assists a facing or lining to stay to the inside and un-seen. It is stitching that is sewn as close to the seam line as possible holding the graded seam allowance to the facing or lining.
None the wiser? Let's have a look at what it does. In a lined garment, the understitching is there to keep facings and linings from peaking out, especially around necklines and armholes and around the waist on a lined skirt to stop the lining riding up. It also means that when turned and pressed, the seam line tends to favor the inside of the garment. It will give a nice neat and professional finished look from the outside.
The understitching itself is not visible from the outside of the garment, it's part of its foundations, a little like the staystitching.
How to U
Grade seams if necessary. Trim down both seam allowances by about half, then trim down the lining or facing seam allowance a little more. Clip curved seams such as necklines and armholes.
Press seam allowance towards the facing or lining using your fingers only. We'll press with an iron once its finished.
Sew with right side upwards. Sew 1/8th inch away from the seam line, through the lining and both seam allowances. Sew with 0.5 extra stitch length over your regular stitch to allow for the extra thickness if necessary.
Press now with an iron, allowing the facing or lining to sit well onto the inside. You'll usually see a little bit of the outer fabric turned over and this helps to get the very best finish.
On lofty or thick fabrics you can use a triple zig-zag stitch as the understitch too.
Having given this a real test now on some scraps of fabric, I can really see the benefit and how it creates a beautiful finish, keeping the lining or facings from peeping out. I'll certainly be doing this when patterns call for it in future – and maybe even if they don't!
Don't forget, if you have any sewing requests or questions, do ask – you can pop on over to the Facebook page for a chat. I'm still new to sewing so can't promise to solve all your sewing problems, but I will try!