Tutorial: “Stitch in the Ditch” doesn’t have to be a B****
“Stitch in the ditch” is a sewing technique which is often used in quilting, but also in garment construction. It’s as simple as it sounds: you stitch right into a seam (‘ditch’), so that your stitches become (almost) invisible.
When making a dress with a lined bodice, for instance, “stitch in the ditch” is generally used to achieve a waist line which is professionally finished on the inside. In the Tinny pattern, for instance, this technique is used:
That is much prettier than a serged waistline seam, right? And on the right side of the dress, the stitches are hidden in the seam.Still, stitching in the ditch can be challenging some times. Or, as some would put it, it can be a real bitch. So that’s why I came up with a little trick. First I’ll explain how stitch in the ditch is usually done.
The classic way: Pin it like a pro
This is the classic way to “stitch in the ditch”: First pin the lining in place on the inside of the dress, using a ridiculous amount of pins to get a perfect result…
… and then turn the dress right side out, and stitch right into the ditch from the right side of the garment, and remove the pins.
Weaknesses of this method:
– Putting a few dozens of pins into a waistline? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
– More importantly: the pins disrupt the “ditch”, which is now no longer a straight line, and makes it very difficult to keep stitching right into the ditch. I highlighted the ditch in the picture below:
It’s far from easy to stitch right into a crooked ditch like this. Some seamstresses solve this problem by first pinning on the wrong side, then pinning between those pins from the right side, then removing the pins on the wrong side, and then stitching from the right side while removing the pins one by one as they stitch along. Needless to say, this takes a lot of time.
My way: Baste it like a boss
So here is how I do it:
1. First, I pin the lining in place from the wrong side, just like in the classic way. However, I need to use no more than a few pins, because…
2. … next I set my stitch length to maximum, and baste stitch the lining in place. I’m doing this with the garment still wrong side out, so I can keep the lining in place with my fingers as I stitch. No need to put in dozens of pins.
3. Then I remove the pins, and turn the garment right side out. I set my stitch length to normal again, and stitch right into the ditch…
… which is now, as you can see, a straight line with no corners:
And then I remove the basting thread. The result is a stitch line which is invisible on the outside of the dress…
… and a neat finish on the inside.
So you get better results in much less time. 🙂