If you like to wear fitted garments or pieces of clothing that are more subject to wear and tear, I would suggest you reinforce or stabilise your seam allowance. The process is actually very straight forward.
Simply sew a piece of stay tape onto your seam, straightly on top of the seam line. On bulky fabrics you can sew the stabiliser 1/8 inch (0.3cm) past the seam line, into the seam allowance to avoid bulk.
Ideally you need to match your ‘stabiliser’ according to the material you are using. For example:
- For heavy woollens, denim and heavier weight fabric use 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) twill tape.
- For medium weight fabrics use a strip of narrow ribbon, rayon tape or even the fabric selvage.
- For lightweight or sheer fabrics use sheer nylon tricot tape, double strip of tulle or selvage of silk organza.
- For knits use clear elastic to help prevent excess stretching and seam-stressing. Specially important on the shoulder seams. You can also use strips of fusible nylon tricot interfacing.
If you are cutting your stabiliser remember that if you are stabilising curved edges cutting on the bias will lay better. Otherwise follow the straight-grain.
Sewing 101 is a bite-size sewing technique post. Previous posts of these series: Underlining, Snaps, Buttonholes, Knits reference guide, Know your presser feet. If there is any technique that you would like me to feature on the “sewing 101 series” do let me know on the comments.