/how-to: match stripes without using pins


Ok, so calling this a full-on legit sewing method would be a bit of a stretch- it's just a really useful shortcut I've found for sewing stripes together (for matching when cutting, here's a helpful tip). This post may very well have TMI, but I guess the more you know...?

I first bought Steam-a-Seam lite 2 because it was recommended to finish knit hems before I bought a coverstitch machine. That worked very well, and I've found many more uses for the stuff. It's great for placing pockets, appliques, sleeve cuffs- anything you want to stay perfectly put while sewing. There are some jobs pins are just not great at. I prefer Steam-a-Seam to using a fabric glue stick now, because it is easier to apply without shifting threads around.

This technique is especially helpful with matching stripes, plaids or prints on stretchy knits or when working along a bias cut or curved seamline.

With backing still on, sticky side down, place the Steam-a-Seam along your seam line so that the outer edge is at the seam allowance. My seam allowance for this sample was 1/2". Press the tape in place, making sure it's even all the way down the seam.

Peel off the backing, making sure the tape doesn't shift around. Now the top is sticky as well.

 Match each stripe and press down separately.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you are matching the stripes on the seamline, not the in the seam allowance. You will need to flip up the entire top pattern piece to see it is matched as perfectly as possible along the seamline.
Press the seam in place with your hand first- straight up and down.

 Press again to fuse with a dry iron. The Steam-a-Seam fuses like an interfacing, but on both sides. Be sure to lift and press the iron down along the seam; gliding may shift the fabric, and therefore the stripes. After this step you won't be able to re-align the stripes, so double check that they're flush before fusing.

This is the best part! Stitch using whichever machine you are sewing with. No stopping to take out pins or check on those stripes!

Note: I've never tried using Stitch Witchery or any other kind of fusible web for this purpose (and they may work), but I know that the Steam-a-Seam has yet to gum up any of my machines or needles. No $$ endorsement here, just truth.

 Turn seam right side out and get that satisfaction that only comes from nicely matched stripes!

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