What is stay tape? Basically it stabilises seams, stopping knits and curved, woven, seams from stretching. Mostly used for necklines, armholes and shoulder seams, stay tape is so useful. Usually it is enough to hold the seam length permanently but some of this will depend on placement of seam tape. We use this for The Aeolian Tee / Dress neckline, The Celestial Dress neckline and armholes for the super light fabrics and The Terra Pant, waist seam and front pocket opening.
It is a great alternative to doing a row of stay stitching, which can stretch your fabric just from sewing it in, or from cutting out fuseable interfacing in the shape of your pattern piece, which can get a bit tedious.
You can buy stay tape pre-made. But it is easy enough to make and you can alter the width, tape and thread weight, according to your needs.
Making stay tape
- Use a light, knit or bias cut woven interfacing, it needs to stretch.
- Cut the interfacing into long strips as long as possible 8mm to 12mm wide. On the bias for woven interfacing and across the stretch for knitted interfacing.
( I have only cut short strips here to illustrate technique. Using a rotary cutter makes this heaps easier.)
- Sew rows of straight stitching down the lengths. Keep the rows 2-3mm from one edge. Here we have used the blind hem foot as a stitch guide, it's not necessary but if you are sewing metres it does help with lapses of concentration.
Applying stay tape
- Before cutting the length for your project give the stay tape a bit of a stretch to take out any slack.
- Run the tape along the sewing lines of the pattern piece, like a measuring tape. Cut to length.
- With a dry iron* press tape with the stitched line landing just next to the garments' seam line (a guesstimation is fine).
- Try to keep the tape off most of the garments seam allowance. Just cover where your seam will be sewn. Otherwise it will thicken the seam allowance making it harder to press flat.
* Steam from ironing can be enough to warp super delicate fabrics. If your fabric is growing just with minimal handling. You can trace your pattern to the fabric, press stay tape in place and then cut out the pattern piece.