Feathers Flights // Sewing Blog: How To Understitch


How To Understitch

Understitching is to keep a seamed edge from showing and keeps a facing or lining from flipping out. I know this might not make much sense right now, but hopefully it will after you see the pictures. When I first learned about understitching, I was completely lost until I saw it done.
Anyway, start with a #5 foot or the foot with the little fence.
Position your fabric under the foot with the fence right on the seam. Move your needle to the facing or lining piece. In my example, the blue checked fabric is what will be seen from the outside. The green checked fabric is the facing, lining, or inside fabric. The inside fabric will not be seen when being worn.

Make sure that all the seam allowance underneath is pushed to the side that is the inside fabric.
See seam allowance is on the right, and my needle is on the right.
Sew along the entire seam. It should look like this.
The inside should look like this. The dark thread is the original seam, the pink thread is the underside of the understitching. All the seam allowance is pushed to one side and sewn down.

When the seam is folded to be finished, none of the inside fabric shows. I am folding along the seam, but the understitching keeps the inside fabric from showing.
This is the view from the inside. The seam and stitching line shows.
This is my attempt to show you both sides at once. The crease of the fabric is right next to the seam.
Here is an example of the neckline of a dress. The blue fabric is the lining and the patterned fabric is the fashion fabric. The lining is held down by the understitching. The peach fabric is a little ruffle.
Understitching can also be used when there is something between the fashion fabric and lining like ruffles or piping. This is the neckline of my photoshoot dress. The understitching keeps the piping lie flat and the lining inside.
I hope that this makes sense! Good luck with your understitching!


  1. thank you so much, this is by far the clearest explanation and illustrations I've found

  2. Rekha Rokkam9/17/12, 1:21 PM

    Can Edge stitching be used instead of understitching ?? Both look so much the same to me

    1. Edge stitching can be used instead but then it shows. Understitching will not show on the outside of the garment so it depends on the look you're going for.

  3. thank you so much for your wonderful tutorial. I love the two color thread and that helped me understand so much better how this technique needs to be done. woo!!

  4. thanks for your good explanation. Now I got it ;-)


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