Best Stitch Length To Stitch In The Ditch

To lock your quilting pieces together securely, the best stitch length to stitch in the ditch is 2.5 mm – 3 mm, or about 8–12 stitches per inch.

Several layers of stitching will ensure you don’t end up with a hole in your quilt, however 2.5 mm – 3 mm is sufficient to keep your pieces together tightly even with one pass.

Use a medium-length stitch so that the quilting stitches are strong and secure, but not so long that they create unsightly gaps in the seam lines.

Stitch length for machine quilting

The best stitch length for machine quilting is 2.5 to 3.0 which will give you 8 to 12 stitches per inch.

Adjust your stitch length based on fabric thickness and weight, Stronger fabrics often require fewer stitches per inch, but pieces with heavy padding require more.

Why you should stitch in the ditch

Stitching in the ditch, also known as sewing between quilting borders, helps stabilize fabric and maintain straight lines while quilting.

Stitching in the ditch is optional, but can prevent pattern distortion and should be done before adding any quilting design above the border.

Tips for stitching in the ditch

My top 3 suggestions are to use a quilting ruler to keep those seams straight, hide your stitches with invisible thread or a thread that matches the fabric and avoid stitching on the bulky side of the ditch.

There isn’t always going to be a bulky side, perfectly straight seam or way to hide the thread but keeping these three tips in mind should help yield better results.

Stitching in the ditch by hand

Stitching in the ditch tucks two fabrics together along their seam, a process that can be done just as accurately by hand.

The main benefit of stitching the ditch by hand is that it allows you to place your stitches more precisely.

Overall, the choice is yours, but you can do this task by hand or by machine, whichever you prefer.

Best stitch length to stitch in the ditch

Needle type that works best on batting

A quilting needle works best on batting because it has a thin shaft.

Machine quilting with a quilting needle is ideal for pushing through top, batting and binding materials.

The slightly rounded tip and tapered shaft of a quilting needle easily pierces several layers of woven fabric, without damaging them.

How to finish silk seams

For the perfect silk seam finish, wrap the sewn edges together by sewing them in and make sure they are flat.

Shorten the stitch length to 2 mm to reduce the number of puckers you have.

Don’t pull the silk fabric through your machine, just guide it, and keep a little pressure before and after the stitch so the silk stays tight.

About stitch in the ditch with open seams

Stitch in the ditch doesn’t work on seams that have been pressed open.

This style only works on seams that have been pressed to the side.

Securing the quilt top to the batting and backing requires the semi-flat surface created by side-spread seams.

Embroidery needles vs sewing needles

Embroidery needles have larger eyes than regular sewing needles to accommodate embroidery thread.

The sharp tips on embroidery needles penetrate tightly woven fabric and felt better.

Embroidery needles, sometimes called crewel needles, are used for crewel embroidery

Schmetz needles work in Singer sewing machines

Schmetz home sewing needles work with all major sewing machine brands including Baby Lock, Brother, Elna, Janome, Husqvarna Viking, New Home, Pfaff and Singer.

Home sewing machines use needle system 130/705.

The best sewing machine needle for cotton

The best needles for sewing cotton fabric are medium-sized needles such as 80/12 and 90/14.

They work well with quilting pieces, lightweight upholstery, denim, cotton, silk and other fabrics of similar weight.

Stitch in the ditch F.A.Q.

What stitch do you use for stitch in the ditch?

Many quilters stitch 1/8-inch or 1/4-inch from seam lines, a technique called outline quilting, which creates an outline of patches.

Should you always stitch in the ditch?

Several quilters I know choose to stitch the ditch as a first step before adding quilting designs to the border of their sewing projects.

Benefits include stabilizing the fabric, maintaining straight lines and preventing distortion.

What stitch length do you use with a walking foot?

1.5 mm is a good starting stitch length when using a walking foot, however, for some tasks such as stitching in the ditch a 2.5 mm – 3 mm stitch length is better.

Results vary by fabric type and thread quality, so try stitching on a scrap piece to test your setup.