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.

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.

Best stitch length to stitch in the ditch

To lock your quilting pieces together securely, the best stitch length to stitch in the ditch with is 1.5 mm.

Several layers of stitching will ensure you don’t end up with a hole in your quilt, and 1.5 mm is sufficient to keep your pieces together tightly.

Double needle sewing machine compatibility

A double needle will work with your sewing machine if your machine can perform both straight stitches and zigzag stitches.

If your machine can only do one of those two types of stitches a double needle will not work, it’s incompatible.

The best machine quilting stitch length

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.

Difference between stretch and ballpoint needles

Stretch needles have a specially shaped ‘scarf’ or groove on the back side, which ballpoint needles don’t have.

Stretch needles are designed to push through stretchy fabrics, like those used for most swimwear.

Ballpoint needles tend to miss more stitches than stretch needles in stretchy fabrics.

The best sewing needle for satin

A standard needle should be fine to use on satin cloth. I personally prefer a slightly smaller needle and find the results to be better.

Avoid large, heavy-duty needles because they pierce large holes in satin, and avoid very fine pointed needles because they are more likely to develop barbs.

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.

The best universal sewing needle size

The slightly rounded points of the best universal needles are sharp enough to pierce woven cotton fabrics, but not so sharp as to damage knits.

They come in sizes ranging from 60/8 to 120/19, however, a good starting point is the 80/12 size.

To save money, look for assorted needle packs that include two or three different needle sizes.

Why sewing machine needles break

Over time, sewing machine needles suffer stress damage or bend slightly, especially when sewing thick fabric.

Too much bend can cause the needle to strike the feed dogs, throat plate, or bobbin case of the sewing machine.

Excessive needle breaking can be avoided by slowing down while sewing or by using a sharper needle.

Stitching in the ditch by hand