Sewing · Tutorial

Perfect Edge Stitching with a Stitch-in-the-Ditch Foot

Sew Well - Perfect Edge Stitching

I’ve started working on my winterized BurdaStyle twisted dress, the one that I mentioned the other day as wanting to shorten and add sleeves to.  Step one is to clean up the back v-neck edge with some self binding.  I really like this step – the way the instructions have you do it makes a great V.  (Yes, I did just compliment BurdaStyle instructions.)  After the bit of magic that makes the perfect V shape, the instructions have you fold the binding over to the underside of the garment to encase the raw edges.   They then suggest you topstitch 1/4″ away from the edge to lock the binding in place.

This method works perfectly fine.

But, what I like to do instead is use my stitch-in-the-ditch foot (aka edge-joining foot) to get the binding stitched down perfectly along its edge.  It takes a tiny bit more time because I have to hunt through my collection of feet in order to find my stitch-in-the-ditch foot, but I think it saves time in the end because the foot does all the thinking for me once it’s on the machine.  You see, this foot has a blade down its center.  If you place that blade in a seam and have your needle set to its center position, then your needle will stitch directly in the seam, or in the ditch as they say.  But, if you scoot the needle a bit to one side or the other, the needle will stitch just along the edge of whatever the blade is against.  And, each stitch is exactly the same distance away from center as every other stitch since the distance between the blade and the needle never changes.  It makes for some pretty perfect edge stitching.

In the case of the neck binding here, I threw my stitch-in-the-ditch foot on my machine, moved my needle a smidge over to the left, lined the blade on the foot up with the edge of the binding, and stitched away.  Hopefully it’s clear from the photo below.

Sew Well - Perfect Edge Stitching

Easy peasy, right?!  But, it does require having an extra foot in your sewing arsenal.  Anyone have any tips for perfect edge stitching for those without a stitch-in-the-ditch foot?

24 thoughts on “Perfect Edge Stitching with a Stitch-in-the-Ditch Foot

  1. I don’t yet have a stitch-in-the-ditch foot, but I do have an edge stitching foot that has transformed my life. You can’t use it to stitch in the ditch or get very far away from the edge of the fabric, but my edge stitching looks fantastic and it’s so easy!

  2. i don’t have that presser foot, but i do have a blind hem foot that i can adjust to act as a stitching guide. sometimes i also pull out my 1/4″ quilt pieceing foot to use for perfect topstitching. so much easier to get consistent stitching!

    1. Yes, my blind-hem foot is similar to my stitch-in-the-ditch foot, only the blind-hem foot has an adjustable blade. I bet it would be great if you couldn’t move your needle from center! And, since my machine came with one, I bet I could have saved myself the $10!

      1. I have a blind hem foot too, which I use for the same purpose described. However, it’s not perfect IMO. The adjustable blade is just a little bit wobbly. I think that the stitch-in-the-ditch foot, if the blade is firm, would be better. Something else to put on my list!

    1. I think so, too. I really got it to help with stitching in the ditch (something I just never got the hang of without it), but I use it far more often for edge stitching. I just have to remember to recenter my needle after I take off the foot!

    1. I know. I have so many feet thanks to Amazon. A teflon foot, a foot with rollers, a walking foot, a ruffler. The list goes on and on. I once bought a whole set of rolled hem feet for all different sizes of hems because I loved my teeny tiny rolled hem foot. Unfortunately, I’ve never successfully used any of the larger rolled hem feet. One day I’ll learn I keep telling myself. Until then, they just sit and collect dust!

  3. I am going to look through my sewing feet. This looks like it would make sewing a nice even neckline. I can’y wait to see how the dress truns out. I love your fabric choice.

    1. No problem! This foot works really well for stitching in the ditch. Before I bought it, I would hand stitch anything that called for stitching in the ditch because I just couldn’t get a perfectly straight line down the seam. Now this foot does the hard work for me. But, I find that I use it much more often for edge stitching! Particularly on button down shirts!

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