For The Busy Seamstress
Pad stitching is a method used to secure two or more layers of fabric together to give firmness and shaping to a tailored garment. Traditionally, a hair canvas interfacing is used in pad stitching and applied to areas such as lapels and under collars to give support and provide structure; it is applied along the roll line of a lapel and on the collar stand.
I’ve done my share of pad stitching in my life and there are rare circumstances when it may still be the best option. I was taught that pad stitching was the only correct way to shape a tailored garment and I labored under that dictum for years. Today, however, with all the new fusible technologies I rarely pad stitch preferring to use modified speed methods which get the job done in half the time with great results. Knowing how, when and why to pad stitch is not a bad thing, but the same is true for “alternative” pad-stitching techniques.
1. Begin by cutting out the undercollar and fusible interfacing. Both undercollar and interfacing should be cut on the bias to ensure desired rolling effect.
2. Fuse bias interfacing to the undercollar fashion fabric. Some patterns will mark the roll line on the pattern piece, but when no roll line is indicated you will need to determine where it is. To do this, pin undercollar into position on the garment carefully matching placement marks.
3. Hand baste undercollar onto garment.
4. Roll the undercollar into position making sure the back edge extends a 1/4 inch or so over the seam line. (The reason for this will become apparent later.)
5. Once the natural roll line is determined (the fabric will tell you where it wants to roll) mark position of the line with a fabric marker.
6. Remove the undercollar from the garment. Cut a separate piece of interfacing the shape of the area below on the roll line known as the collar stand. This interfacing for the collar stand is cut on grain line to give added support to this area.
7. After applying interfacing to the collar stand, cut a piece of 1/4 inch twill tape the length of the roll line curve.
8. Stitch the twill tape into position keeping tape taut while stitching. Stitch successive lines in the shape of the roll line at 1/8 inch intervals.
9. These stitching lines will be concealed when the collar is applied, provided the roll line was correctly placed (reason for step 4.).
10. Once the collar stand has been stitched, press the under collar along the roll line over the curve of a pressing ham.
11. Pin under collar to a pressing ham and steam thoroughly.
12. Let undercollar rest over night on pressing ham to set the shape permanently.
13. Once the shape has been set, sew under collar to the garment neck line.
14. With tailoring completed, the collar stand should support the roll forming a gentle curve around the neck line.