Sewing & Pattern making Terms

Stitch in the Ditch

As a skilled seamstress or pattern maker, you’re always on the lookout for techniques that elevate the quality and appearance of your finished garments. One such technique is “stitch in the ditch” which is widely used for creating seamless and professional-looking seam finishes. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the concept of stitch in the ditch, its purpose and how to execute it flawlessly in your sewing projects.

What is The “Stitch in the Ditch” Technique?

Stitch in the ditch is a technique where you sew along the existing seam line, precisely stitching in the groove or “ditch” created by the seam allowances.

The Purpose and Benefits of Stitch in the Ditch

  1. Seam Concealment:
  • The primary purpose of stitch in the ditch is to conceal the seam allowance within the fabric layers, creating a clean and polished look on the right side of the garment.
  • This technique is particularly useful when working with fabrics where visible seams would detract from the overall aesthetic.
  1. Stability and Reinforcement:
  • Stitching in the ditch adds an additional layer of stability and reinforcement to the seam, enhancing the durability of the garment.
  • It helps to secure the seam allowances in place, preventing them from shifting or fraying over time.

How To “Stitch in the Ditch”?

  1. Preparation:
  • Before starting, press the seam allowances open or toward one side to create a distinct ditch.
  1. Equipment and Settings:
  • Use a sewing machine with a straight stitch setting or a blind hem stitch, depending on the desired outcome.
  • Ensure that the needle is positioned accurately in the ditch to achieve precise stitching.
  1. Stitching Technique:
  • Align the fabric layers and position the needle in the ditch, starting at one end of the seam.
  • Stitch slowly and steadily, following the seam line and guiding the fabric under the presser foot.
  • Maintain even tension to prevent puckering or distortion of the fabric.
  • Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam to secure the stitches.

Variations and Tips for Successful Stitch in the Ditch

  1. Topstitching:

For decorative purposes or added reinforcement, you can incorporate topstitching along the seam line after stitching in the ditch. This technique adds a professional touch and highlights the seam, creating a decorative element.

  1. Invisible Stitch in the Ditch:

When working with fabrics where the seam should be completely invisible, use a blind hem stitch to stitch in the ditch. This technique ensures that the stitches are nearly undetectable on the right side of the fabric.

  1. Practice and Precision:

Stitch in the ditch requires precision and control. Practice on scraps or sample pieces to perfect your technique before applying it to your project. Take your time and pay attention to aligning the fabric layers and positioning the needle accurately in the ditch.


Mastering the stitch in the ditch technique is a valuable skill for achieving impeccable seam finishes in your sewing projects. By concealing seam allowances and adding stability, this technique enhances the overall appearance and longevity of your garments. With practice and attention to detail, you can seamlessly incorporate stitch in the ditch into your sewing repertoire, elevating the quality of your creations. So, embrace this technique and watch as your seams transform into polished, professional finishes that showcase your craftsmanship and attention to detail.

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Melissa Villegas
Pattern Maker &


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