Effective Use of Directional Sewing

To prevent twisting in a garment, all seams should be sewn up from the bottom of the garment, or sewn down from the top of the garment. High-end sews up.
Diagram shows directional sewing used in industry when sewing high-end garments.

High-end garments are sewn up from the hem.

Sewing up from the bottom of the garment, is more difficult than sewing down, as the seam’s two plies must meet, notch-to-notch, both at the beginning and at the end of the seam. Operators who sew up are generally paid more than operators who sew down as they as a rule are highly skilled.


Diagram shows directional sewing used in industry when sewing low-end garments.

Low-end garments are sewn down from the neck.

Sewing down from the top of the garment, is easier than sewing up from the bottom of the garment.  If the seam’s two plies do not meet at the hem, the hem can just be sewn a bit off skew. Operators who sew down are generally less skilled than operators who sew up.

Zippers are except from this rule
A lapped hand-pricked zipper's first seam.

A lapped hand-pricked zipper’s first seam is sewn up from the bottom stop.

Zippers are sewn up and down, instead of always in the same direction

Which direction a zipper is sewn depends on which direction allows the ply with the most ease to be sewn down to the feed.

Zipper being sewn down.

The lapped, hand-pricked zipper’s third seam is sewn down.








Unless fabric is fused, it has give; zipper tapes have almost no give.

Presser foot and feed dog

The feed dog moves the bottom ply back. The presser foot lifts and drops as the fabric is moved back. This allows the feed dog to ease in a ply of fabric that has more give.




Laying the ply with the most ease down to the feed enables the feed dog to ease in the slight stretch in the bottom ply, allowing the two or more plies to be sewn together correctly. This is why industry sews zippers first one direction and then the other.  Zipper tapes have almost no ease, making it almost impossible to sew a zipper correctly to a seam allowance if the zipper is down to the feed.


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