How to Keep Your Garments from Sagging

I was recently working on a garment for the Fall 2012 issue, and I had made the mistake of falling in love with an inappropriate fabric. It was not the best decision, but I was in love and didn't care. My pattern that I had drafted was for a woven fabric and I had a lovely cobalt blue wool jersey, that was substantial in weight, but with more stretch than a doubleknit. (FYI, doubleknits are the only knits that can be reliably substituted for use with patterns designed for woven fabrics.)

I had rotated my dart to the side seam andI dutifully made my muslin in a comparable fabric, and, oh dear, the French dart was really loose and saggy–not good. (A French dart angles up to the bust from a side seam.) I made a quick lifeline call to a sewing expert buddy and she suggested that perhaps because the dart was on the bias, it was stretching and causing the bustline to sag.

Her solution was to reinforce the dart with a very lightweight fusible interfacing. I chose a light woven fusible and ran the crossgrain along the bias. The crossgrain of a woven fabric has the least amount of stretch, giving me that extra reinforcement that I needed with a wool jersey on the bias.

On the muslin, the darts were sagging. I reinforced the darts on the seamline.

I fused it right on top of the dart seam line after I had sewn the dart. The result was not too pretty on the inside, but when I put the garment on the dress form, it was fantastico!

I fused the interfacing right
on top of the dart. 
The final bodice fits the form perfectly!

I used this technique for doing something a little unorthodox with a knit (i.e. treating it as a woven), but it is a great technique for any seamline that needs reinforcement, especially on the bias. The only thing I would do differently next time is to be a little neater in cutting my interfacing!

If you are itching to try this out on a new project, check out the bumper crop of patterns from Stitch Fall 2011 that are now available for download in the Sew Daily Shop.

Do you have a sewing buddy lifeline? You know, that one person–your mom, your best friend, your sister–who you can call with your burning sewing questions? Tell us about it on the Sew Daily blog.

Happy stitching!


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Couture Sewing & Tailoring Techniques

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

9 thoughts on “How to Keep Your Garments from Sagging

  1. Interesting fix — next time when you cut the interfacing, you might do it with pinking shears. I find that pinked edges are less visible than straight edges.

  2. Amber,
    The stretchability of most woven fabrics, and likely for most woven interfacings, is Least = Lengthwise grain, Moderate = Crosswise grain, Most = Bias…if fact, if you used strips of fabric cut long with the direction of the crosswise grain for the bodice of your garment, they may have done such a good job BECAUSE each had a wee bit of give that worked with the bias of the dart to gently control it.

  3. My sewing buddy lifeline is my sister Elaine. Wait, she’s not just my sewing buddy lifeline, she’s my everything lifeline. Painting? Call Elaine. Decorating? Call Elaine. Cleaning? Call Elaine. Money questions? Call Elaine. I’ve probably said, “My sister Elaine said…” more times than I can count. I don’t know what I’d do without her. Actually, both of my sisters are my heroes, but for different reasons. I wouldn’t ask my sister Lorraine anything about sewing or crafts, but there’s nothing else that she can’t do. I am very blessed to have them in my life.

  4. No, not any more. I moved away from my one friend that knew about pattern drafting and the ins and outs of garment construction, and the other one is gone. I miss both of them because no one around where I live makes garments anymore. We’ve all become quilters.

  5. I have often taken a woven pattern and turned it into a knit garment but have never tried it the other way around. Thanks for suggestion. I sew exclusively with knits of all kinds mostly on my sergers. So i like patterns that are quick, easy with no buttons, no zippers. I can whip up a garment in an hour or so and with my time as a designer so short that gives me time to sew for myself. I am the buddy lifeline among all my friends who sew which are few but they would love to learn. I have a lovely website at if you are interested in seeing my designs. I make everything on the site at the moment. I like sew daily a lot. Keep up the good work.