How to Pin in the Ditch to Stitch in the Ditch on Top

Pin in the ditch to top stitch a sleeve band.

How to Pin in the Ditch to Stitch in the Ditch on Top

When sewing a sleeve or neckband to a garment, you may see the instructions to pin in the ditch. This technique is really handy so don’t ignore it like I did the first few times!

When putting a band on a sleeve, we want the finished sleeve to be as pretty as possible. Top stitching the band in place is easy when you know how to pin the band correctly.

First, sew your band to the sleeve.

Pinning a sleeve band to stitch.
Sewing a band to a sleeve.

Press the band up on the front after sewing it to the sleeve.

The band strip (shown sticking out underneath) is flipped over and pressed to the inside. The reason to ‘pin in the ditch’ is so you can top stitch or ‘stitch in the ditch’ from the front, and not miss covering the seam in the back.

Sleeve band sewn and ready to cover back seam.
Pin a sleeve band from the front.

Watch the video below to learn how to use this technique!

Holding the band in the back with your finger over the seam, pin in the seamline on the front (in the ditch).

Pinning the band from the front of the sleeve.
Pin from the front sleeve band leaving some material under the pin.

Check the back as you pin. The band should cover the seam with the pin having a bit of the band underneath it. This ensures that when you stitch on top, it catches the sleeve band.

Stitch on top right under the seam.

Finished sleeve band, stitched from the front.

All done! I hope this short tutorial was helpful!


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