Using Stay Tape on Necklines and Seams

Stay tape is applied to necklines and other garment edges to stabilize and support them, avoiding the dreaded stretched-out gaping neckline! Stay tape also prevents shoulder seams from stretching out as well.

I picked this up at Fabricana’s last half-price notions sale, figuring it would come in handy. And look, it did!

For this dress (Simplicity 3965), I wanted to add little touches to make the simple style extra-special and beautifully-made. Adding quality details like stay tape help the garment keep its shape and last longer!

The thing about this stay tape is that nowhere on the package does it tell you where exactly it goes! I had a moment of doubt – does it go on the right side of the neckline or the wrong side? (Maybe the answer is obvious to you, but late-night sewing makes me more likely to question myself!) A quick Google search didn’t turn up any answers, either.

I thought it over and realized if I applied it to the right side, there’s a chance it might show. So I applied it to the wrong side of my front neckline, back neckline, and shoulder seams.

Tip: cut it in half to double the amount! If you use the same stuff I did, it won’t fray. Plus, I found it easier to work with the narrower width especially around the curves.

Tip: pin in the direction you plan to sew, this will make it easier to remove the pins as you go!

Here you can see I’ve pinned the stay tape to the front neckline and the shoulder seamline:

Next, I’ve pinned the stay tape to the back neckline:

Here’s what the bodice looks like, with stay tape pinned to all of the edges:

Now, sew on the stay tape! Stitch right through the stay tape just inside your seam allowances. I’ve drawn on the photo below to show where the seamline is, where the stay tape is placed, and where you stitch.

Tip: save your selvages and use them as stay tape on the same project, or other projects!

I hope this was helpful! If you’ve just stumbled upon this post here are the rest in the series:

Just a few more details to go – ok, quite a few more – before the dress is finished!

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17 Responses to Using Stay Tape on Necklines and Seams

  1. Nikole October 15, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    You did put the stay tape in the correct place.

    One thing I would have differently is stitch the darts on the pieces separately, trim the dart excess and press the dart flat on both pieces (to prevent bulk) then turn the underlining around so the dart excess is hidden between both pieces or if you’re going to line it cut out the darts from the underlining completely, hold both edges together just so they touch and zig-zag over them.

    • Allison June 24, 2015 at 8:06 pm #


      I just wanted to say thank-you for your input. I loved your comment and I was just wondering is this method called creating a balanced dart? I’d love to try it and wanted to do some more research.

      Many Thanks,

  2. Angela October 15, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    Thanks for the tips! I bought some stay tape, but didn’t really know how to use… i just knew I was supposed to. :) Do you have to pre-shrink it?

  3. Mav October 15, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    I just came across your blog and I love it! It’s been bookmarked and I will definitely be checking in regularly. Thank you for your wonderful tutorials!

  4. Haylee October 15, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    I’m loving all of these “How To” posts. They’ve really come in handy!

  5. Alana October 15, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    I love all the detail you’re putting into this dress, Tasia. It’s so cool to see it all come together step-by-step with so much attention to the details. Can’t wait to see the finished dress :)

  6. Beth October 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    Instead of stay tape I sometimes use the selvage on lining. Especially on a jacket, I always use on the shoulder seams. Since I am a fabric miser – I just rummage through the scraps on the floor for some pieces. Usually on lining there is a nice 1/4″ selvage.
    and it is really thin, adds no bulk.

  7. Catherine October 15, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    Thank you for this! I especially appreciate the last photo + explanation. Seeing exactly where all the lines are really helps!

    I did have a quick question tho… can you use this, or the selvage option, on knits?

  8. Corinne October 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Dear Catherine, on knits I use swimwear elastic for a stay tape. It provides the support the seam needs and stretches with the knit fabric with no popped seams. I tend to cut it 1/4 inch or less shorter than the seam I am going to apply it to. That little bit of stretch is not noticeable in the finished seam but provides more stability to the stitches.

  9. LeeAnn October 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    I’ve tried to use stay tape once, and it was incredibly scratchy! I gave up on making the shirt soon after that. I realize (now that I’ve looked at your pics) that I put the stay tape in the wrong place– I was sewing it into my seams instead of into my seam allowances. Maybe I’ll give stay tape another try :)

  10. Paunnet October 16, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    Thanks for these construction posts!

  11. Courtney Baxley October 17, 2010 at 9:47 am #

    I love your site! Thanks for all of the tips and inspiration. Would you be interested in helping a new blog that donates handmade sewing projects to charity?

    Thanks & happy sewing!

  12. Amanda October 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    Love your tutorials (and your style!). I’m wondering if there’s a difference between using stay tape as you show here and the method Kenneth King posted recently on Threads about using silk organza? Or are they just two ways of doing the same thing?

    I like the idea of using leftover selvedge though. Very economical!

  13. amber September 15, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    Thanks for this tutorial, I have a feeling it will be very helpful for an upcoming project (boys hats) that I’m planning on making. In fact I ran into your Mom while looking for stay tape, which is how I ended up here on Sewaholic. I love your blog and all the great information, kudos to you and I hope you have tons of success!! Amber :) (from way back in High School!)

  14. Marianne June 21, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Thank you for your excellent tuition on stay tape in neck lines and how to apply.
    I have put you in my favourites for future reference. I am using jersey for the first time and wondered how to hold the neck and arm holes in shape, now I know thanks to you..

    Marianne W

  15. Livo October 9, 2013 at 3:07 am #

    Hello. I am so confused about Vilene Bias tape and stay tape, are both the same? Are the use for the same? Thanks so much.


  1. 40s jacket progress: supplies and such | By Gum, By Golly - August 28, 2013

    […] tape. To stabilize the shoulder seams (like Tasia shows here). I already had some, or I could have used twill tape. Or saved some selvages for this […]