What Is Stay Tape?

by Kathryn Shimer

Adding some structure to a homemade garment drastically improves the quality of the piece. One way to make your homemade clothing items more stable is to use stay tape. Stay tape can be fusible, meaning you fuse it into the clothing by ironing, or it can be sewn in. Improve the construction of your latest clothing creation by incorporating stay tape into the design.

Definition

Stay tape is a thin, felt-like, straight and sheer tape that sewers use to support and structure fabrics. It does not add bulk to garments, so it is used to help sheer or delicate fabrics hold their shape over multiple washings or wearings.

Uses

Use stay tape to stabilize necklines so they don't stretch out, prevent hem lines from rolling up and support seams, such as the one that runs from your neck to your shoulder on the top of a shirt. Stay tape gives clothing items more structure so they don't become misshapen after a washing.

Different Types of Stay Tape

Use fusible or sew-in stay tape, depending on your preference. With fusible, you save yourself some sewing by ironing the tape right to the back of the neckline or shoulder seam. With sew-in stay tape, you can run the tape along the seam, then drop down slightly below the seam to sew it in. For a hem, you can run the tape along the bottom of the garment, then fold the fabric up into the inside of the shirt and sew the two together.

Colors and Sizes

There are two standard colors of stay tape: black or white. It typically comes in 1/2-inch width and various lengths, but you can find it in smaller 3/8-inch sizes. If you want to make your own size, you can use a sheet of fusible interfacing and cut it into whatever size shapes and strips you'd like.

Photo Credits

  • sewing machine image by pavel siamionov from Fotolia.com