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How to Apply Stay Tape


Stay tape is a thin, lightweight tape that is applied to edges and seams to stabilize and support them, so they don’t stretch out and gape. Stay tape also prevents shoulder seams from stretching out. Adding quality details like stay tape helps the garment keep its shape and last longer. For stay tape, you can purchase a thin, sheer, flexible nylon tape labeled as Stay Tape, or you can use ribbon, seam binding or even bias tape (page link), if you want a little bit of give.

Roll of stay tape

Roll of stay tape


Stay tape is perfect when you want to stabilize a neckline, armhole, waistline or pocket opening. If your garment is going to be worn often, using stay tape will help it keep its shape. Using tape at the waistline of a dress will make it more rigid and structured; it will be less flexible in terms of fit, but it will not stretch out over time. If you have a neckline that gapes at the muslin stage (page link), you can fit the neckline closer to the body by cutting the stay tape slightly smaller than the neckline to draw it in.

Tips + Notes

  • Cut stay tape down the middle to double the amount. Stay tape won’t fray, so this works well. Plus, I find it easier to work with the narrower tape, especially around curves.
  • Save your selvedges (page link) from lining fabric and use them as stay tape on the same project or other projects. It’s very thin and doesn’t add bulk to the seams.


Cut your stay tape the exact length of the seam or opening edge. If stay tape is specified in the pattern instructions, there may be a guide or a measurement to follow. If not, use the pattern piece as a guide. You can apply it to the seam two different ways: on top of the seam line or inside the seam allowance. I prefer to apply it just inside the seam line, in case the stay tape is not very flexible and doesn’t allow the seam to be pressed completely flat.

How to Apply Stay Tape (1)

With the wrong side of your garment facing you, pin the stay tape just inside the seam line. Line up the edge of the stay tape with the stitching line. Doing it this way makes it easy to trim along the edge of the stay tape. Pin in the direction you plan to sew, as this will make it easier to remove the pins as you go.

How to Apply Stay Tape (2)

Sew on the stay tape. Stitch right down the middle of the tape. Backstitch (page link) at both ends.

How to Apply Stay Tape (3)

Trim along the edge of the stay tape.

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine