In the Words of Marge Simpson, “Hmmmmmmm…”

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Folks, it has come to my attention lately that there’s a lot of tailored sewing going on in blogland. That’s great! I’m so happy to see tailoring, and see people stretching their sewing wings.

But here’s where I need to call everyone’s attention to something.


I love padstitching. I find it to be quite soothing. Padstitching your garment gives it shape and support that, while never actually seen, is a crucial part of a well-made tailored garment.

But here’s the rub. The point of padstitching is to give shape to part of a garment. Take a look:

My fingers are under the fabric, giving it shape.

What you can’t see from this picture is that my fingers are under the lapel, gently curving it over as I padstitch. This gives it a three-dimensional curve that will lay beautifully against the body.

Note the twill tape (pre-shrunk) sewn invisibly along the roll-line. Key darlings, key.

The lapel rolls over in a languorous, soft curve, not a flat-against-the-body flap.

Padstitching on a flat surface defeats the purpose. I mean, if you are going to flat-padstitch, save yourself some time and just fuse your interfacing. It will give you the same results. Please know that I’m saying all this with love, not to be a scold. It’s just that padstitching on a flat surface really doesn’t add anything to your garment in terms of shape or turn of your cloth.

There are some wonderful tutorials for doing padstitching on the internet. In my never-terribly-humble opinion, one of the best out there is Paco Peralta’s Tutorial. Clear, with fantastic photographs. An excellent resource.

I hope that helps a bit. I’m also hoping that this weekend I’ll finally be able to spend some well-deserved time on my (padstitched) Marfy coat.

Happy sewing!

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6 thoughts on “In the Words of Marge Simpson, “Hmmmmmmm…””

  1. What a wonderful resource on her website – thank you for posting the link. I will look through more of it over time. I would like to be able tailor a jacket, but I’m not quite ready to start one yet.

    Although… I am joining the RTW fast on Goodbye Valentino, and I may improve my sewing skills enough to try a jacket later in the year.

  2. Thomas von Nordheim’s Vintage Couture Tailoring, has excellent instructions, including what kind of needle to use. The books say, and I’ve been told, to start to curl the lapel under your fingers after the third line of stitches.

    Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket has pretty good instructions, too.

    And here’s Jeffery Diduch, a tailor, illustrating the pad stitch:

  3. Ann,
    I’ve enjoyed all your posts. I especially enjoy the ones where you talk about the StyleArc patterns. I haven’t gotten around to trying any of them but I will soon.
    However, more importantly, I am chomping at the bit to see the Marfy Coat!!!!

  4. Thank you, as ever, for all the great information! Something that I have been wondering but missed this post in time to ask in a timely way, would one not want to pad stitch a collar that she wanted to be able to have the option of turning up against the elements?

    1. I’ll defer to the master tailors in the crowd (Els? Pam?), but I believe that, while proper, shaped padstitching will make the collar lie more naturally (and beautifully) against the collarbone and neck, it will not prevent the wearer from turning it up a la Sherlock. Whose collar, BTW, is beautifully padstitched. 🙂

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