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Sewing Tips – ‘Right Sides Together’ and Zig-Zag

Ooooh, more tips. Get ready.


(And please let me know if there is a sewing technique, well, a basic one, that has been plaguing you and I’ll try to add it to a sewing tips post.)


Sewing right sides together. Now, what does that really mean?
Well, most fabrics have 2 different sides. The right side has the print on it or the correct texture, or the side you really want to see on the outside of your finished product. The wrong side is the other side. When you read, “sew right sides together” in your instructions, place the right sides (or printed/outer side) of the fabric together, line the 2 pieces of fabric up, and sew them together.

If you just sewed 2 separate pieces together, you would then flip it over and see them nicely joined, with no mess. If you were sewing 2 sides of one piece together, you would then turn right side out to see your nice new seam. Then you can iron it flat or do whatever the directions say to do next. Not so tricky now, right?


Zig-zag. How do you do it and what is it used for?


When I received this question I knew this person (any any others) was going to love how easy the answer to this is.


Well, somehwere on your sewing machine, there is a zig-zag function. (The macine does all the work, not you.) The zig-zag stitch is adjustable, meaning you can make the stitches wider/more narrow and very spaced/really close together. just play around with it on some scrap fabric. Here’s mine:

Then just stitch away.


Now, why do I use the zig-zag stitch? I use it to give my seams an extra finish to them and to keep them secure. Right next to my original seam, I make a zig-zag seam (between the seam and the edge of the fabric) and then I trim off the excess fabric. This helps to keep the ends from unraveling and then weakening my original seam.


Also, I use the zig zag as a seam that has some stretch to it. Like if you sew with knit fabric (that stretches), using a zig-zag stitch will allow the knit to still stretch.


I also use it around the edges of fabric that I have appliqued to another piece of fabric.


Anyway, handly ‘ol zig-zag stitch…….try her out.
You might become fast friends.

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  1. Erica says:

    Do you zigzag on the right side of your fabric?

  2. Debra says:

    Hi Ashley, I’m new to sewing……l bought a pattern and fabric layed the pattern on the fabric,started cutting only to realize l was suppose to cut the pattern out on the wrong side of the fabric. Now I’m totally jammed up! Can l still make this dress? HELP!!!!!! Thanks.

  3. Ashley says:

    Anon – Cut off pretty close to the zig-zag, without cutting the actual thread. Hope that helps!


  4. Anonymous says:

    how close do you get to the zig zag when cutting off excess?

  5. Alicia says:

    Ooh Ooh! How about a zipper tutorial? :)

  6. Michelle says:

    I tried to do a tight zig-zag (satin) stich around an applique on a knit t-shirt. It was disasterous. The t-shirt puckered, the applique frayed, and Now the shrit is in the rag bin. Lucily I tried the applique to cover a stain and did not buy a new shirt. Any help would be wonderful.

  7. Natalia says:


    I would love to see if you could do something on making an applique from fabric or felt. I made felt monsters for my son's birthday party and want to applique them onto white shirts I bought to use as favors, but don't want to screw it up. I want it to stand up through a wash.

  8. Ashley says:

    That's funny Les. Hey, whatever works… :)

    And yes, thanks Jen. I just went and fixed that too. Whew! Can I hire you to edit my text more often?!?!? :) Haha!

    1. Jenny J says:

      Then do you also want to know that in the first paragraph of “zigzag” it says “macine” instead of “machine”? or is that just nit-picking?

  9. Jen says:

    You said, 'When you read, "sew wrong sides together", place the right sides of the fabric together, line them up, and sew them together.'

    That should be, "When you read, "sew RIGHT sides together", shouldn't it?

  10. les_mason_curt says:

    zig zag is my favorite… that is how i learned how to sew a straight line… i know it may sound crazy, but I do not like to use the straight stitch, I use zig zag and chance I get… thanks for the tips!

  11. Ashley says:

    Oooh, a button hole is good idea. Thanks!

    And Jenette, I have never switched out my feet for a zig-zag stitch. Maybe all of the standard presser feet I have owned have had a wide enough opening. But thank you for sharing for those who don't have a wide opening in their foot. That's extremely helpful! :)

    ……So yes, make sure that if the opening in your straight stitch presser foot (where the needle goes through) is not wide enough…..change it to a zig-zag foot.

  12. Jenette says:

    It is also important to have the zig-zag presser foot on the machine…I usually keep mine on instead of switch back and forth with the straight stitch foot.

    1. Jenny J says:

      WHAT?! There are different feet?! How are they different? Why do you need a different one?

  13. Logan and Sydney says:

    I don't know if you've already done it or not, but I was having issues trying to make a button hole last night. I would love if you could teach me:)

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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