Hand Applied Overcast Stitches: Density And Length
When using hand-applied overcast stitches to clean finish seam allowance edges, the stitch's density and length play an important role in the final's seams functionality. When used together these two elements come together to effectively contain fraying fabric edges and add stability and long tern durability to a seam. Similar to adjusting your machine stitch setting (when using serging or a zigzag stitch for example), applying the overcast hand stitch using the perfect mix of density and appropriate length should be decided based on the type of fabrics- Particularly, how much does it fray, how thick are the fabric layers (or layer), and is it a dense or loosely-woven structure. Here are some basic rules to use when choosing the right density and stitch length for your overcast stitch based on type of fabric:
If finishing loosely woven fabric edges, apply a denser, longer overcast stitch. Overcast stitches that are applied closer together will work better at containing the highly-fraying loosely woven threads. A longer stitch will cover more surface are to provide a more durable, stable connection, especially when working with these vulnerable fabric structures.
If encasing thick, bulky fabric edge, apply a longer stitch to cover more surface area. This will provide increased structure and stability. Choose the density based on how much the fabric frays, apply the stitches closer together (higher density) if the fabric is highly-fraying.
When working with highly fraying fabrics, apply the stitches close together in a much denser alignment. This stitch placement will provide much needed stability, securely locking the fabric weave thus preventing the threads from unraveling
Use a short stitch when finishing thin fabric edge. A longer stitch length can often cause too much tension light flimsy fabric edges. In terms of density, apply a denser stitch if the fabric is high-fraying.