4 Tips for stitching in the Ditch

Can I confess something? I actually like Stitching in the Ditch. I know….it may sound crazy, especially since I am a “close enough is good enough” kind of quilter. But I can’t help it! I just love how it looks when all the seams are quilted down.

I am sure that some of you might not agree…..there’s even a chance that some of you view it as a swear word.

What is Stitching in the Ditch (otherwise known as SID)?

Stitching in the ditch is stitching along the seams of a quilt, either with hand quilting, with a walking foot or even with a free-motion quilting foot.  It can be the only quilting on a quilt, or it can be a part of a more complex machine quilting design.

tips for machine quilting straight lines

Quilt Pattern is “Wild and Free” by Cut Loose Press

Tips for Stitching in the Ditch

To me, stitching in the ditch is kind of like waxing my eyebrows. No one notices it, but it makes my whole face look better. The best stitching in the ditch is the kind that you don’t even notice. Here are a few tips to help you get the best results with your SID.

1. Stitch in the Ditch when you want to!

Let’s pretend that you want to SID. The next question might be, “When should I do it? Before I quilt the blocks? After?”

It can be hard to know when and where to start. But the good news is that there is no right answer……do it whenever you want!

As with everything else quilting related, there are several different ways you can do the same thing. There are some quilters that prefer to stitch in all the seams, then come back and quilt the blocks. Personally, I prefer to stitch in the seams as I go. That way, I can use the stitching along the seams to move from block to block.

The more that you quilt your quilts, the more you will discover your preferences. So just go for it!

2. Use a matching thread color.

Using a thread color that matches the quilt top will cover a multitude of quilting sins! It will help make any bobbles and quilting errors just disappear…..especially after washing the quilt.

When quilting, either SID or otherwise, I prefer using a 50 wt thread (such as Aurifil). Since it’s thinner than other threads, it helps the quilting blend in even more.

I can almost hear you thinking……”What if the the two fabrics are completely different colors? What do I do then?”

If I am trying to stitch in the seams between fabrics that are completely different colors, for instance black and white, I usually tend to pick a thread that matches the lighter color. There really is no particular reason, it’s just a personal preference.

3. Aim for the low side.

If the seam is pressed to one side, there will be a higher side and a lower side. If you try to aim for the lower seam, the quilting will almost sink into the quilt. If the seam is pressed open, just err on the side of the seam that matches your thread.

4. Don’t get frustrated.

As with any other skill, the more you practice, the better you will get. Try not to get frustrated if you make any mistakes. Instead of focusing on perfection, focus on the purpose of the quilt. You made the quilt for a reason, focus on that instead!

Free Video Tutorial

Still on the fence about stitching in the ditch? Here’s a video tutorial that shows how I approach stitching in the seams of my quilts! Using my new machine quilting ruler, Slim, and the Wild and Free quilt pattern, I show you just how easy it is!!

If you can’t see the video, click here to watch it.

Your Turn

What do you think? Do you like to stitch in the seams or do you avoid it like the plague? Let me know what you think (or leave any questions) in the comment section!

Happy Quilting!