Sew together two pieces of fabric when one is longer than the other

What to do when you are going to sew two pieces of fabric together, but one of the pieces is longer than the other?  You can make this work and it is an easy fix.  How much you can successfully ease in depends–easing 3/4″ extra fabric into a 6″ total seam length isn’t going to work, but if your total seam length is 6′ then you can find success easing in that extra length.

1. Lay the longer piece on the bottom and the shorter piece on top of it.

2. Match up both ends of the fabric on one side and pin.

3. Go to the other side, match up both ends of the fabric, and pin.

3.  Pin in the middle of your two pins, making sure the extra material on the bottom piece is distributed evenly along the length.

4. Do this again–pin in the middle of the pins you already have, distributing the extra bulk evenly.

5. How close you need the pins will depend on the length of the seam.  A short seam may require the pins to be every 1/2″ or so, while a really long seam may need them every 3-4″.  It also depends on how much extra length you are trying to ease into the seam.  The less you need to ease in, the less pins you need.

Pins needed for easing in a little extra fabric in a long seam

Pins needed for easing in a little extra fabric in a long seam.

6.  Sew the seam, and this is the important part again–make sure the longer piece is the bottom piece.  Make sure you sew right up to the next pin before you remove it. Leaving the needle in the fabric, lifting the foot a little and removing the pin is how I have found it easiest.  It can be slow going when you have a lot of pins, but it works.  What happens is that the feed dogs that move the fabric as you sew will work that extra length into the seam.  The pins make sure that you are only working in a small part of the extra at a time so that you don’t end up with a tuck in the finished seam.

Sew right up to the pin before removing it.

Sew right up to the pin before removing it.

7.  Voila!  Magic happens.