How to Stitch in the Ditch

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This tutorial on how to stitch in the ditch is one of five tutorials that are part of a larger sewing project, How to Sew a Tic-Tac-Toe Board.

The following five tutorials make up most of the steps involved in sewing a Tic-Tac-Toe board:

What is Stitching in the Ditch?

Stitching in the Ditch is a quilting technique that allows you to sew 2 or more layers together by sewing in the seam space on the right side of a quilt block.

This technique is easy because all you have to do is follow the seam line.

Stitch in the ditch
Some of my stitches escaped the ditch but most of them are in the seam space leaving me very happy with the results!

Important Notes

This tutorial on how to stitch in the ditch features a nine patch block and is part of a larger sewing project on making a Tic-Tac-Toe board.

Starting in Step 7 of the directions for sewing a Tic-Tac-Toe board, I explain in detail how to attach the back to the nine patch block and prepare it for stitching in the ditch. Tips on pinning the fabric layers are included there, too.

This tutorial is meant to only explain how to do the stitch in the ditch quilting technique.

How to Stitch in the Ditch

Tip: Use a neutral color for the top thread and color that matches the back fabric for the bobbin thread. This way if you stray out of the ditch it won’t be as noticeable.

To be able to see the ditch as you sew, use the all-purpose presser foot. Put the pinned pieces under the presser foot so the nine patch is facing up. Line up the needle with one of the seam spaces and lower it in the fabric.

Put the needle in the ditch

Slightly pull the fabric on either side of the seam to open up the ditch.

Pull the seam slightly to open it up

Sew along the seam line. This is one time when you WANT to watch the needle as you sew so you keep it in the seam or ditch. You don’t need to back stitch.

Tip: Sew slowly to better control where the needle goes.

Another Tip: Don’t remove the pins. Keep them in while you sew so the fabric stays in place and doesn’t shift.

The next ditch you want to sew is the one parallel to the first one. After that, stitch in the ditch of the other two seams.

Remove all the pins and press lightly.

Trim off the excess back using the rotary cutting tools. The back should be the same size as the front now.

Trim the back

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