The topic of stay tape is perennially interesting, don't you think? It also seems to be one of the least-understood notions. Lately, I've been taking pictures of stay tape when I apply it, to get a better understanding of its many uses. (If this topic is entirely new to you, start with my post, "The Wild World of Stay Tape" as a primer.)
Today I'm making a pair of shorts, and it turned out to be the perfect example of two different applications--as well as two different types of stay tape. Note: I'm using fusible stay tape from Emma Seabrooke. It's a fantastic product that comes in many varieties.
Okay, example #1: the zipper opening.
I chose 1-1/4" wide stay tape because it's double the width of a 5/8" seam allowance. When folded in, the seam allowance will be very stable. Added bonus: I insert invisible zippers by pressing in the seam allowances first, and the stay tape gives me a guide so I don't have to measure them.
The zipper opening is very important to stabilize. Have you ever sewn one side of a zipper, only to find that the other side is shorter and won't match up when the zipper is closed? That's because stitching a zipper in place can stretch out the fabric, making it longer than the other side. This is VERY annoying when you're trying to match up waistline seams!
Stay tape in the zipper opening seam allowances completely takes care of this problem. It also makes your zipper area look crisper and nicer.
Okay, on to the next area: the pocket opening.
In this case, I used a 1/2" knit stay tape. When stabilizing curves, it's crucial to use a stay tape that will curve as well. Knit stay tape can be manipulated around a curved seam. You can also find bias woven stay tape for this purpose. When stabilizing a seam like this, apply the tape so that it is centered over the seamline.
So there you have it--two real-world examples of choosing and using stay tapes!