Struggling with sewing a waistband that looks as neat on the inside as the outside? Or maybe you are having issues with knit fabrics stretching out when being stitched over? Not to mention installing zippers! Those can all be big pain points, even for more experienced sewists, which is why I’m such a fan of using a water-soluble double-sided tape, also referred to as Wonder-Tape, to solve those issues.
What is Wonder-Tape?
The tape is a narrow strip that you sandwich between fabric layers to temporarily fixate an area and prevent it from slipping. The advantage of using over the tape over, say pins, is that it keeps the area flat without any distortion. It can also be a more stable option than hand-basting, especially when sewing knits.
Once washed, the tape dissolves without any residue, or at least what the manufacturer promises. I’ve personally never had any issues with residue, neither on the fabric nor having the glue getting stuck on the machine needle. For reference, I use mostly the Prym brand Wonder-Tape , and from my understanding, Dritz Wash-Away Wonder-Tape is the same product as Prym (Amazon affiliate links). Of course, I can’t vouch for every brand, so best to check how the tape behaves by doing a sample.
Ways to use Wonder-Tape in sewing
I’ve literally struggled for decades to get the inner waistband looking crisply folded and evenly stitched. Super frustrating not being able to crack this, despite being a pretty proficient sewist. Enter Wonder-Tape, which changed everything (true story). Now I just place the tape on the folded seam allowance, press hard with my fingers to make sure the glue sticks to both sides.
For extra assurance, I usually do some hand basting too (better safe than sorry) to make sure the waistband really stays in place. After these two steps, the rest is surprisingly easy and my waistband game has improved substantially since I began using the double-sided tape.
I love using Wonder-Tape for installing zippers, especially on knits, such as fleece jackets and hoodies. I just sandwich the tape between the zipper and the seam allowance and press it in place. This method keeps the area super flat and also prevents both the zipper and fabric from stretching out and getting wobbly, which is super common when installing zippers on knits.
Sewing pockets on knits and other tricky stuff
Want to add patch pockets to your knit sweater, jacket or t-shirt? But are worried about wobbly, stretched out seams? One way to prevent this is to use, you guessed it, Wonder-Tape! (not sponsored, lol)
Start by adding a strip on the folded pocket seam allowance.
Place the pocket on the garment, and add some basting stitches to for even better result.
Topstitch the pocket, which will be so much easier using this basting/Wonder-Tape combo compared to relying on pins (which distorts the fabric).
Looking pretty dang flat, right? I also use adhesive tape when sewing plackets, collars and sometimes even hems on knits. The tape is especially handy if you only have a sewing machine since it really helps to prevent the fabric from stretching out and it also fixes the issue of uneven feeding of the fabric layers.
Now sewing patch pocket on stretchy fabrics is a larger topic, so I do plan to make a separate tutorial, showing more tips and tricks for how to succeed with pockets on knits!
So these are some ways to use Wonder-Tape in sewing. As I said, always do a sample to ensure it actually performs as expected and also check reviews and stuff, if trying out a new brand. Or stick to Prym/Dritz which is what I’ve found to be great quality.
Do you have any other suggestion on when and where to use double-sided tape? And perhaps some other brand recommendations? Please share in the comments!