A side slit in a dress or a back slit in a skirt can really change the feel and mood of any garment. A slit can be as simple as a short and saucy split on a pencil skirt, or it can take a maxi dress to a whole new level by putting in a thigh-high slit! And of course, it can be used for tops too–a slit in a side seam on a shirt can change it from something more fitted to a more casual tunic.
The great thing about sewing is having the ability to change it up!
Though the pattern you are using might not call for a slit, they are incredibly easy to include. Just follow the simple steps below and you might want to consider putting a side, back, or center seam slit into your next sewing project!
Follow along for step-by-step instructions on how to incorporate a slit into any handmade garment!
The seam with the slit should first be finished with the method of your choice. Note though that the seam allowance needs to be in tact, so the finishing cannot be a method that takes away the seam allowance, like a French seam. In the photos, I have chosen to use a serger finish on my edges.
Decide where you want your seam to finish and your slit to start. Use a tape measure to determine where you want this to be on your body.
Mark the top of the slit with a marking tool and pin the seam in preparation for sewing.
Sew the seam just as you would normally have sewn it, but stop at the mark decided on in step two. If this seam has a zipper or any closures included in it, treat that all just as you normally would, and simply stop at the pre-determined spot, which is the top of your slit.
Press the seam open and in the process of pressing, continue pressing the rest of the unsewn part of the seam as well. Be sure to maintain the same consistent seam allowance all the way down to the end of the slit.
The slit will now be top stitched on either side of the opening as well as at the top. To maintain a consistent distance from the opening, use a seam gauge to mark where you want the pivots to be at the top of the slit.
My example is being sewn with a traditional 5/8″ seam allowance, so I chose to make the top stitching on either side of the slit 1/2″ from the sides, and to keep it balanced, I am stitching the same 1/2″ from the top of the slit. You can choose to top stitch where it suits your project best.
Pin each side of the seam allowance in place around the area of the slit that is to be sewn.
Starting at the hem, sew up one side of the slit, along your chosen seam allowance.
Once you reach the first corner, pivot and stitch across the top of the slit.
Pivot at the second corner at the top of the slit, then continue down the other side of the slit, maintaining a consistent seam allowance with your first side.
Once the entire slit is sewn, give the entire seam and slit a good press with an iron, set to the temperature appropriate to your fabric of course.
The hem of the garment can now just be sewn as normal, folding up twice and top stitch in place.
Once it is all hemmed, press again and you are all done! Note, if your fabric is best finished with hand stitches, this entire process can be sewn by hand so the stitches on the hem as well as on the slit are invisible and sewn by hand on the inside of your item.