Sewing Blog

Learn How to Sew a Slit Into Any Seam for Personalized Garments

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!

how to sew a slit into any seam

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!

finish each side of the seam

Step 1:

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.

measure where you want the slit

Step 2:

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 seam stopping point

Step 3:

Mark the top of the slit with a marking tool and pin the seam in preparation for sewing.

sew the seam to the mark

Step 4:

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 allowance open to hem

Step 5:

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.

mark top edge of top stitching

Step 6:

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 seam allowance in place

Step 7:

Pin each side of the seam allowance in place around the area of the slit that is to be sewn.

sew up the first side of the slit

Step 8:

Starting at the hem, sew up one side of the slit, along your chosen seam allowance.

pivot at the corners

Step 9:

Once you reach the first corner, pivot and stitch across the top of the slit.

sew down other side of slit

Step 10:

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.

press the slit flat

Step 11:

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.

fold and pin hem

Step 12:

The hem of the garment can now just be sewn as normal, folding up twice and top stitch in place.

finished hem and slit

Step 13:

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.

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sewing a skirt

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joan paterson

Does it cost me anything if i sign up to your page…i first started sewing dolls clothes when i was 5 on my toy sewing machine, it really sewed… my late mum was a brilliant sewer and i loved learning from her… i could use , and still can, use a treadle and by the time i was 9 my mum taught me how to use an electric machine at 63 I’m still sewing but a lot less than before…thankyou….Joan…


It’s free to join Craftsy, and it’s free to sign up for the blog.

Camille Salter

That was an interesting tutorial. Bought an embroidery machine and still haven’t learned how to thread it. Need more lessons. Camille Salter


I Always enjoyed sewing ,my grandmother was a seamstress ,she did beautiful work.she would cut out patterns from news papers.She made her own patterns and I was so excited.My sewing machine is in the box ,I think it’s time to bring it out that box and put it to work.

Lorraine Baker, Melbourne, Australia

I always sew a hem before topstitching a slit. It is a much neater finish.


789020 1061Merely wanna state that this really is really beneficial , Thanks for taking your time to write this. 783262


I used this technique to open up the back of a dress and add corset lacing. Thanks for the tip!

Two Jackets, One Pattern

[…] I added side vents so that it would not sit quite so snug around my waist. Crafty has a great tutorial on creating side vents into any garment. Check out their tutorial here. […]

Adrienne Basciano

Purchase a lace evening dress, my husband thinks it needs a little more pizzaz. Thought maybe a side slit , embelishment like a ribbon flowers where ruche is located. Your tutorial was helpful.


thank you so very much!!! I’ve tried to ask this question many times in many different ways but should have used the term “slit” – because you, my dear – nailed it!!
Slits are wonderful – when too many meals don’t look so wonderful!!!

Oh well!!! 63 & a little puffy!!

Very appreaciated

Daisy Copeland



What a clear, concise article! Great photos. I can’t wait to try this!


Thanks for the tutorial. This is exactly what I needed. I’m literally on my way for a sewing speed test and I was wondering how to incorporate a slit into my dress. This tutorial has answered my question ?


Great tutorial, thank you!


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