How to sew SLITS (Vents) : 7 different methods

Sewing tutorial to Finish slits or vents with a facing; with binding ; with mitered corners; with piping and also Finish french seamed slits

Slits or Vents are openings in fabric which are neatly finished with fabric. There are many ways to add these openings on your clothes – On necklines, bottom edge of tops, along side seams, sleeve hems.

Sewing tutorial for Vents/slits.

sewing slits


1.Finish the slits with a facing

This method is used when you have a plain area where you want to make a slit and you want the slit to look seamless, neat and clean.

To finish this type of slit you will be using a facing fabric piece.

sew slits on clothes

Here is how to sew this slit

Step 1

Mark the slit length on the top of the fabric

Decide on the length of the slit you want – mark this on the fabric with chalk

I am going to have a slit that is 3 inches long.

Step 2

Cut out the facing 

For this take a fabric that is about 1 1/2 inches longer than the slit and about 4 inches wide. Here my facing piece will be 4 inches long and 3 1/2 inches wide

Finish the edges of the facing. Simply turn under the edges 1/4 inches and stitch in place

Step 3

Mark the slit on the facing 

Step 4

Keep the facing and fabric right sides together, the marks for the slit matching exactly

Pin in place

Step 5

Sew facing to fabric along the slit mark

Start sewing 1/4 inches away from your mark from down and when you reach the top, make this gap 1/8 and then when you reach the tip, stop. Stop the machine.

Pivot the needle and turn the handwheel once so that you make one stitch horizontally.

Pivot again and sew along the slit mark as you did earlier, ending with a 1/4 inch allowance.

Step 6

Cut through the slit mark

Do not cut through the stitches.

Step 7.

Turn the facing to the inside

Press in place.

Step 8.

Press in place. If you want a secure opening you can top stitch along the slit opening. As for edges of the fabric, do the stitches by hand  

2. Finish the slits with binding

Mark the slit on your fabric. Cut out 1-inch wide bias tape long enough for binding the whole slit.

Now you have to bind the edge of your slit with a bias-cut fabric strip.

When you reach the top point Open up the whole slit till it is a straight line.

To sew the binding, keep the bias tape right sides down on the right side up fabric piece slit edge. Sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

After this turn the other edge of the bias strip to the back and fold 1/4 inch inside. Pin in place.

You can now stitch from the top along the fabric edge (stitch in the ditch basically) catching the back folded edge.

Now when the binding is complete, fold the area right sides inside and together, like this.

Sew a diagonal stitch as in the picture below.That is it.

On the front it will look like this.


3.Finish slits as you do regularly

Sew your side seams with 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Sew till the mark for the vent. Back stitch and anchor the stitch.

Now press the seam allowance open.

When this is done, fold the seam allowance at the vent sides twice (1/4″ -1/4″) and stitch in place.

You can fold the hem edge also the same way – fold twice to the inside and stitch

4.Finish the slits with mitered corners

If you want a mitered corner near the hem edge corner you need to do one-or two more steps, to the above method. A mitered corner is a neat finish inside the slits because usually this part of the inside shows outside.

First finish the cut edge with serger or zig zag stitch.

Press the seam allowance of the side slit open and also that of the hem to demarcate the lines properly. Now keep it in front of you.

Fold and mark the corner as in the picture below

The mark will form a line 1/4 inch under the point where the hem edge and the side slit edge meet (on the stitching line, not at the edge). Cut the extra outside of this line. Do this for both sides.

Fold the edge so that the side edges meet as in the picture below.

Sew through the line you have made earlier. 

Now when you bring it right side out you have a neat mitered corner.

Use a knitting needle or something sharp to bring the corners to point properly. Hand stitch or machine stitch the sides and hem.

5.Finish french seamed slits 

Mark the slit top end on your fabric with a horizontal line. Mark the slit seam allowance 1/2 inch.

Keep the two fabric pieces WRONG SIDES together. ie the rightsides will be to the outside for both the pieces unlike for the normal seam.

Sew the seam of your two fabrics with french seams till 1/4 inch above the slit line. Curve stitch to the inside to meet the slit mark. (I have not stitched like that in the picture – you can leave it unstitched also). 

Cut open the slit top edge as in the picture above. I have also trimmed the seam allowance above the slit line to 1/8 inch.

Now finish the french seam by turning the seam and sewing the fabrics 1/4 inch to the inside.

how to sew a slit

The french seam and the slit edges are neatly separate. You can use a fray check on the fabric edges of the cut if your fabric frays.

Finish the edges of the side slit as usual- turning to the inside and sewing. 

6.Finish slits with piping

how to sew piping on a slit

This is another excellent option.

You can keep the piping tape along the seam line and bring to the back and stitch in place.

Check out this post on sewing piping here for detailed tutorial.

7.Finish slits with overlapping

This refers to the kind of finish given to openings on the back of a pencil skirt.

You can check out the post on sewing Kick pleats or  sewing a pencil skirt to learn how to sew this.

You can sew an arrowhead stitch on top of the slit to prevent the seam stitching unraveling under tension.

arrowhead stitch at the top of a slit/vent


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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

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