Microcracking of polymer matrix composites reinforced by multiaxial multi-ply stitched carbon preforms submitted to cyclical purely hygrothermal loading is analyzed. The laminates are manufactured by liquid resin infusion (LRI). The stitching induces deviations in fibre layout and creates openings which become resin-rich regions after the resin infusion. The interaction between resin-rich regions and microcracks induced by the hygrothermal cycles was investigated by 2D metallographic micrography and X-ray microtomography. Specific microcracking process was found to occur in this type of material. The occurrence of cracks was quantified and the morphology of the 3D crack network studied. The nature of the stitching yarn and the size of the diamond-shaped resin-rich regions were identified as having a major influence on laminate microcracking after ageing. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.