Quick and easy guide to sewing stitches

comments (0) December 22nd, 2017     

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How the sampler will look like when finished
photo courtesy of HelloSewing.com

How the sampler will look like when finished

photo courtesy of HelloSewing.com

Photo: https://hellosewing.com

Every now and then every sewist no matter whether novice or advanced, will need to hand sew. Mastering the basics is extremely important and will save you a lot of headaches in the future. All you need is few needles in different sizes, some thread and (optionally) a needle threader. Just remember to use finer needle on finer fabrics and the bigger needles on the thicker fabrics. There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to hand sewing stitches, but you will need to master just a few. Here are the most popular hand sewing stitches and how to make them:

1. Make a practice sampler and draw few straight lines

You can just use a little muslin piece 9"x11". Drawing the lines is optional but you will see clearly where you need to sew and they will help you keep your stitches perfectly lined. I suggest starting with the following 10:

2. The basting stitch

The simplest of them all, and one you should definitely master. You can use it to hand stitch your patten to the fabric before sewing your actual clothes on a sewing machine. I often use it as an easy alternative to pinning. You just need to be careful not to make it too tight or too loose. Keep it flat.

3. The running stitch

The smaller alternative to the basting stitch. It is used to attached fabrics together or joining fabric at the seams. 

4. The back stitch

Stronger and more secure one. It is a bit more advanced. Again, use a signle thread. Make a stitch in and out of the fabric and then go back to the spot from where the previous stitch started. Bring the next stitch ahead of the previous one and then go back again. Keep it flat and don't make it too loose or too tight.

5. The whip stitch

Also called whipping stitch - this one encloses the fabric and is used to make hems. 

6. The overcast stitch

Very similar to the previous one - it encloses the fabric and is used for finishing fabric edges and keeping them from unravellling. Make short and diagonal stitches over the edge of the fabric, without folding the fabric in half. 

Double overcasting is crossing these diagonal stitches and forming small Xes along the edges. Double overcasting achieves better looking finish

7. The catch stitch 

Anothe stitch that is used for hemming, but when you need the hem to have some stretch.

8. The blanket/buttonhole stitch

Finishing stitch. Space the stitches at 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart. Start from back of the fabric and bring the needle to the from. Place the needle at the next point and pull it from the front of the fabric to the back. Place the thread beneath the needle point and pull again. Repeat. Adds a nice looking finishing to the edges of blankets or buttonholes.

9. The slip stitch/blind hem stitch

Used for hemming, this is almost an invisible stich. Pull the needle through the folded hem of the fabric, pull it out and catch few threads before pushing it back through the folded hem. Check what part of the thread is visible from the front and reduce it further if you have to.

10. The vertical hem/couch stitch

Alternative to the previous one, but done vertically. If done right, only tiny dots of thread are visible. 

11. The half back stitch

A decorative stitch - very similar to the back stitch but carry the needle only at half the lenght of the previous stitch.

See how to do the exact stitches in our step by step hand stitching guide.

posted in: sewing, sewing machine, hand sewing, stitches, dressmaking

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