Stitches, stitches, and evermore stitches! Have you ever wondered when and where and how to use all those stitches you see (or sometimes don’t see) on professional garments? With this guide, you’ll be a master of the basics in no time at all! We broke down some of the more common stitch types so you’ll never be at a loss for what to use next.
- The name gives it away because once it takes off, there is no turning back! This stitch runs through the fabric, without overlapping, in a small evenly stitched line. It is also known as a straight stitch and is the most common type of the hand sewing stitches. You can use it for decorative purposes on leather or handbags and to construct hand sewn garments or hold them in place before using a machine. Running stitches can be used for gathering as well, by pulling on the thread and pushing the fabric to give it a bunched up appearance.
- The Basting stitch has the same concept as the running stitch, but in longer more drawn out stitch lengths. It is most commonly used to hold fabric in place as a substitute for pinning or for gathering purposes. Basting stitches can also be used when attaching sleeves to a garment because of the long stitch length, you are able to manipulate the fabric and ease the sleeves into the arms eye insuring the perfect fit.
- Cross stitch, also known as the catch stitch, is a hand sewing technique typically used for hemming garments or tacking interfacing and other fabrics to one another. It gets its name because of its crisscross formation creating an X shape. When used in hemming, the hand sewing thread will catch one or two of the fabric threads on and off the hem in the X shape. This is a popular method in hemming because it allows the hem to have some wiggle room. Great for a hem on the bottom of ankle tight pants giving flexibility to slide your foot through.
- The Blanket stitch is typically used for binding fabric edges. A blanket stitch it is typically 1/4″ to 1/2″ in length. To accomplish a blanket stitch, you simply pass the needle thread through the edge of the fabric and underneath itself to create a looping or binding look. It can be used to hold fabrics together that are too thick to send through a machine or finishing raw edges to prevent fraying.
- Slip stitch is also known as a blind hem stitch because it is not one to be seen. Like most hand sewing techniques this stitch is normally used for hemming garments or finishing folded edges. Typically it is a hard finish to see and that is accomplished by slipping the needle thread through the fold of the hem then catching only one or two of the fabric threads on the other side this is repeated until you have finished your hem completely. Slip stitches can be used on any garment you desire where you don’t want the finish to be visible.
- The Standard stitch, also known as a straight stitch, is the most common on a sewing machine. You can adjust the length of the stitch on your machine to get many uses from this simple option. The longer the stitch, the easier it is to remove and can be used for gathering or basting. The shorter the stitch length, the harder it will be to remove but will be more of a durable stitch when constructing garments.
Zig Zag stitch:
- Zig Zag stitches can be used in numerous ways! Use this on stretchy fabrics or elastic because of its give in allowing more flexibility than a straight stitch. If you don’t have a serger, no worries; you can use this stitch instead! When Zig Zag stitches are short in length they are used for appliques and are referred to as satin stitches and make for a cute finishing pattern. Not to mention you can use this stitch for button holes, although many machines have a special stitch for that.
Blind Hem stitch:
- Talk about convenience! It is so nice to have this stitch on your sewing machine saving you time from doing it by hand. It is the exact same concept as hand sewing but your machine does all the work. Fold up your fabric where you would like your blind hem and pin it in place. Then turn the hem upward ( facing you ) with the face of the fabric against the machine and guide the edge of the folded hem through your machine. You will see that it will only leave little tack marks on the front side of the fabric that are barely visible, just like you wanted in no time at all!
Button Hole stitch:
- The button hole stitch is well.. For buttons of course! Thick tacking stitches or bar tacks are vertically parallel connecting two very tightly, zig zagged stitched, horizontal lines making a box-like shape on the fabric. When this is done then you can take a seam ripper and cut out the center part creating the actual hole your button will squeeze through. You can create different shaped holes for and array of appliques as well! However all machines are different, yours might come with a special foot or other attachments to create button holes always read your manual for specifications on button holes for your machine.
- Edge finishes are where you can get creative! There are many different ways to finish edges on sewing machines such as over edge stitch, zig zag or even fun swirls and decorative designs. Be sure you check your sewing machine manual to insure what type of foot is needed for the specific finishing stitches.
- Many machines have an extended variety of these fun stitches. Decorative embroidery are stitches to let your imagination take hold! You can create all different shapes and designs with these stitches on your fabric or garments. If you can’t find a fabric you completely love take a plain colored fabric and create your own design specific to your taste!