The backbone of every garment is without-a-doubt the stitching. With so many stitch options on standard machines, it can be difficult to know which to choose. The following post will help in your quest to decide which one is best for your project. Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of stitch options offered— you only need a few for most projects.
The most used and versatile stitch of all is the straight stitch. It’s made by sewing one straight line into another and can vary in length and direction. Set the needle to the center position of the presser foot when using a straight stitch. Use stitch length 2-3 for most sewing.
Try this stitch by sewing the Kiri Dress free sewing pattern.
2. Backstitch/Reverse Stitch
The reverse stitch is a straight stitch that sews backward to create sturdy seams that won’t unravel, often referred to as an anchor stitch. Use this stitch at the beginning and end of every stitch unless otherwise instructed to keep seams intact.
Try this stitch by sewing the Forrest Jumpsuit free sewing pattern.
3. Zig-Zag/Stretch Stitch
The zig-zag stitch is a useful finishing technique that prevents frayed edges. The zig-zag stitch is also great for sewing knits and elastic since it gives a natural stretch that won’t break when pulled.
Try this stitch by sewing a micro pleated skirt.
The straight stitch, backstitch, and zigzag stitch will get you through most projects, but here are few slightly more advanced stitches to launch your sewing possibilities even further.
4. Basting/Gathering stitch
Use long basting stitches for a temporary hold and easy removal once permanent stitches are sewn. Use a seam ripper to easily remove basting stitches. Basting stitches are also great marking tools for darts, tucks, gathers, and pattern elements. Use a stitch length of 4 for gathering and basting.
Try this stitch by sewing the Maisel Dress free sewing pattern.
5. Overlock Stitch
The overlock stitch neatly pulls multiple pieces of fabric together for a professional finish. This stitch provides extra strength and stretch to final garments and is generally achieved using a serger. The overstitch is suitable for finishing edges and is a great substitute for a serger.
Try this stitch by sewing the Mimosa Dress free sewing pattern.
6. Blind Hem Stitch
The blind stitch creates an invisible hem. It resembles an uneven zig-zag stitch and generally works best for wider straight-stitched hems. Some machines have a stretch blind stitch for use with stretch fabrics.
Try this stitch by sewing the Boxwood Hoodie free sewing pattern.
7. Decorative Stitch
Decorative stitches take the final garment and turn it up a notch. The use of a contrasting thread is common. Sturdy thread, a fusible backing, and a multi-purpose presser foot work best when using decorative stitches. Test on scrap fabrics and adjust the stitch length and width to your liking.
Try this stitch by sewing the Sorrel Top free sewing pattern.
8. Buttonhole Stitch
While buttonholes can be made with a zigzag stitch, a buttonhole stretch is done in one or two steps, depending on the machine being used for consistent and neat results each time.
Try this stitch by sewing the Flora Blouse free sewing pattern.
Learning a little more about different stitch options widens the sewing possibilities and will ensure that your garments will be sturdy and long-lasting without fear of popping seams or unraveling edges.
What 3 sewing machine stitches do you use most often?