Basic Construction--Stitching by Hand

Hand stitches used primarily for finishing steps, such as hemming and sewing on fasteners. Hand stitches are also used for basting, reinforcement, and decorative stitching.


To thread a needle, unwind no more than 24 inches (61 cm) of thread. Longer lengths may tangle or knot as you sew. Use scissors to cut the thread at an angle so the end will slide easily through the eye of the needle. Biting or breaking the thread causes it to fray and makes it difficult to slip through the needle's eye.

Most hand sewing is done with a single thread.

Make a knot in just one thread end. If you need a double thread, hold the two ends together as you tie the knot. Fgr. 1 shows how to tie a knot.

== TIP ==

Needle threading. For easy needle threading, hold the needle against a white background to see the eye clearly. To use a needle threader, push the wire through the eye of the needle. Then insert the thread through the wire. Pull the wire back out of the needle, drawing the thread through the eye.


1 Tying a Knot:

1 Place the end of the thread across the tip of your index finger and hold in place with thumb.

2 Wrap the thread around your fingertip, over lapping the thread slightly.

3 Roll the thread off your index finger with thumb.

The thread will twist and a loop will form as it slides off your finger.

4 Hold the loop against the thumb with your middle finger and pull on the thread with your other hand to make the knot.


For most hand stitches, hold the fabric so that you sew from right to left if you're right-handed. Left-handed sewers move from left to right.

To secure the beginning and end stitches, make a small knot or take two small stitches, one on top of the other, on the wrong side of the garment.

The following stitches are done by hand:

• Basting stitch. Hand basting is temporary stitching that marks or holds fabric layers together.

Basting should be removed from the garment as soon as the permanent stitching is completed and no longer needed. There are two types of basting stitches. Even basting holds seams together for fitting or permanent stitching, such as basting sleeves into armholes. Make stitches about 1/4 inch (6 mm) long and even on both sides of the fabric. Uneven basting marks or holds hems in place for stitching.

Make 1-inch (2.5 cm) stitches on the top side of the fabric and short 1/4-inch (6-mm) stitches on the underside. To save time, take several stitches with the needle before pulling the thread through.

3 Uneven Basting Stitch; 4 Running Stitch; 5 Backstitch

• Running stitch. This is the simplest hand stitch. Use it to gather, ease, tuck, quilt, and sew seams that have little or no strain on them. Make tiny, even stitches 1/16 to 1/4 inch (1.5 to 6 mm) in length. See Fgr. 4.

• Backstitch. As one of the strongest hand stitches, backstitches repair machine stitched seams and fasten thread ends securely. Use a tiny running stitch. To begin the back-stitch, insert the needle at the end of the previous stitch. Bring it out one stitch length in front of the thread. Keep inserting the needle in the end of the last stitch and bringing it out ahead of the thread. The stitches on the underside will be twice as long as those on the upper side. See Fgr. 5.

• Pickstitch. This variation of the backstitch is used to insert zippers by hand and as a decorative stitch. The needle is brought back only one or two threads so that a very tiny stitch forms on the upper side. See Fgr. 6.

6 Pickstitch

• Slip stitch. Since it's almost invisible, the slip stitch can attach one folded edge to another piece of fabric, as on patch pockets, hems, linings, and trims.

Slip the needle inside the fold of the upper fabric for 1/4 inch (6 mm). Then pick up one or two threads of the under fabric directly below.

Continue to take a stitch through the fold and then in the other fabric. See Fgr. 7.

7 Slip Stitch

• Overcast stitch. You can prevent raw edges from raveling with this stitch. Make diagonal stitches over the edge of the fabric, spacing them evenly apart.

8 Overcast Stitch

• Hemming stitch. This slanted stitch finishes different hems, especially those with seam binding or a folded edge. Make a tiny stitch in the garment. Then bring the needle diagonally up through the folded edge of the fabric or the seam binding. Space stitches about 1/4 inch (6 mm) apart.

9 Hemming Stitch

==== Serging Tips ===

Belt Carrier

To make belt carriers, set the serger for a narrow, rolled hemstitch. Without any fabric in the machine, serge a long chain of stitches. Thread the chain onto a hand-sewing needle. Working from the outside of the garment, insert the needle in the seam line. Gently pull the tail of the chain to the inside of the garment and tie a knot. Repeat for the other end of the chain.

Fgr p508

[Content Uniquizer sub-section begin] :

== Wiki Sewing ==


Basting is long stitches that can be easily removed. It is used to temporarily hold fabric together before final stitches are sewn.

Always sew basting stitches next to but not exactly where you will be sewing the final stitches. Final stitches over the basting can make them difficult to remove, and the fibers from the basting thread might be visible in your final stitching. For more on hand basting, see p. 35.

Machine basting is sewn with the longest straight stitch your machine will sew.

Basting for a zipper is done with the regular seam allowance to temporarily hold the seam perfectly aligned. Backstitch the regular seam before starting the basted area.

FAQ: Should I backstitch my basting stitches? Backstitching is done to lock the stitching and prevent the stitches from coming out.

Because you want to be able to easily remove basting stitches, you usually won't backstitch when sewing basting stitches.

<<== Wiki Sewing cont. ==>>


• Blindstitch. Since it's barely visible from the garment's right side, the blindstitch is excellent for hemming and holding facings in place. It also allows movement without pulling. Fold the hem or facing edge back about 1/4 inch (6 mm). Take a small stitch in the garment, catching only one or two threads. Then take a tiny stitch diagonally above in the hem or facing. Don't pull the stitches tight. Continue to form a very narrow zigzag stitch. See Fgr. 10.

10 Blindstitch ;10 Catchstitch

• Catchstitch. This criss-cross stitch holds two layers of fabric together with flexibility. Use it to hem stretchy fabrics or attach sew-in interfacings. Stitch from left to right if you are right-handed.

Make a small horizontal stitch from right to left in one layer of fabric a short distance from the edge. Then make another horizontal stitch just over the edge and diagonally to the right on the other layer of fabric. The threads will cross each other between stitches. See Fgr. 11.

• Blind catchstitch. This stitch is concealed between two layers of fabric. Fold the hem edge back about 1/4 inch (6 mm).Make catch stitches between the two layers. See Fgr. 12.

12 Blind Catchstitch

• Cross-stitch. This decorative stitch holds layers of fabric together. A series of cross stitches is often used at the center back pleat of a jacket lining. Make a series of horizontal stitches about 1/4 to 3/8 inch (6 to 9 mm) wide, spaced as far apart as they are long, to form a diagonal design. Then reverse direction and continue making horizontal stitches at the same location as the previous stitches to form an X design. See Fgr. 13.A cross-stitch tack holds a facing edge in place at a seam line.

Make a cross-stitch over the edge with out allowing stitches to show on the out side. Continue making several cross-stitches over the first one. See Fgr. 14.

14 Cross-Stitch Tack

13 Cross-stitch

• Buttonhole stitch. Making handworked buttonholes and attaching hooks and eyes are uses for this stitch. It also provides a decorative finish along the edge of a garment by placing stitches farther apart. Use a double thread.

Begin by inserting the needle through the buttonhole slash and bringing it out on the right side of the fabric. Then loop the thread under the eye of the needle and under the point. Pull the needle out of the fabric and draw up the loop to form a knot along the buttonhole edge. See Fgr. 15.

15 Buttonhole Stitch

16 Blanket Stitch

• Blanket stitch. This stitch makes three loops, eyes, and belt carriers, as well as b tacks, French tacks, and a decorative finish along a fabric edge. Stitch from left to right holding the fabric edge toward you. Poi the needle toward you and insert it through the fabric from the right side. Keep the thread under the needle as the stitch is pulled up. See Fgr. 16.

Make a thread loop, eye, or belt carrier by working blanket stitches over longer base stitches. Use a double thread. Take two or three stitches the desired length of the loop, eye, or carrier. Secure the ends with small backstitches. Be sure the base stitches are long enough for the button, hook, or belt to pass through. Then with the same thread, make closely spaced blanket stitches over the entire length of the base stitches.

Secure with several small stitches on the underside of the fabric. See Fgr. 17 on page 510. A French tack holds a lining hem to a skirt hem or a coat hem at a seam line. Form them by working blanket stitches over several long stitches.

• Chain stitch. This stitch also forms thread loops, eyes, and carriers. Use a double thread to form a series of loops. Secure the thread with several overlapping stitches on the under side. Then take a short stitch to form a loop on the right side. Slip your thumb and first two fingers through the loop. Reach through the loop with a finger and catch the thread to form a new loop. See Fgr. 19. Pull the new loop through the first loop and tighten so that the first loop forms a knot at the base of the thread chain. Keep forming new loops and sliding them down the thread evenly until the desired length. Slip the needle and thread through the last loop to end the chain. See Fgr. 20.Stitch into the fabric and secure with small stitches on the underside.

17 Making a Thread Loop

18 French Tack

19 Starting a Chain Stitch

20 Completing a Chain Stitch

PREV: Stitching by Machine NEXT: Pressing Fabric Home

Wednesday, 2012-04-04 13:51