The Uses of 23 Common Hand Stitches Update 05/2022

Anyone who enjoys sewing understands that clothes is now mostly stitched by machines. Seamstresses used to have to make all of their garments by hand. Of course, this technique is completely acceptable, but it is simply too time-consuming for our current, fast-paced society. People still use hand stitches, regardless how useful and common machine stitching is.

The question posed in the title then arises: why? Well, we can tell you that finishing a sewing item by hand is quite fulfilling. Hand mending, fastening, or hemming is just as satisfying. A hand stitch allows people to fix their clothes with greater precision. They can also offer a touch of inventiveness that can only be accomplished by hand.

Although the internet has a wealth of material on hand stitches, each list we found only covered five or six of them at most. As a result, we’ve put up a list featuring a total of 23 different hand stitches. Our readers can learn what these stitches are used for, what they look like, and how to perform them by reading through the list.

What am I going to require? Different threads and needles will be required depending on the type of work we plan to accomplish. They are, nonetheless, required for each of these processes. It’s also a good idea to have scissors and thimbles on hand. It’s better to be cautious than sorry!

23 Stitches — the List

Lesson 5 How to Baste

1.The Backstitch

Backstitch, back stitch, outline stitch, stem stitch, and split stitch are all names for the same stitch. They’re all pretty much the same, and their names give away what they do.

Backstitching begins with a needle and thread driven from below into the fabric. The needle is then moved back a predetermined distance from its initial location. We slide the needle back up through the fabric with the needle below, but not in the same location as before. We proceed through the fabric at a distance nearly equal to the length of thread visible on the fabric’s upper side. The final step is to re-insert the needle into the first location it was inserted into in step one.

Most sewers refer to this stitch as “two steps ahead, one step back,” and they sew or weave it from right to left. It’s a great stitch for seams and decorations.

2.The Backtack

The backtack, also known as the back tack, is a type of backstitch. It’s done the same manner from beginning to end. The main distinction is that backtack is not utilized for permanent sewing. In fact, it’s most commonly used for basting or “tacking,” hence the name. To put it another way, we’ll use the backtack to mark designs on fabric.

Backtack stitches aren’t always removed. They’re frequently found around the pockets of denim jeans.

3.The Running Stitch

The running stitch is one of the most basic hand stitches available. It only takes one glance to get this conclusion.

We make the running stitch by bringing the needle up from underneath the fabric, sticking it back down, and repeating the process until we run out of thread or become bored. Leaving gaps between the thread strands is a crucial aspect. These gaps should be the same length as the strands they separate, forming a dotted line pattern.

4.The Basting Stitch (or the Tacking Stitch)

Pins are something we enjoy doing. However, there are instances when we can’t or won’t use pins, therefore a stitch that can substitute them is useful. The basting stitch is an example of this type of stitch.

It’s also known as the tacking stitch, and it’s essentially a running stitch with larger spacing and longer thread strands. As a result, it should be simple to perform with only a little modification in thread and space length.
The basting stitch is great for gathering fabric as well as replacing pins. Once our stitch is complete, all we have to do is pull the fabric back a little.

5.The Blanket Stitch

Overstitch Overcast

This stitch is a little more difficult, but once completed, it looks fantastic. It’s ideal for blankets and other heavier fabrics, as its name suggests (plush toys, for example).

The initial stitch is crucial in this case. From the underside of one of the pieces of cloth, we insert the needle between the two. We repeat the process, but this time starting from the underside of the other piece of fabric. We do not, however, pull the thread all the way through. It’s critical to leave a small loop, or “ring,” of thread to hang a little loosely. Finally, we tighten the loop by pulling the needle through it.

The underside of both pieces of material will be the starting point for subsequent stitches. It’s worth noting that newbies should aim to maintain the same distance between stitches.

6.The Buttonhole Stitch

To be honest, the buttonhole stitch and the blanket stitch are nearly identical, with a few tiny changes. The thread that will appear on the top or rather the “right” side, for example, is shorter than the blanket stitch, measuring around 3mm or so. After pulling the thread from the “wrong” side of the cloth, we do the same thing we did with the blanket stitch: we leave a small loop, thread the needle through it, and tighten it. Each subsequent stitch will closely overlap the first.

The buttonhole stitch is ideal for holding the buttons in place, as its name suggests. It’s also great for little garment accessories like hooks-and-eyes and hooks-and-bars.

7.The Blind Stitch

This stitch is known as the “invisible stitch” because it is not visible on the fabric. It’s ideal for pillowcases, which we’ll use here as an example.

We iron out the pieces of fabric we wish to sew together before stitching. We bring the needle through one of the ironed edges after threading it and securing the knot. The knot will remain hidden on the inside. Each puncture of the needle should go through the opposite piece of fabric from the previous one, creating a thread “ladder.” We pull the thread forward after repeated stitchings to bring the fabric pieces closer together. We move the needle into a thread loop with the last stitch, then stick it in and out of the pillowcase, snipping the extra thread while the rest retreats within the fabric.

8.The Chain Stitch

The chain stitch is one of the most elegant of the numerous basic stitches used for ornamentation. Like many others, we begin this stitch on the wrong side of the fabric. After that, we reverse the process by threading the needle through the same hole. The trick is to leave a small thread loop hanging. Otherwise, we’ll simply rip the thread fully out.

This loop will be one of our “chain’s” “links.” We bring the needle back from the wrong side, but this time a stitch length distant from the initial position, once we have the loop. The needle must, of course, pass through the loop. The chain link will keep it from untangling after it’s totally out. Rinse, lather, and repeat.

9. The Cross Stitch

The Cross Stitch
The cross stitch has been around for centuries and is perhaps one of the most well-known stitches out there. The name stems from the “X” or cross-shaped pattern on the surface.
To make a cross stitch, we start by inserting a needle into the fabric from the wrong side. Next, we visualize this location as a square’s top corner. With that in mind, we thread the needle through the square’s opposite, bottom corner. The same needle then returns to the corner of the square, exactly next to the original one, on the same “line” as it. Pulling the needle through the last corner, over the thread that is already visible on the right side, is the final step.
When the cross is complete, the needle is raised again, but this time the “first” step begins at the corner of the previous “third” step.
The pattern will remain consistent and in line as a result.
There are numerous cross stitch styles to choose from. The long-armed cross-stitch, double cross-stitch, Italian cross-stitch, herringbone stitch, and others are among them.

10. The Catch Stitch

This stitch is ideal for hemming, particularly on softer, lighter fabrics. We usually start this stitch on the wrong side of the flap to hold the edges of our fabric together. This allows us to conceal the knot behind the cloth. After that, we grab a millimeter or so of fabric diagonally from where the needle was originally inserted. The needle then runs diagonally down the flap fabric to catch the same small amount. We repeat this process until we’ve created a lovely zigzag pattern.
The catch stitch has the advantage of stretching with the fabric. It will not wrinkle or break while walking or moving in this manner.

11. The Darning Stitch

This stitch now focuses on restoring the old. It is, after all, a spin on the running stitch.
For holes in the fabric, we’ll essentially use the darning stitch. We locate the rip or hole and thread the needle in a straight line near to the hole (using a running stitch). We shall, however, do it with very small stitches, almost weaving the thread into the original cloth. We do the same thing in reverse, parallel to our previous thread, leaving the end of the thread unfastened.
We turn the fabric ninety degrees and repeat the operation after a nice, lengthy weave of the thread.
We can now see a pattern on the fabric, such as a weave or a sieve. If we run out of thread, we just pick up where we left off and begin again.
The ultimate result is a strong, woven fabric that replaces the gaping hole. It’s no surprise that our forefathers from all over the world employed this stitch centuries before us.

12. Embroidery Stitches

This isn’t actually one stitch in particular. It’s the process of creating figures on fabric with various stitches.
Since our oldest civilizations, embroidery has been a beloved activity of predominantly women. There’s even a popular cliché of a Middle Ages woman sitting on a stool weaving. Anyone may make a flower, an animal, or anything else using basic stitches like the running stitch, cross stitch, chain stitch, and others. All you need is a little creativity, patience, and good will.

13. The Hemstitch

The Hemstitch
The hems of household linens and clothes are embellished with this sort of hand stitch. When doing this stitch, we draw out one or many parallel threads that run parallel to the turned hem. Then we gather a few threads and tie them together in a small bundle with the thread, creating a pattern of small bundles.
The hemstitch is a highly elegant stitch that is used to adorn the edges of doilies and handkerchiefs all over the world.

14. The Overcast Stitch

The overcast stitch is another “classic” that is used to keep fabric from unraveling at the edges. It’s also a pretty basic stitch to learn. We stick the needle in from the wrong side up, but only about a centimeter away from the edge. The thread is then pulled diagonally over the edge. We bring the needle back up on the wrong side. This must be done at the point where the length of each stitch will be marked. After a few repetitions, our fabric’s edge will have a charming small diagonal line design. More significantly, it will not disintegrate.

15. The Pad Stitch

The pad stitch is similar to the running stitch, however there are a few changes. This stitch is used to secure two pieces of fabric together.
We begin by inserting the needle into the wrong side of the fabric and catching a small portion of it.
We then drop ourselves onto the same side of the fabric and repeat the process. We end up with a succession of diagonal lines. These will not only bind the cloth together, but will also give the layers more curve.

16. The Pick Stitch

The majority of the stitches listed above are simple to execute. On the other side, the pick stitch can be a real pain in the neck. This is why it is used by professionals for high-end suits and gowns.
This stitch is typically used for the fabric’s hem. The goal is to keep it from showing on the right side, so we capture a good amount of fabric on the needle and draw it through. The following step is challenging. The needle must be inserted a very, very little distance from where it was last removed. We repeat the first step once the needle is in.
Only minor spots will emerge on the right side if the thread is a different color. Working with thread that matches the fabric’s color would be a better option. The pick stitch will be nearly unnoticeable in this manner.

17. Sailmaker’s Stitching

17. Sailmaker’s Stitching
This form of stitching is used to repair ripped or damaged sails, as the name implies. However, there are three methods for stitching a sail.
The darning stitch is the first of these. We’ve previously talked about it in the text.
Flat sewing and circular sewing are the other two methods. To link two pieces of canvas or sailcloth together, flat sewing is utilized. We accomplish this by first tying the materials together. The needle then passes through only one cloth close to the selvage (the end of the fabric). When you re-thread the needle, it travels through both pieces of fabric.
Because we have to stitch four pieces of fabric together, round stitching demands greater strength. We’re going to turn about an inch of the fabric inside out at the hem. Then we sew through the folded sections while holding the two pieces of fabric together. At this stage, the needle is effectively stuck in four layers of canvas. It should appropriately reinforce the sail once completed.

18. The Slip Stitch

A different sort of blind stitch is the slip stitch. This one is used to finish linings and hems.
The first step is to thread the needle through the fold on the underside of the edge. Next, we take a little piece of fabric and place it right above the edge. The needle then returns to the exact location where it first entered, but this time it “enters” the edge. We do this by bringing it out of the fold a little further than before. The thread virtually vanishes after it is tightened.
The slip stitch has the advantage of working well with softer fabrics.

19. Stoating

This stitch is commonly referred to as “stotting” or “stotting.” When they do, they’re referring to a technique for sewing two pieces of fabric together such that the stitches on the right side are hidden. When we stoat, we only go halfway through the material with the needle. The crucial thing to remember is that the thread must be extremely fine, such as silk. Each stitch runs from side to side and across the gap that needs to be closed. When finished, it will either look zigzaggy or like a ladder.

20. The Tent Stitch

The Tent Stitch
We’ve returned to the basics. The tent stitch is probably the most well-known stitch, and it is simple to learn and apply.
The tent stitch is started from the wrong side.
The needle comes out and then returns to its original place, diagonally upward. The needle then returns, but this time through the location right adjacent to where it came out the first time. It then goes back in diagonally next to the location from the previous stage.
People may rapidly repair tears with the tent stitch. True, it isn’t as long-lasting or appealing as other sutures, but it gets the job done. The 45-degree-angled pattern created by the stitch is easily identifiable in needlework. Simple, yet powerful.

21. The Topstitch

Topstitching is also uncommon. The thread is usually hidden by most stitches used on high-quality garments. This one, on the other hand, brazenly exhibits it.
To topstitch, we take a small piece of fabric and thread our needle through it. After that, we just place the needle a few inches ahead of where we started. As a result, we have a simple pattern that resembles backstitch.
This stitch is interesting because it adds a new dimension to the original fabric. We may match the pattern to the final product and utilize the same color. Alternatively, we can choose a different color and let our imaginations run wild. Our topstitch will hold the fabric together in addition to looking excellent.

22. The Side Stitch

It’s vital to remember that a side stitch is done on the fabric’s top, or right, side. This stitch is ideal for clothing edges, especially if we want to keep the edge tape in place.
The first step is the only one that requires us to use the wrong side of the fabric. Of course, we do this to disguise the knot with the needle. After that, we move the needle down the edge, capturing both the edge fabric and the edge tape. We draw the needle upward and stick it all the way through the second we feel it clutching them.
The stitches are little and scarcely noticeable, but they are strong and long-lasting. It’s the ideal stitch for loose jacket or coat hems.

23. The Whipstitch

The final hand stitch on our list likewise works with the fabric’s edges. It’s also one of the most straightforward stitches for repairs.
We must first hold two pieces of fabric together before using the whipstitch to seal them up. They should create a “mouth,” with one “lip” on each border of each piece. Our needle first enters the inside of the top lip, allowing the knot to be disguised. The needle then passes through both the bottom and upper lips. As a result, the thread should be passed over the lip and sewn shut. Repeat until the entire operation is completed and the “mouth” is completely closed with thread.

Are There More Stitches Out There?

Oh, a lot! The majority of these hand stitches, however, are minor modifications of the basic ones described below. A single stitch can have as many as twelve names! Even with only these 23, our readers will be able to weave, stitch, and embellish whatever fabric they want. A little imagination can go a long way.
Please share this thorough list of hand stitches on social media if you enjoyed it. If you have any queries or suggestions about sewing or stitches, please leave a comment below.

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