Hand Stitching Techniques

Straight Stitches

Running Stitch - Take several running stitches onto the needle before pulling it through fabric. Secure end of stitching with a backstitch (opposite). Short, even stitches of 1/4" (6 mm) give close control. Uneven basting, which combines a long stitch of 1/2" (1.3 cm) and a short stitch, can be used for straight or slightly curved seams.



Backstitch - Bring needle and thread through fabric to upper side. Insert needle 1/16" to 1/8" (1.5 to 3 mm) behind the point where thread came out. Bring needle forward and out the same distance in front of that point. Continue inserting and bringing up needle half a stitch length behind and in front of previous stitch. Stitches on underside will be twice as long as those on upper side.

Prickstitch - Bring needle and thread through fabric to upper side. Insert needle through the fabric, one or two fabric threads behind point where thread came out. Bring needle up 1/8" to 1/4" (3 to 6 mm) in front of the point where the thread emerged. The top surface stitches should be very small "pricks".

Slipstitch - Work from right to left, holding the folded edge in your left hand. Bring the needle up through the fold. Take a stitch into the garment directly opposite the point where thread came out, catching one or two threads. Slip needle through fold a distance of about 1/4" (6 mm). Continue taking stitches about 1/4" (6 mm) apart


Catchstitch - Work from left to right with needle pointing left. Take a small horizontal stitch in hem edge. Take another small horizontal stitch in garment, about 1/4" (6 mm) to the right of first stitch, crossing the stitches. Alternate stitches in a zigzag pattern. Work the blind catchstitch like the blindstitch, folding hem away from you.


Blindstitch - Work from right to left with needle pointing left. Roll hem edge back about 1/4" (6 mm). Take a very small horizontal stitch in the garment. Take the next stitch in the hem, 1/4" to 1/2" (6 mm to 1.3 cm) to the left of first stitch. Continue alternating stitches. Be careful to keep the stitches in the garment side very small, and do not pull too tightly.


Singer Reference Library

Back to Learn to Sew