Hand Stitches: Meaning and Types

Even with the best sewing machine, hand stitches can still be quite handy. Manual temporary and permanent sutures come in a variety of styles. Sometimes seaming stitches, which may not function properly on a sewing machine, are necessary out of necessity or to improve the appearance of the garment. The utilisation of several hand-stitched stitch patterns follows. The backstitch is another often-used stitch. The strongest and most versatile sort of hand stitch is the backstitch, which is also the most long-lasting.

Additionally, it serves as a bulk-free alternative to knots at the start and conclusion of hand-sewn seams. The numerous kinds of hand stitches are employed for a wide range of tasks, including sewing seams and heavy overcoats.

Running Stitch

One of the most fundamental kinds of hand stitches is the running stitch, which has numerous varieties. Gathering, repairing, and tucking are done with it. You can either tie a knot in your thread or secure it with a few back stitches, depending on its intended usage. Bring your needle through the cloth from the back to create a basting stitch, which is the stitch’s longer version (wrong side). Make a stitch to the left or right once the knot touches the fabric. Repeat by raising the thread once more.

Stab Stitch

Stab stitch: a continuous stitch used to join pieces of fabric. Most frequently used in tailoring. From the fabric’s or garment’s right side, the stitch is not visible. When constructing a shoulder pad, the stab stitch is used to keep layers of batting, interfacing, or muslin in place, hold seams together, and minimise moving. Specifically, the gorge line, collar, and neck edge.

Back stitch

Backstitch Before there were sewing machines; all clothing was constructed by backstitching. One of the most useful hand stitches to master is this one. Take a little stitch, moving from left to right, and then reposition the needle at the end of the previous stitch, bringing it out past the spot where the thread emerges. Continue, constantly putting the needle in the last stitch’s end.

Basting Stitch

Basting is the process of sewing by hand. They are lengthy and easily-removable stitches. Another name for it is tacking. For a variety of reasons, basting stitches are used to temporarily attach fabric. Basting garment seams, for instance, enables you to test the fit or a particular location (like for darts) before sewing more permanent stitches. Basting is another way to keep slippery fabrics together while you stitch normally. Additionally, basting can take the place of pins and make it simpler to machine sew large things, like hemming trousers or inserting a zipper. Additionally, basting enables two or more layers of fabric to be held together and handled as a single layer, as is the case when piecing a quilt together.

Diagonal Basting

A lengthier variation of the pad stitch is referred to as “diagonal basting” in custom tailoring. It serves to secure the facing to the interfacing. The stitch could be either temporary or permanent. If it is to be permanent, it must not be seen on the fabric’s right side. The diagram that follows shows how altering the stitching orientation alters how the resulting stitches—chevrons or parallel lines—look.

Catch Stitch (cross-stitch)

This stitch can be used to tack facing invisibly and to complete hems with non-fraying fabric. Make tiny stitches on the hem and the garment, moving from left to right. Maintain loose and even stitching. On the wrong side, they will look like crosses, and on the right, like tiny stitches.

Pad Stitch

It is a stitch used in personalised clothing. Depending on which way each row of stitches is placed, the stitches can be placed in a chevron- or “V”-shaped configuration or more parallelly. One thread is used to complete the stitch. The pad stitch is used to permanently adhere the interfacing to the garment component and stiffen up a garment area. More control and hardness are given by short, closely spaced stitches. This is particularly necessary in the lapel area of a jacket or coat or in the stand of the collar.

Slip Stitch

When it comes to hems and other finishes, this stitch is my go-to. When it’s done correctly and with consideration on both sides, it’s neat and virtually unnoticeable. This stitch will become one of your favourites once you master it. Pick up a thread of fabric at the same location and pass the needle through the hem fold. Make the stitches fairly loose and about a half-inch apart.

Whip Stitch

In crocheting, knitting, and sewing, a whip stitch is a basic stitch in which the needle is inserted and removed from the cloth repeatedly to create a series of stitches that encircle the edge of the fabric. This stitch can be used to attach two pieces of felt together when hand sewing as well as to make a seam. Whip stitching gives the fabric a lovely edge and stops it from unraveling. It is a type of hand sewing stitch that aids in completing edges, making it comparable to the blanket stitch.

Blanket Stitch (Buttonhole Stitch)

Consider the buttonhole stitch if you want to manually sew eyelets or buttonholes. Secure the thread on the fabric’s wrong side, then push the needle through the fabric from back to front at a distance of 1/8 inch from the edge. Wrap the working head twice—once around the needle’s eye and once around the point. Bring the knot to the edge of the fabric by pulling the needle through. Continue by knotting a series of closely spaced stitches


Most people are familiar with running stitch, but it’s time to expand your horizons. There are numerous varieties of sewing stitches that let you accomplish particular objectives. For instance, you should learn the blanket stitch if you want to sew an eyelet, but if you want to add a neat finish to a raw edge, use a sewing machine’s zigzag stitch. When you don’t have access to a sewing machine, understanding a few fundamental hand sewing stitches comes in handy, but that’s not the only time you might want to use them. In order to have greater control or while working with delicate fabrics, many sewers prefer to perform simple sewing stitches by hand. One could make precise corners and more detailed details using these hand sewing stitches. Understanding these various stitching techniques for clothing will significantly improve your sewing tasks.

Updated on: 10-Apr-2023


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