May 21, 2014


Sewing Techniques ›


How to do Four Basic Hand stitches

Today I  wanted to show you four very basic, super useful, hand stitches -- they are all a must for any serious stitcher!


1. The Running Stitch.

This is probably the simplest hand stitch you'll ever do. I usually use it for basting layers of slippery fabric together, but if you do it small enough, you can also use it for gathering.

Bring your needle up from the wrong side, and then put it back down again a little ways away. That's it! Keep going until you've stitched as far as you'd like, then knot your thread on the wrong side.


2. The Backstitch.

This hard-working, long-wearing stitch is probably the sturdiest hand-stitch out there. It's great for hand-sewing permanent seams -- or for reinforcing potential trouble spots. And, I've heard that it is favored among couturiers and bespoke tailors for its strength and flexibility.

Bring your needle up to the right side of the fabric, slightly in front of the start of the seam. Then, put your needle through the fabric, behind where it came up, and bring it up again a stitch length in front. This backwards motion is what gives the stitch its name. Keep working the stitch until you've reached the end of the seam; knot your thread, and admire a job well done!


3. The Whipstitch.

Usually used to join two layers of fabric together at the edges, or for quickly attaching linings, shoulder pads, and a whole host of other random pieces. It can even be used as an edge finish -- just whip over the raw edge, and you're done!

Bring your needle up to the right side of the fabric, then take a large bite out of the underlayer before bringing the needle up again, a little ways away. Pull thread through, and repeat.


4. The Slipstitch.

I like to think of this stitch as the whip stitch's older, more sophisticated sibling. The principle is the same, but all of the points where the thread goes through the fabric are much smaller. This means the slipstitch is basically invisible, and thus a great choice for hand-sewn hems. It does take a little longer to stitch, however.

Bring your thread to the right side, very close to the folded edge.  Catch just a few threads of the underlayer, before taking a tiny bite out of the folded edge. The finished stitch should move mostly horizontally, with very little vertical motion at all.

To help clarify the difference between the whip stitch and the slipstitch, here's a back view:

See how much more visible the whipstitch is? That's totally fine in some applications, but when you need a basically invisible stitch, the slipstitch is the way to go.

Thanks for following along today! Do you use any of these stitches? Which is your favorite, and how do you use it?

For Pixie Faire,




April 28, 2017

I like the whipstich!


June 14, 2016

Except , , , , , don’t you think you should point out that these are all illustrated for a left handed person? Now granted left handed sewists are often neglected, but they are ARE in the minority, and I DO think it should be pointed out here that these illustrations ARE performed right to left, (i.e., for a left handed person) and if one is inexperienced, they probably would have a tough time figuring this out.


July 31, 2015

Thank you so much for the lesson on Stitches. I am a new ag sewer and I have seen these
type of stitches on patterns and did not know their meaning or how too sew them.
Thank you so much.


October 09, 2014

id love to see the fishing line hem on some of the ag doll dresses or skirts and how its done

Paula Fregia
Paula Fregia

May 27, 2014

That would have been my knee-jerk comment too. But we forget sewers new to the craft. This is most overlooked but needed lesson. Its actually not taught in a lesson, but we old-timers just picked it up as we progressed. Good job, Liberty Jane…


May 23, 2014

We all know these things, but it is an excellent reminder in pictures of how exactly to do these stitches, and their names. Thanks.

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