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Hand Stitching

For fine touches a machine can’t handle

Most garment details can be stitched on the machine; however, nothing sews precise details better than a hand
needle and thread. Coming up are all the stitches you’ll need to complete your own designs and the skirts in this book. Each stitch is worth mastering, and can be used whenever you sew, not only when making garments.


This hand stitch can be used to seam garments and it looks very nice from the right side for decorative stitching. For a stronger seam, use shorter stitches.

To start, bring the needle through the fabric from the wrong side to the right side. Then pierce the needle into the fabric to the right of the point where the thread exited the fabric. Bring the needle back up through the fabric to the left of the same thread exit point. Continue.


This temporary stitch is used to hold layers together and for gathering fabric.

To start, bring the needle up through the fabric from the wrong side to the right side. Insert the needle into the fabric again to the left of the original stitch. To continue, bring the needle up to the left of the second stitch. Keep the stitches long, with space between them, so they are easy to remove.

basting stitch


This stitch works well to secure a hem or facing in place because it is invisible from the right side.

Typically, this stitch is worked from left to right, making the stitches feel a little backward at first. To begin, pierce the fabric along the hem or facing from right to left and take a tiny stitch. Then, move about ½” to the right and take a tiny stitch through a few threads of the garment from right to left to make a little X. Repeat.

catch stitch


Use this stitch to hold a stitched or pressed edge in place.

To start, bring the needle through the folded or pressed edge. Then stitch through a few threads of the garment fabric and pierce the needle back into the fold. Repeat.



A swing tack is used to secure garment layers together but allows them to move freely, such as a lining and outer garment.

To start, make a small stitch in the outer garment. Leave a 1″ length of thread between the two layers and then make a small stitch on the lining. To finish the tack, loop the thread around the exposed thread, knotting each time.

swing tack


This stitch is the first hand stitch I learned from my mother when I made my first garment. I used it to secure the bottom edge of a facing, but it also works well to secure hems.

To start, bring the needle up through garment or hem allowance. Then move the needle about ¼” to the side and take a second stitch, making a stitch that wraps around the edge.


TIP : The basting stitch, when taken shorter and with less space between the stitches, is a permanent stitch and is
usually referred to as a running stitch.

Source :
SKIRT-A-DAY SEWING Create 28 Skirts
For A Unique Look Every Day
Nicole Smith