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How to Baste by Machine and Hand

What is it?

Basting is temporary stitching used to secure two or more layers of fabric together. It’s used to line up the layers of fabric before sewing them permanently. Basting can be done by hand or by machine. Basting stitches also work well for marking on places like centerlines, fold lines or pocket placement lines.


Machine basting

Hand basting

Hand basting

When do you use it?

Basting is used anytime you want to sew two layers together with the option to remove the stitching later. Basting is also used for fitting. You can baste your seams together, try on the garment and adjust if needed before sewing the seams permanently. Basting hems in place makes them easier to sew. Baste along folded edges before pressing to hold them securely in place. Basting is a good way to test and check areas of the garment first, before sewing it in place permanently.

How do you decide when to Baste by Hand or by Machine?

Machine basting is faster, more even and slightly stronger due to the smaller stitches. Hand basting is looser and easier to remove. Hand basting gives you greater control over the fabric as you work and allows you to reposition the layers if they start to slip. Machine basting may leave needle holes when it’s removed, while hand basting is less likely to leave any marks on the fabric.

Tips + Notes

  • Baste with contrast thread so it’s easy to see and easy to remove.
  • Choose hand basting over machine basting whenever you have the time for more accuracy.
  • Keep a handsewing needle threaded in a bright color near your sewing station for quick and easy hand basting! Having the materials ready will make it feel less like a chore.
  • To remove basting stitches, gently slide the point of a seam ripper under a basting stitch and slice through the thread only. Be careful not to cut your fabric! Repeat every 2″–3″ (5.1cm–7.6cm) along the length of the basting stitches. Pull out the basting threads between cuts, using the point of the seam ripper to lift the threads.

How to Baste by Machine

  1. Set your sewing machine to sew with a long stitch length, about 4 mm. The longer the stitches, the looser your machine basting will be. Starting at one end of your work, machine stitch through all layers. Do not backstitch!
  2. Remove the garment from the machine and trim the threads. Leave long tails so the basting does not come undone.

How to Baste by Hand

How to baste by hand (1)

Thread a handsewing needle with thread and tie a knot in the end. If you’re basting as a marking method, double the thread so it’s easier to see. For all other types of basting, use a single thread. The top line of stitching uses a single thread; the bottom line uses a doubled thread.

How to baste by hand (2)

Starting at one end of your work, sew in and out through all layers, making stitches and spaces approximately ½” (1.3cm) apart. For marking, you may want to sew longer stitches with shorter spaces in between (see second image above).

How to baste by hand (3)

Tie a knot at the end of your basting threads or sew several stitches in place loosely.

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine