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How to Catchstitch


A catchstitch is a hand stitch that’s most frequently used for hemming (page link) or catchstitching facings (page link) to underlining (page link). It’s a lightweight, fairly fast hemming stitch with a little bit of stretch. This type of stitch is nearly invisible on the right side of your garment and will look like a series of little Xs on the inside of the hem. It’s called “catchstitch” because you’re “catching” just a thread or two of the fabric as you sew.

Catchstitched hem in contrasting thread

Catchstitched hem in contrasting thread

Catchstitch inside detail

Catchstitch inside detail


Use a catchstitch when hemming dresses, skirts and trousers. I use a catchstitch most often on hems that are turned once, with the hem edge finished. If you serge the raw edge (page link) of your hem and catchstitch over it, the catchstitching will blend nicely into the serged stitching. Also, if your garment is underlined you can catchstitch your facings to the underlining to keep them from flipping to the right side.

Tips + Notes

  • As you sew your catchstitches, check the front of your work periodically to make sure your stitching is invisible. If you can see the dots of stitching, take smaller stitches and don’t pull the thread as tightly.
  • Handsewing can seem slow, but it’s a great way to sew nearly invisible hems. Relax and enjoy making tidy, invisible stitches while you think about how exciting it will be to wear your new dress!


How to catchstitch (1)

If you are hemming a garment, finish the edge of the hem, press the hem allowance up and pin it in place. Thread a handsewing needle with a single thread, and tie a knot in the end. Start by going under the hem with the needle and coming out on the top of the hem about ¼” (6mm) away from the edge, so the knotted end is hidden.

How to catchstitch (2)

Working from left to right, catch just a thread or two of the main fabric with the needle tip pointing to the left.

How to catchstitch (3)

Next move your needle about ¼” (6mm) to the right along the hemline and catch a thread or two of the hem fabric, again with the needle tip pointing to the left.

How to catchstitch (4)

Repeat these steps until the hem is sewn. Press the hem.

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