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Stitching techniques

Good basic sewing skills are vital for success when working fabric manipulation techniques, but you don’t need to be an expert. The stitches and tips below are all you need to make any of the techniques that is featured in this book. Remember that good tools are vital as well, so use the best needles and thread you can get.

Useful hand stitches

Careful, neat hand sewing will make all the difference to your fabric manipulation techniques looking great and staying intact. Remember to fasten the thread at the start and end of the stitching too.


Backstitch is used to make firm and permanent seams. It can be used in place of machine sewing.


Slip (invisible) stitch

Slip stitch is a quick and easy hand stitch used to join two pieces together, particularly for appliqué. The thread shows on the back but hardly on the front.


Fishbone stitch

This stitch can be used to pull two edges together without creating a ridge, and it is particularly useful for Trapunto. Fasten or knot the thread then, beginning underneath one edge, bring the needle out about 3mm (1⁄₈in) from the raw edge and then into the gap. Go through the gap and back out 3mm (1⁄₈in) from the edge on the opposite side and continue.


Blanket stitch

This is a useful decorative method of finishing an edge or attaching an appliqué.

Bring the needle out of the fabric, make a loop and hold it with your left thumb. Put the needle in the fabric diagonally opposite where the thread came out, and back out again vertically.

Pull up the stitch and continue.


Fabric Manipulation
150 CREATIVE Sewing Techniques

Ruth Singer