10 Types Of Sewing Stitches Every Beginner Has To Know

Woman making sewing stitches on the sewing machine
Image credit: @freepik/ prostooleh

10 Types Of Sewing Stitches Every Beginner Has To Know

10 Types Of Sewing Stitches Every Beginner Has To Know

These days, modern sewing machines come with a great range of functionality and the ability to create all kinds of sewing stitches. That’s why it is important to understand various stitching techniques that your machine has to offer since it’s the backbone of making every impeccable garment.

No matter the complexity or style of the sewing machine, even the simplest ones should be able to accommodate most of the common 10 types of sewing stitches. The stitch structure and the method used to interlace the threads is a base of any stitching technique.

Occasionally, it can get confusing deciding which stitch to use where. To help you decide, this comprehensive and easy-to-use guide will show you the most common types of stitches and in which point of your sewing project you should use them.

1. Straight Stitch, also known as Lockstitch

It’s an understatement saying this type of stitch is the most common one. It is arguably the most versatile due to its innumerable number of faces. This basic stitch can be created in different lengths, directions and with varying thread thickness to generate different effects and it’s formed by simply moving your needle from one point of the fabric to another in a straight line.

Tip: Keep in mind this tip – The shorter the stitch, the stronger the seam.

2. Basting Stitch

In the initial stages of the sewing project, securing the fabric in place is usually necessary. That’s where this type of sewing stitch comes in handy. Basting stitches will temporarily hold the material together so you can work with it more accurately.

After the permanent stitches are applied, basting stitches are very easily removable with a seam ripper. Still, even more important role of this type of sewing stitches is to mark the position of fabric elements in tailoring, as well as the direction of stripes and prints to make them match sewing patterns.

Tip: Perfect choice for all elastic and highly stretching fabrics.

3. Zigzag Stitch

While quite versatile, the straight stitch might not always be the best option. It all depends on what you are sewing. Zigzag stitching comes to the scene when you need to shell raw edges of the fabric to minimize fraying, secure elastic fabric and also for button sewing.

Tip: And don’t worry – width and length can be altered for desired design results.

Zigzag sewing stitch

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4. Tricot

This type of common stitches is also called multiple zigzag stitches. It is best used to finish the edges of synthetics and other stretch fabrics that tend to pucker. Consider it for attaching elastic to stretch fabric or knits, as well. When you don’t have an overlocker running and you need the perfect stitch, Tricot is coming to the rescue.

Tip: The best results will be using the zigzag foot and sewing away from the fabric edge, trimming the excess away afterward.

5. Overlock or Overedge Stitch

The overlock stitch just can’t be beaten when it comes to efficiency. It has the ability to neatly and precisely put together two pieces of fabric. With it, you can create stitch patterns than can accommodate an incredibly large bulk of stretch, plus tuck frayed edges. Overlock stitches give a garment much cleaner and professional appeal.

Tip: This is one of the types of sewing stitches that also provides additional strength to fabric edges.

6. Decorative Stitch

Even the simple sewing machines usually come with the option of making a few decorative stitches. Using one at the time will give great results, but combining them together will enhance the look of your garment to an excellent level.

Tip: With the help of beads or sequins and decorative sewing stitches, your sewing project will end up even more stylish and beautiful.

Decorative stitches

Image credit: @Pinterest/ sewmuchcraftiness

7. Blind Hem Stitch

When working with fabric such as delicate silk, wool, cotton, the professional sewers mostly rely on the hemstitching for a more refined look. It is a very popular type of sewing stitches when it comes to making designs with these types of materials.

Tip: Blind hem stitches require a special presser foot.

8. Flatlock Stitch

Quite similar to overlock stitch, the flatlock is mostly used in the joining of two fabric pieces. What’s the difference?

Well, the flatlock stitch creates a thinner seam appearance compared to overlock stitching technique. This is possible since for this kind of stitching there is no fabric left in the seam allowance.

Tip: Fewer layers of fabric along garment seams will create a more comfortable feel.

9. Chain Stitch

Are you facing a difficult inseam or side seam sewing encounter? The chain stitch is your answer. Formed by a set of threads placed in interlocking loops to form chain-like stitches, this type of sewing stitch can help you get over this issue fast and with ease. It is also a great solution for creating perfect denim bottoms.

Tip: While this stitch requires a special sewing machine, it is possible to simulate it on a Bernina B215 or sewing machines with similar features.

10. Serpentine Stitch

Last, but certainly not least on the list of the most common sewing stitches is a serpentine stitch. It is a great alternative to the straight stitch and excellent way to make your garment more interesting.

Serpentine sewing stitches are a perfect option when working with lightweight fabrics prone to slipping, as well as elastic materials. It enables carefully sewing of such fabrics but without stretching them.

Look at the video below to get better sense how to make a serpentine stitch:

Tip: Also very useful ion quilting projects, the serpentine stitch holds the quilting layers together and in place for a neat finishing.

Serpentine sewing stitches

Image credit: @Pinterest/ needlesandlemon.com

Final Thoughts On Common Types Of Sewing Stitches

The extent of stitch techniques varies from one sewing machine to another, but most of sewing machines do support these common types. Even if your sewing machine doesn’t (which is unlikely), it is crucial to know the bases since you will maybe have a chance to use them one day.

Understanding the fundamental art of basic and common sewing stitches allows you to create an incredibly wide range of effects, as well as the uniqueness of your final projects. A simple thing like the right stitch at the right place can make the garment look more stylish and put together while using the wrong one can create a messy look no one wants.

One final tip – Before you start your sewing projects, try out and practice different stitching styles on scraps of fabric you want to use. It will give you the sense of which common sewing stitches will work the best. For a more intricate look, adjust stitch lengths and widths. But more importantly – let your creativity go wild and have fun while sewing!


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