Basic Hand Stitching | 9 Techniques Every Sewer Should Learn

embroidery on canvas needle blue thread | Basic Hand Stitching Techniques Every Sewer Should Learn | Featured

Hand stitching is an essential sewing skill every sewer must-own and master. Learn the basics of hand stitches here!

Special: [Free ebook] The Real Magic of Success & Abundance

RELATED: How To Sew By Hand In 6 Easy Steps

Essential Hand Stitching Patterns Useful to Every Sewer

Click here to jump to the infographic.

1. Whip Stitch

close up black white textile material jointed | Basic Hand Stitching
The whip stitch is one of the easy hand stitching techniques you can learn. This hand stitch consists of short diagonal stitches often used in hemming. To create this stitch, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  • Pull the yarn or your yarn needle over your top fabric, and assure the knot stays between the two cloths.
  • Pierce through your bottom fabric and exit at the same place you started with the top cloth. It will lock your starting stitches in place.
  • Push the needle through the bottom fabric, creating a diagonal stitch on the edges of your fabric. Your quill and thread must exit the top cloth to secure them together.
  • Repeat the process until you’ve reached the ends of your fabrics. Don’t forget to lock in your stitches.

2. Catch Stitch

white grey fabric stitched zigzag purple | Basic Hand Stitching
The catch stitch can be called crisscross stitches, great for front-facing fabrics and hemming-lined garments. This hand-stitching technique allows for a bit of a give. It is also a great stitch to work on circular garments like tablecloths. Unlike most hand-sewn stitches, this technique starts from the left.

To learn more about this, refer to the following steps:

Special: [Free gift] A little something for health and relationship magic…

  • Starting at the opposite end of where you usually start, pull the thread or your threaded needle.
  • Make a diagonal stitch start where you popped your threaded needle into the other fabric.
  • Pull your threaded needle to a small length and make a diagonal seam back to your starting fabric.
  • Get a bit of your fabric and continue making diagonal stitches until you’ve attached the two cloths.

3. Basting Stitch

Basting Stitch | Basic Hand Stitching

The basting stitch is best for holding pieces of fabric together. Do a quick and bulk straight stitch to perform this pattern. Usually, it sews together using a yarn a different color from the cloth to make it easier to see which stitches are placeholders and easier to remove.

Follow these easy steps to create this stitch:

  • Take the needle in and out of the fabric up to ¼ to ½ inch long.
  • You can make several stitches by popping the needle in and out of the fabric before pulling through.
  • Do not lock the stitch from both ends.

4. Running Stitch

running stitch seamless pattern in white color | Basic Hand Stitching
The running stitch is one of the most common and basic stitches you can do, both by hand and machine. Sewing by machine assures precision and firmness. But sewing by hand is great for a speedy stitcher and quick stitches and for stitching together narrow spaces that cannot do by machine.

See the following steps to make this stitch:

Special: [Free Gift] 7-Minute Freeway to a Fuller Life

  • Take the needle in and out of the fabric up to your desired stitch length.
  • You can also make stitches by inserting your needle in and out of the fabric. Do it with the same length before pulling your quill into the cloth.
  • Make sure stitches are locked once done.

5. Back Stitch

cream leather stitched large thread | Basic Hand Stitching
The backstitch features tiny stitches that can hold an amount of strength. This hand-stitching technique works well with mending seams or in a seam that will resist a lot of strains and pulls. Learn how to make this stitch by going through these steps:

  • Pull your threaded needle from the underside of your fabric.
  • Make a single running stitch.
  • From the underside of your fabric, pull the thread to keep the stitch taut.
  • Bring your needle up again, piercing through the fabric at a distance equal to the length of your single running stitch. Use the photo above for reference.
  • Repeat the process until you finish your stitches.

RELATED: Hand Sewing: 11 Tips and Tricks For Beginners

6. Overcast Stitch

Overcast Stitch | Basic Hand Stitching
These diagonal stitches are to secure the edges of the fabric to prevent it from unraveling. It can also use to mend a tear.

7. Slip Stitch or Ladder Stitch

The slip stitch is to make hidden seams between two-fold edges of a flat edge. It’s also called ladder stitch because, in making this stitch, you’re making stairs using your threads. This stitch is for bindings, closing the lining, placing the applique, or closing stuffed sewing projects.

Here’s how you can do it:

Special: [Free ebook] The Real Magic of Success & Abundance

  • Iron the folds of the fabric.
  • Take the threaded needle underneath the fold to hide the knot.
  • Pull the needle and thread out from the folded edge.
  • Grab a little bit of fabric underneath from the opposite side of the folded fabric.
  • Pull the needle out.
  • Insert the needle again to the opposite side.
  • Repeat the same pattern until you close the opening.

8. Blind Hem Stitch

The blind hem stitch is known because you are creating invisible hems with this stitch. Like the ladder stitch, you grab a little bit of the fabric and produce an almost flawless hem. This hand-stitching technique works wonders on lighter and silkier fabrics. Learn how to make the blind hem stitch by following these steps:

  • Slip the threaded needle underneath the folded side of the cloth to hide the knot.
  • From underneath, pull your needle out and through.
  • Grab a bit of the fabric underneath where the hem is sitting.
  • Then, grab the folded part of the fabric again from the side where you started.
  • Repeat the same pattern until you finish the opening.

9. Securing Stitch

Every sewing project ends somewhere. With a securing stitch, you prevent your stitches from unnecessary loosening. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Make a small backstitch and create a loop thread.
  • Point the needles inside the loop and pull through.
  • Repeat the process twice to make a small knot and make a strong lock.

Basic Hand Stitches | Basic Hand Stitching Techniques Every Sewer Should Learn | Infographic

Learning these essential hand stitching techniques is quick and easy! And even better, this knowledge will stay with you forever. And you will be using them in various sewing projects.

Keep on practicing them for more embroidery stitches. Soon, you’ll master these essential stitching techniques.


11 thoughts on “Basic Hand Stitching | 9 Techniques Every Sewer Should Learn

  1. Helen Young says:

    I did like this As much as I have sewn, not usually by hand, kind of self taught, I now know the different stitches and how to use them if I need to.

  2. Sharon says:

    I am in my seventies. I learned at my mothers elbow. She sewed for clients and I did all the hand stitching. As I’ve aged, sewing by machine is difficult as it became for my Mother, however I still enjoy hand stitching. Although I have never made a garment by hand only, I would like to try. Do you have any suggestions?

  3. Al MAXWELL says:

    4 Stitches used by Tailors: fell, pad, stote, buttonhole. Fell is used to attach a coats collar. Pad is similar to a vertical baste and used on the lapels canvas to roll lapels. Stote is used to join the lapel to the collar along the gorge line. Button hole stitch is used to create button holes with heavy silk thread.

  4. Sonia Sharma says:


    Thank you for sharing the information about It. I learned a lot from it. I appreciate you the detail you went into it. I am grateful for the amount of time and effort you put into this helping us. Your insights and summary are beneficial.

    Sonia Sharma

  5. Terry Valentine says:

    I wish I’d found sites like this when I began making curtains as I didn’t have a sewing machine and most of the sites out there require one to follow the instructions. I had one book to show me basic stitches and just used what techniques made sense at the time, to create a set of back-tab, lined curtains entirely by hand with a combination of overcast stitches, running stitches and backstitches. I’ve since been given a sewing machine to speed up the process and now know what a French seam is, and have learned a few more things that might have made the process easier. I would still like to make some things by hand as it seems hand and machine-sewing are separate (while still overlapping) skill sets, so I’ll be referring back to this page and this website. Thanks!

  6. Susan Neill says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have used some of the stitches but didn’t know what they were called. I also learned some new ones which will be helpful as I do a lot of alterations. I look forward to your future articles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *