Throughout the instructions on this web site we have used a variety of stitches and the more commonly used are illustrated below.

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Backstitch instructions imageBackstitch is the strongest hand stitch and is used to imitate machine stitches.

Work backstitch from right to left.

  1. Begin with a couple of stitches worked on the spot, and then take a stitch and a space.
  2. Take the needle back over the space and bring it out the same distance in front of the thread.
  3. Continue to the end of the seam.
  4. Fasten off with a couple of stitches on the spot.

Oversewing Stitch

Oversewing instructions imageOversewing, or overcasting, is a way to neaten a raw edge to prevent heavyweight fabrics from fraying. Relate the length of the stitch to the fabric and how badly it will fray.

  1. Begin with a few backstitches.
  2. Make diagonal stitches over the raw edge, spacing them equally and make them all the same length. Be careful not to pull the stitches too tight.

Running Stitch

Running stitch instructions imageThis stitch is used for seams and for gathering.

  1. Fasten the thread with a few backstitches and work small stitches by passing the needle in and out of the fabric. Keep the stitches and spaces as even as possible.


This stitch is used for holding a folded edge, such as a double hem, to a flat piece of fabric.

  1. Slipstitch instructions imageWork from right to left with a single thread fastened with a knot hidden inside the hem.
  2. Bring the needle out through the folded edge, pick up a few threads of the flat fabric and then work through the fold again.
  3. Slide the needle along, come out of the fold to make the next stitch.

Tacking Stitch

This is used to hold the fabric in position while it is being permanently stitched. Similar to running stitch but with longer stitches. Also known as Basting.

  1. Tacking stitch instructions imageWork with single or double thread, knotted at the end, and make evenly spaced stitches by taking the needle in and out of the fabric.
  2. End a line of tacking with 1 backstitch or a knot.
  3. To release the tacking stitches, cut off the knot and pull out the thread.

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