How to Hand Sew: 15 Basic Hand Stitches For Beginners

With these 15 basic hand stitches, you can easily learn how to hand sew your own clothes, alter a hem and hand stitch a seam! This step-by-step hand stitch sewing guide will show you exactly how to hand sew, the basic hand stitches for beginners and also the best hand stitches for sewing projects.

When you learn how to hand sew, you can easily hand stitch a hem, hand sew a seam or even fix torn clothes. Using the 15 basic hand stitches for beginners, you can understand how to hand sew and easily make basic clothing alterations.

 

How To Hand Sew For Beginners

There is no need to own a fancy sewing machine if you know hand stitching techniques and how to hand sew for beginners. There are many DIY sewing projects that replicate these basic hand stitches. Within no time, you will master the necessary skills aimed at how to hand sew for beginners.

There are so many fun DIY sewing tutorials, refashion old clothes projects and fun ways to make dresses from scratch. A sewing machine can be a little intimidating when it comes to knowing exactly what to buy or even how to use all the functions and features.

Start with 15 basic hand stitches and learn sewing skills like how to hand sew for beginners.

 

1. Even Basting Stitch

Even basting stitch is a hand stitch that is used when basting seams together to check the fit of a garment before finish sewing.

  • Weave the needle in and out of the fabric using evenly spaced intervals of ¼ to ½ inch length.
  • You can easily make multiple stitches by weaving the needle in and out of the fabric before pulling the thread through.
  • Do not lock the even basting stitch from both ends.

 

2. Uneven Basting Stitch

Uneven basting stitch is used for holding together the underlining of the garment fabric. The short stitches will show on the back of the fabric and a long stitch across the front of the fabric.

  • Weave the needle in and out of the fabric using unevenly spaced intervals.
  • You can easily make multiple stitches by weaving the needle in and out of the fabric before pulling the thread through.

 

3. Thread Tracing Stitch

Thread tracing stitch is used to outline the stitching lines, fold lines, and also with the placement of pockets on a piece of fabric. This technique helps to match up pattern pieces.

Pro Tip: Use this hand stitch if you are working with heavy textured fabrics.

  • Follow the seam allowance along the edge of the pattern.
  • Thread the needle through the garment by switching from long to short thread length.
  • Secure both ends with backstitch so they are easier to remove once complete.

 

4. Diagonal Basting Stitch

Diagonal basting stitch is used to hold all the layers of a coat or jacket together while fitting a person.

  • Insert the needle into the fabric from the topside and then come back up through the fabric about 3/8” above the point where the needle entered.
  • This creates short vertical stitches across the garment.
  • To make a diagonal basting stitch, insert the threaded needle 1” to the side of the first position.
  • Then again, pull the needle back up through the fabric about 3/8” above the point where the needle just entered.
  • Continue the diagonal basting stitch pattern until the fabrics are secure

 

5. Full Backstitch

Full backstitch is the strongest hand stitch and is used to replicate sewing machine stitches.

  • Pull the threaded needle up from the backside of the fabric.
  • Then, make a single running stitch and pull the thread to keep the stitch taut from the backside of the fabric.
  • Bring your needle up through the fabric again maintaining an equal length to the running stitch.
  • Repeat the process until you finish the full backstitch pattern.

 

6. Half Backstitch (Prick Stitch)

Half backstitch is also called prick stitch. It is used to keep facings and linings from showing on the right side of the garment.

  • Pull the threaded needle up from the backside of the fabric.
  • Then, make a single running stitch and pull the thread to keep the stitch taut from the backside of the fabric.
  • Bring your needle up through the fabric about three times the length to the running stitch.
  • Repeat the process until you finish the full backstitch pattern.

 

7. Overcast Stitch

Overcast stitch is used to secure the edges of the fabric to prevent it from unraveling or to mend a tear.

  • Start on the backside of the raw edge of the fabric.
  • Make a series of slanted stitches that are spaced equally and also make sure they are looped around the edges of both fabrics.
  • Close the overcast stitch to finish.

 

8. Blanket Stitch

Blanket stitch is good stitch for finishing edges and making thick, cozy blankets.

  • Thread your needle and knot the tail end. Start by sending your needle up from the backside of the fabric.
  • Create a loop around the edge and poke your needle up through the same spot where you started.
  • Send the needle through the loop stitch you just made. Thread the needle through the stitch created along the edge.
  • Then, poke the needle down from the top about 1/4″ over from where the thread first came up, and about 1/4″ away from the edge.
  • Bring your needle up from the back, and through the loop of thread. This should create a straight line down to the edge.
  • Repeat the process until you finish the blanket stitch pattern.

 

9. Slipstitch (Tailor Hem)

Slipstitch is used to make hidden seams in between two folded pieces of a flat edge. The best way to use this stitch is to bind, close a lining, to sew an appliqué patch and closing ends of any straps.

  • Iron the folds of the fabric and bring the threaded needle from the backside of the fold to hide the knot.
  • Pull the needle and thread through the folded edge.
  • Grab a bit of fabric from the opposite side of the fabric fold.
  • Pull the needle through.
  • Insert the needle back towards the opposite side and then repeat the slipstitch pattern until you close the folded fabric opening.

 

10. Catch Stitch

Catch stitch is used to create invisible hems. It is perfect for light fabrics such as chiffon or silk fabrics, so that you won’t see the stitches.

  • Hide the knot in the fold by starting at the opposite end, and then pull the threaded needle.
  • Make a diagonal stitch with your threaded needle to the other piece of fabric.
  • Space your threaded needle a small length away and make a diagonal stitch back to the starting fabric.
  • Grab a bit of fabric and continue making the diagonal catch stitch until you’ve attached the two fabrics together.

 

11. Blind Hem Stitch

A blind hem stitch is a classic way to tailor trousers or skirts to the right length because the stitch creates a barely-visible hem. As a result, the hem has a crisp and clean appearance that is easy to do with just a bit of practice.

  • Hide the knot in the fold by starting at the folded side of fabric, and then pull the threaded needle.
  • From the backside, pull the needle up through the fabric.
  • Grab a bit of the fabric from the underneath hem.
  • Again, grab the folded fabric from the side where you began.
  • Repeat the blind hem pattern until you complete the opening.

 

12. Running Stitch

Running stitch is the most common hand stitch technique. The straight stitch can be made on a sewing machine, but also is quick hand stitch that can be used where the sewing machine cannot reach.

  • Weave the needle in and out of the fabric using your desired stitch length.
  • You may also make several stitches before completely pulling the needle through the fabric.
  • Lock the running stitch when finished.

 

13. Securing Stitch

Securing stitch prevents an unnecessary loosening of your stitches. It is mostly done at the end of a weaved needle.

  • Make a small back stitch and then create a thread loop.
  • Then, pull the needle through the loop.
  • Repeat the process twice to make a small knot so that the securing stich will have a stronger lock.

 

14. Whipstitch

Whipstitch is a short, diagonal stitch along the edges of two fabrics. It is similar to zig zag stitch on the sewing machine and great for hemming.

  • Pull the threaded needle up through the top fabric, making sure the knot stays in between the two fabrics.
  • Pierce through the bottom fabric at the same place you started on the top fabric. This will lock the starting stitch in its place.
  • Push the needle through the bottom fabric and create a diagonal stitch along the edge of the fabric. To secure both fabrics together, the threaded needle must exit the top fabric.
  • Repeat the process until you reach the other end of fabric. Don’t forget to lock the whip stitch.

 

15. Buttonhole Stitch

Buttonhole stitch is very similar to a blanket stitch but knots after each stitch. Wrap the thread around the needle in the opposite direction to make a knot.

  • Thread your needle and knot the tail end. Start by sending your needle up from the backside of the fabric.
  • Create a loop around the edge and poke your needle up through the same spot where you started.
  • Send the needle through the loop stitch you just made. Thread the needle through the stitch created along the edge.
  • Then, poke the needle down from the top about 1/4″ over from where the thread first came up, and about 1/4″ away from the bottom point.
  • Bring your needle up from the back, and through the loop of thread. This should create a straight line down to the bottom point and also create a small knot near the top.
  • Repeat the process until you finish the buttonhole stitch pattern.

 

Another way to practice your basic hand stitching techniques is to learn how to hand sew with a simple refashion project. Embroidery is a simple way to add embellishment to a plain white shirt while getting comfortable working with needle and thread.

With this 15 basic hand stitches step by step tutorial, you can easily refashion a sweatshirt or fix a torn hem to upgrade your capsule wardrobe.

Who taught you how to hand sew?

Share your favorite hand stitch project ideas with us!

XOXO

Soonjoo Uh

I graduated with a bachelors of fine arts degree in fashion design. I worked in the fashion industry as a lead designer for major brand name labels such as Stitch Fix, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, and Dillards. Now, I am the founder of the website Fashion Wanderer where I share current fashion trends, style tips and how to build a capsule wardrobe collection.

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