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Types of Stitches used in Hand Sewing - Kinds of Plain Stitch

Stitches used in Hand Sewing

Stitches have become very important in dressmaking. You may find hand stitches and also machine stitches or perhaps overlocker.

Quite a few stitches have been used to temporarily secure fabrics with each other including tacking before a permanent stitch could be used to finally finish the item of clothing. The temporary stitch could possibly be pulled out after stitching on the permanent stitch. Non-permanent stitches can also be applied to transfer pattern markings on clothing materials, joining hems as well as to use for edges of elastics.

The two main kinds of stitches applied to hand sewing are ornamental stitches in addition to plain stitches.

The various types of stitches which you can use in plain stitches are: slip stitch, basting, stitching, buttonhole stitch, hemming, overcasting, blind stitch, back stitch, gathering, over handing, running stitch and darning.

For a finished apparel to carry a whole new look, it needs to have passed through a very good sewing, properly ironed, completely stitched and finished ends, hems or corners along with the threads that have to secure all the clothing to one another.

Plain / Hand Sewing Stitches Photo

a—Running; b—Running and back; c—Half back; d—Back stitch.

a—Running; b—Running and back; c—Half back; d—Back stitch.

Plain Sewing Stitches

Basting / Tacking

This is a temporary sewing stitch that is used to hold clothes/fabrics in place as you put in permanent stitches. Tacking can be used on garment seams, hems or where you want to hold two pieces of fabrics temporarily together. In tacking or basting hems, do not tack the edge, but very near it. Tack near the line where you want to stitch.

Stitches Used In Tacking / Basting Photo

BASTING STITCHES:                                                         a—Even; b—Uneven; c—For wiry fabrics; d—Tacking; e—Overcasting; f—Double or tailor overcasting.

BASTING STITCHES: a—Even; b—Uneven; c—For wiry fabrics; d—Tacking; e—Overcasting; f—Double or tailor overcasting.


Stitching is also referred to as back stitch. It works like machine stitch. It is used for seaming. It is done by taking a stitch from right to left. On the upper side of the clothing you take a stitch backwards and on the underside, you take a long stitch forward. The stitches meet on the top just like in machine stitch.


A gathering is done by taking a bunch of fabric and using running stitch or loose machine stitch on the fabric and then pulling the threads so that the fabric gathers as it reduces in size to fit or for designing ruffled effect.

Overcast Stitch

Overcast stitch is the hand-stitch that is used to neaten raw edges of fabrics. It is a slanting stitch used to keep raw edges from ravelling. Remember to always trim the fabric edges before using an overcast stitch. Overcasting is to take loose stitches over raw edges of clothes from right to left in order to keep it from ravelling before machine stitching the fabric.

Slip Stitch

This type of stitch is used to attach a folded edge to another layer of fabric by taking a long stitch through it.



Blindstitch is done in such a way that it is invisible on the right side of the fabric. To use a blind stitch on a hem, you will have to turn back the hem's edge and stitch or hem with a single stitch that will not show on either side. The slip stitch is used as a long stitch and blind stitch on the hem.



A hem is formed when you turn over the edge of a piece of fabric twice so that there is a fold and you can then sew this fold together. It is best to trim the edge of the clothes before you turn the hem.

Darning Stitch

Darning is done by mending holes or repairing cloth by reweaving threads into the torn holes. You should not knot the thread, only leave a short end of the thread and cut it when you have finished mending the clothe hole. This kind of plain stitch can be used on stockings and other clothes such as knit fabrics.


Overhanding Stitch

Overhand stitch is used to sew closely over two edges of fabrics from right to left and from left to right. Overhand stitch can be used to sew bands on gathers.


Backstitch is used mainly for seaming and outlining. It is a hand-stitch that uses the double stitch on the wrong side. Back stitch is used to make stitches that follow one another without leaving any space. This is done by placing the needle on the last stitch and bringing it out, and starting all over again, that is, keep putting the needle on the last stitch and bringing it out

Running Stitch

Running stitch is a bit like basting stitch. It is used to stitch seams that do not need great strength. Running stitch is a quick way to join tucking, seams or gathers in fabrics, although it is not as strong as back stitch.

How to Position Hand in Running Stitch


Buttonhole Stitch

Buttonhole stitch is used to neaten and give more strength to the buttonhole raw edges.

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Learn How To Make Basic Hand Stitches


Michelle on April 03, 2019:

good guide for the essentials.

donique robinson on September 23, 2016:


ronald abriol on January 29, 2016:

very nice done the ilution ??????

Theresa D (author) from England, UK on November 16, 2014:

Hi kiyanna, sorry that you are looking for information on permanent stitch. This article is about general information about different types of plain stitcthes used in handsewing and not machine. Thanks for reading!

kiyanna on November 15, 2014:

This doesn't show me anything about permanent stitch :-)

Theresa D (author) from England, UK on June 21, 2014:

@jayvie, Great to know that you love sewing. Keep it up!

jayvie marundan jose on June 21, 2014:

I love this because its the best thing to help the others who don't know how to sewing use a simple hand.. I love this

I like sewing sewing is my hobbies i m grade 7 only but I'm passionate this thing ... And I'm proud to be Filipino ....

Theresa D (author) from England, UK on February 09, 2013:

It is a pleasure to know that this hub will benefit your projects. Thanks for reading.

lycaperez on February 09, 2013:

this is good for our projects=)

Theresa D (author) from England, UK on December 04, 2012:

Good to learn that this hub was of help to you. Thanks joanna for dropping in.

joanna on December 03, 2012:

thank's very helpful.

Theresa D (author) from England, UK on February 08, 2012:

Thank you kschimmel for your visit. Hand sewing is a creative way one can stitch many fabrics at home.

Kimberly Schimmel from North Carolina, USA on February 07, 2012:

Very nicely done! The illustrations are most helpful for a beginner.

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