Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hand Stitching

Use hand stitches to finish garment hems and sew on fasteners. Some hand stitches are also used to baste, reinforce, or decorate as well as mend.

Either make a small knot or take two small stitches on top of each other on the wrong side to secure the beginning and end stitches.

Basting stitch: This is temporary stitching to mark or hold fabric layers together. It is removed after permanent stitching is finished. Even basting is used to hold seams together for fitting or until permanent stitching is complete. These stitches are about 1/4 " long and even on both sides of the fabric. Uneven basting is used for marking or to hold a hem in place for stitching. Sew 1" stitches on the top side of the fabric and 1/4" stitches on the bottom. You can take several stitches then pull the needle through.

Running stitch: The easiest hand stitch, running stitch is used to gather, ease, tuck, quilt, or sew seams that get little or no strain. Use tiny, even stitches 1/16" to 1/4 " long.

Backstitch: This is the strongest hand stitch and replicates machine stitching. Use it to repair seams and securely fasten thread ends. Use tiny running stitches, beginning by inserting the needle at the end of the previous stitch. Bring the needle out one stitch length in front of the thread. Keep inserting the needle in the end of the last stitch and bringing it out ahead of the thread. The underside stitches will be twice as long as the upper side stitches.

Slip stitch: Used to attach one folded edge to another piece of fabric such as hems, linings, trims and patch pockets. Slip the needle inside the fold for 1/4", pick up one or two threads of the other fabric, then continue by stitching through the fold and then the other fabric.

Lock Hemming stitch: Used to hold hems in place, this stitch is more difficult to pull out than the traditional hemming stitch. Take a tiny stitch in the hem, hold the thread back and away from the hem, then take a small stitch in the garment. When pulled smooth, the thread should "lock", making it more difficult to pull out. Space stitches about 3/8" apart.

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