Auxiliary Reference Information | Sewing | Different Stitch Types

During the course of working through the modules and when creating your garments you will need to become familiar with stitch names and understand how you can best use them and have practiced stitching them.

These stitches are not only useful for making garment but they are also useful to help you alter garments and for mending, the sort of things that should be taught in schools!

Now this list is not exhaustive but I have added some of the main stitches and will add more at a later Date!

So if you are not familiar, grab a coffee and a pet to watch you some scrap fabric, a needle and thread and scissors and work through these stitches and have a go, practice makes perfect!

Back Stitch

Info and Application - The Back Stitch is the very strongest stitch that you can do by hand as you are almost doubling stitching the fabric as you move backwards to move forwards. Usually used to secure fabric, you would use this stitch to join fabric pieces together.

Stitch Size – Usually Medium to Small.

Direction of Sewing – Right to Left.

Single/Double – A doubled thread helps when working with thicker layers like gathers or lace overlays or heavy skirts.

Decorative – Not really used for decoration.

Blanket or Button Hole Stitch

Info and Application – This stitch is usually used for decorative purposes to either cover an edging such as a Button Hole or to use on metal hardware to disguise it such as hooks and eyes or to cover a French Tack to use as a closure with a button or hook.

Stitch Size – Usually Small.

Direction of Sewing – Left to Right.

Single/Double – Either, double will give a quicker coverage, but a single thicker thread gives a nice decorative edging.

Decorative – Yes.

Flat Fell Stitch

Info and Application – This is a very useful stitch which is very strong and secure and quick to sew. It holds a layer in place on top of another layer. It is used mainly to secure linings at seams or bindings or facings.

It gives lots of control over the position of fabric such as being able to sew a lining just shy of an edge so really useful for securing lining to a zip, it gives a neat finish with no snagging.

It can be used to secure a lining into the Waist of a bodice to hide everything inside.

It can also be used to sew on Applique or Patch Pockets.

Here is the back view.

Stitch Size – Usually a medium sized stitch.

Direction of Sewing – Left to Right.

Single/Double – Usually Single.

Decorative – In that it is mostly hidden so gives a clean finish.

French Tack

Info and Application – This stitch creates a chain of stitches a little like a crochet chain and created with the fingers. It is useful to use as a loop for a small button to join a fastening at the back of a neck or to join lining in a skirt to the fashion fabric, or to create mini straps across a Shoulder Seam in a bodice to hold bra straps in place, or to create belt loops for decorative belts on lighter fabrics.

The thread is secured either with a knot or with the thread wrapped around the need to create a knot, and a couple of stitches secures the end (see Knots below).

Place the needle back into the fabric through the same stitch and pull out but hold the loop back.

Then it’s basically finger crochet. You grab through the loop and pull the thread through as if it is another loop, as you hold onto this loop the previous loop will slide down until it is in place at the bottom.

Keep repeating this looping and sliding until a line of knots are made that are the length of chain that you require.

Then the needle goes through the loop and is pulled though to close the last loop.

When the chain is long enough attach the other end in position, for example attach to a lining or further along or for whatever application you are using it for. The other end is secured down with a couple of stitches

In this case a bar has been formed that could be used to secure a button or a hook for example.

Stitch Size – Very Small.

Direction of Sewing – Up.

Single/Double – Usually Double.

Decorative – Decorative and Functional.

Gathered Stitching

Info and Application – Lines of thread are stitched with parallel to each other. Up to three lines can be stitched and, three lines produces the best gathering result. The first line of sewing is sewn onto the stitching line and the second and third are sewn in the Seam Allowance.

The thread on the wrong side of the fabric are the ones usually pulled and each line of threads are pulled up by the same amount to create tiny pleats that are in line with each other over the three lines of stitching. Once lined up the fabric is pressed at the Seam Allowance to help the gathers stay in position while they are stitched to an adjoining seam, usually by tacking first.

Here 2 lines of stitching were used to and the back threads pulled to create a gather.

Here they are pressed to help hold them in shape prior to stitching.

Here 3 rows of stitching are used which creates a better structure for the gathers.

Here the gathers have been pulled up very tight and the columns of fabric are very pronounced.

Here the gathers are loosened off but you can still see how they create columns of fabric through the three lines of stitching.

Stitch Size – A smaller stitch will give the best result and keep the gather in place better, although the stitch requires pulling to create the gathered effect so if the stitch is too small the thread will snap so a test is a good idea to see what will work with the fabric to give the desired result.

Direction of Sewing – Up.