August 18, 2014

how-to // sewing stitches

I hope you have been enjoying my how-to posts, because here's another one! I have been fortunate enough in my life to learn about many different crafting techniques, & I like sharing what I know. My combined know-how comes from my mom, my short stint working at the craft store, & through experimenting. Today we're going to look at different types of stitches that are used in sewing. Most of these stitches are created with a sewing machine, but I will indicate whether or not they can be done by hand. 
Straight stitch (machine & hand) // I use a straight stitch for the majority of my sewing projects. It works on fabric without much give (cotton, polyester, satin, etc.). When sewn by hand, the straight stitch is a continuous line using one thread. By machine, it's a continuous line using two threads. You can lengthen your machine's stitches by turning the stitch length dial. 
Zig zag stitch (machine) // If you adjust the width of the straight stitch, you get the zig zag stitch. The zig zag is great for fabrics that stretch (i.e. knit). When sewing stretchy fabric, pull your fabric taut as you sew. The zig zag stitch will allow the seam to move along with the fabric as it stretches. You could also use the zig zag stitch to reinforce seams that will get a lot of wear, or as a decorative stitch. 
Overlock or serger stitch (machine) // This is the stitch you see on hemlines of store-bought clothing. It is only possible to create this stitch with an overlock machine. The machine typically cuts the fabric as it stitches. I've never used an overlock machine, but I felt it was worth mentioning for curiosities' sake. 
Basting stitch (machine or hand) // When a pattern calls for a basting stitch, it is referring to a loose stitch that will be sewn over later. The basting stitch acts similarly to a line of pins that is holding your fabric in place. If you are basting by hand, sew a loose straight stitch. If you are basting by machine, use a straight stitch with greater length, & do not tie off on the ends. 
Blanket stitch (hand) // The blanket stitch is a decorative stitch that prevents fraying, like the overlock stitch, but it can be done by hand. It is used on raw edges of fabric in place of a hem, or for decoration. 

What is your go-to stitch for a sewing project? 


Related // Use the zig zag stitch to make an infinity scarf, or to decoratively sew some bunting

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