How To Sew Zigzag Stitch By Hand

The use of sewing machines for our day-to-day stitching has helped individuals and business owners alike make creative clothing apparel for personal effect and also business needs. All they need is the required level of skill to successfully operate a sewing machine. Now, in other scenarios, individuals might lack the basic sewing technique useful in the operation of a sewing machine but want to create amazing zigzag stitches to protect the edge of their fabrics. This article is developed to share basic DIY methods that you can use to sew a zigzag stitch by hand right from the comfort of your home.

How To Sew Zigzag Stitch By Hand 

Step 1: Put the needle into the fabric and pull it all through. Make sure the threads are lining up and no tangles.

Step 2: Make a single straight stitch to anchor the beginning of your stitching.

Step 3: Create an overcast by pulling the thread through the wrong side of the fabric and pulling it out on the right side.

Step 3: Go over the edge and through the next hole that was previously made in our stitching.

Step 4: The complete zigzag will protect the edge of your work.

Steps to Sew Zigzag Stitch By Hand

For a beginner sewer, you might have learned how to make various straight stitches around your fabric, but your fabric keeps pulling off at the edges. This is where the zigzag stitch comes in.

Zigzag stitches are used to protect the raw material edges. The zigzag thread prevents the sides of the fabric from unraveling. There are also decorative types of the zigzag thread; choosing a type depends solely on your decision.

Most, if not all, sewing projects benefit from the zigzag stitch. This secures the edges of each seam to prevent the threads from pulling out. Sewing machines can easily do a zigzag stitch, but in situations where the project is small, then handmade zigzag stitch is the best route to take.

There are 2 different types of zigzag stitch, namely, the simple zigzag stitch and zigzag chain stitch.

I will be sharing the method for doing both types of the zigzag stitch.

Simple Zigzag Stitch


  • Insert the needle through the fabric at the starting point of your stitch marked as point A. Make another hole from the back of the material through to the front.  Draw the needle and thread through entirely so that the end knot is placed at the back of your fabric. Your A point should be at the bottom-right edge of your chosen stitch line 
  • The next thing is to stitch a vertical line. Turn over the fabric and insert the needle at a position directly above your A point. This new insertion point will be marked in point B. Afterward, pull the needle and thread completely through to the back of the fabric, creating a flat vertical stitch between your mark A and B. This stitch must be straight, not slanted.
  • Insert the needle through the fabric at point A again. Pull the needle and thread through from back to front.
  •  Stitch across the fabric diagonally. Cross the thread over the front of the fabric and insert the needle at a point lying equally between point B and to its left, tag as C.
  •  Insert the needle through the fabric from back to front, bringing it through at a point vertically beneath C and to the left of A.
  •  The next step is to repeat the process down the length of the stitch and end the row with a vertical stitch.
  •  Overlap the end stitches and secure the edges by zigzagging your stitches through the whole length of the row. Then knot the stitch at the back.

Zigzag Chain Stitch.

  • · Stick the needle in through to the front of the fabric. Insert the needle through the fabric from back to front. Begin at the bottom left edge of your stitch line.
  •  Insert the needle at a point directly above your stitch line. You should ensure that a few threads separate the 2 points.
  • Insert the tip of the needle along the back of the fabric at a 45” angle. Insert it through the front of the fabric at a point lying to the diagonal of the point above the stitch line; you can tag as point B.
  •  Then pull the thread into a loop by using your fingers to position the thread leading into the point above your stitch line underneath the tip of the needle coming out at point B.
  •  The next step is to tighten the loop by pulling the needle and thread completely through to the front of the fabric again.
  •  At a point that overlaps B, insert the needle and poke the needle out of the fabric through the front at an angle of 45″.
  •   Then repeat the chain procedure highlighted above.
  • Continue to make chains over the length of the row until you reach the end of the row. Each chain should be slanted in the direction opposite to the slant of the chain before and after it.
  • Finally, knot the thread at the back to keep the stitch in place.

 The two methods highlighted above will set you on the right path to making a zigzag stitch by hand.

How tO Do a Zigzag Stitch Using a Sewing Machine?

 Even though it has been shown that doing a zigzag stitch by hand can be quite easy and stress-free. The convenience that comes with stitching using a sewing machine cannot be over-emphasized. If you are more comfortable doing your zigzag stitch by hand, the next few paragraphs will show you how to go about it.

If you already know how to do a straight stitch, then all you have to is thread your machine using those steps.

Most sewing machines have zigzag stitch settings. Selecting the right breadth and width for your zigzag stitch depends on your requirements. Using a longer stitch settings means the thread runs longer along with the fabric, thus creating a flat-looking zigzag—a smaller amount of stitch results in a Satin stitch.

A higher number will make each leg of the stitch longer, making the zigzag look larger. A smaller number means that each leg of the stitch will be shorter, creating a tighter zigzag.

To make a zigzag pattern using a sewing machine, you should lower your presser foot and your needle into the fabric. Make sure your machine is set on zigzag and sew an inch forward. Just like with the straight stitch, now push the reverse button and sew an inch backward (back-stitching) and move in the forward direction again.

Zigzag stitches are very useful for repairing holes, and even more importantly, they serve as reinforcement for the edge of fabrics after stitching.

Why Should I Use a Zigzag Stitch?

The most common reason it is advisable to use a zigzag stitch is to provide support for the edge of fabrics. But there are a couple of other reasons why you may need a zigzag stitch, namely;

  1.     A zigzag is a more solid stitch, so it helps to keep fabrics held extra tight. An example is when you want to hold the edge of your towel, so it doesn’t loose shape, a zigzag stitch is your best bet.
  2.     Zigzag can be used to prevent friction. If you’re sewing clothes or something that you want to be nice and you don’t want to fry any raw edges, you can zigzag them first.
  3.     Zigzags are used in applique and buttonholes. 
  4.     It is also very good for reinforcing stretch fabrics.
  5.     A zigzag stitch will also patch a hole in any part of your fabric.

Whatever you decide to use a zigzag stitch, it is a very crucial type of stitch that can keep your fabric usable for years without any loss in shape or fraying,

Related Questions

How do you stop a stitch from unraveling?

To prevent your stitch from stretching out of shape, it is preferable to secure them using a backstitch or lock stitch.

What is an overedge stitch?

The Overedge Stitch is used for sewing sportswear and stretch knit fabrics. It sews the seam and finishes the stitching process in one step.



I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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