6 Types of Hand Stitches

To gain expertise in sewing by hand, you need to know all the types of hand stitches. There are several popular hand stitches that you can use to sew anything you want. You can use them to make embroidery, buttonholes, repair tore clothes quickly, and much more. Hand stitches are easy to use and are convenient in many situations that need stitching.

Common Types of Hand Stitches

Running stitch

This is the easiest of hand stitches. It forms a straight line of stitches on the fabric or garment it is used on. It is used to gather, mend, and tuck as required. To make a running stitch, your first step is to insert your threaded needle from the wrong side of the fabric. With the needle on the other side, skip a few pieces of thread and pass your needle through that point. Repeat these two steps until you are at the end of the tear or fabric.


The backstitch is a popular hand stitch for the firm and solid stitches it makes. Making this stitch by hand is easy and you can use it to sew anything. There are sewing machines that can make this stitch. The backstitch looks like a chain. To make the backstitch, make your first complete stitch. As its end, start your next stitch. Repeat until you have sewn completely.

Hemming stitch

This is a hand stitch used to sew hems on garments. The hemming stitch is firm and is not easily removed. The hemming stitch is neat and does not show on the other side of the fabric being sewn. Start a hemming stitch, insert your needle in the hemming allowance of your garment or fabric. Start your second stitch a few threads away from your first thread and stitch it diagonally on the hem. Repeat to the end of the seam or hem.

Overcast stitch

As the name suggests, an overcast stitch sews on the edges of the fabric. It ensures that garment edges do not hang. The stitch practically holds down the sewed edges. It is also known as a whip stitch. To make the overcast stitch, bring your needle from the backside of the fabric. Loop the needle over your fabric and insert the needle at the beginning of the stitch. Repeat this process until you have sewn your whole seam or garment.

Tacking stitch

The tacking stitch is a long thread stitch that is easily removed. It is also known as a basting stitch. This stitch is suitable for holding sewing smooth fabrics. It is used when testing the fit of garments, hence its ease of removal. It is similar to a running stitch only easier to remove.

Buttonhole stitch

The buttonhole stitch is a decorative stitch that is used to enclose the raw edges of thick fabrics, such as wool. It is also known as a blanket stitch because it is mostly used on blanket edges. Start your stitches slightly inside your fabric and make a starting knot. Push the needle down and then bring it up at the first stitch. Pull gently to form a loop then put your needle through the loop to form a tight knot. Repeat this process to the end of the length of the fabric you are sewing.

How to Hand Stitch?

  1. Assemble everything you need to hand stitch. This includes a needle, thimble, thread, fabric, needle threader if required and scissors or razors to cut the thread or fabric. Make sure to match the color of the tread to the fabric you are sewing.
  2. Thread your needle. For many people, it is difficult to thread needles. You can lick the edges of the thread for it to easily go through the needle. You can also use your needle threader to make threading easier. Tie the end of the thread into a knot that will secure your stitches when you start sewing.
  3. Make your first stitch. You can sew from left to right or right to left. Push your needle down through the fabric until the knot on the sewing thread touches the fabric. This knot ensures that your thread or stitches hold firmly onto the fabric.
  4. Make your second stitch. Push the needle through the fabric to bring it up to the top side of the fabric. The stitch you are using to sew will now determine how you make your next stage. For a running stitch, for example, make your next stitch by pushing your needle straight through the fabric.
  5. Repeat this stitch until you have reached the end of the length of the fabric you are sewing.
  6. At the end of your sewing, tie a final knot to hold your stitches firm. This knot ensures that your stitches do not run after you are done stitching.

What is the Best Stitch for Hand Sewing?

The best stitch is one that is firm enough to hold whatever it sews for a considerable amount of time. It is difficult to compare the sewing machine stitches. However, hand sewing experts agree that some stitches work better than others. Hand sewing is used in many circumstances and different stitches are used for different results.

One of the most popular hand stitches is the backstitch. Many hand sewing experts consider it the best stitch for hand sewing. There are many reasons for this title, first, the backstitch holds sewed fabric together strongly. Sewing the backstitch requires that you pass your needle at every start of the next stitch twice. This makes the stitch stronger, and. its sewing firm. This means that your seams, garments, or fabrics will not tear easily.

The backstitch can also be used on different fabrics for good sewing results. Different stitches suit different types of fabrics. Some stitches will not work for thick fabrics like wool, but the backstitch will. It will work even on smooth fabrics that will not handle other different types of hand stitches.

When faced with difficult repairs for the sewing machine, many tailors opt for the backstitch. It is mainly used with complicated repairs and closing seams. With its results comparable to those of machine sewing, the backstitch easily wins the best stitch for hand sewing.

How Do You End a Stitch by Hand?

There are two main ways that different sewing enthusiasts end stitches when sewing by hand. You can either use a backstitch or use knots. These methods are used interchangeably or can also be used together on the same project without a problem. There are different ways to make an ending loop when sewing by hand.

The easiest way to make a finishing knot when sewing by hand is tying the knot by hand. When you get to the end of your project, tie your thread around your finger to make a loop. Pass the hanging end of the thread through the loop to and pull to make a knot. You can also make a knot easily when you are using a double thread. At the end of your sewing, tie the two sides of the thread together to form a knot. Repeat two or three times for a tight knot that will not come undone. Cut off the excess thread with scissors or a razor.

Besides the backstitch and knot making, you can also end your sewing by making your last stitch at the seams of the fabric or garment you are sewing. This means that you have come to the end of the fabric. A last stitch on the seam ensures that you have a firm stitch that is unlikely to come off on its own.

These are some easy methods those who fancy sewing by hand can implement for a safer and firm stitch.



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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