What is A Straight Stitch Used For

When it comes to stitching, there are plenty of things that you need to learn in order to master this art. Sewing is not just mending your fabrics, but it also involves a lot of creativity. Each stitching technique has its prominence that you need to understand. There are plenty of stitching techniques that will help you in different situations. It is essential to learn all the basic and necessary stitches to become efficient in sewing.

A straight stitch is one of the common stitches that you learn when you start your sewing, and it is common to all sewing machines. In this article, you will get to learn more about straight stitch and where it is commonly used.

What is Straight Stitch Used For

A straight stitch is a basic stitch used in sewing. It is generally used to stitch two fabric pieces together. A straight stitch is also used to sew a few stitches in the beginning and end of the fabric for better hold. Apart from this, a straight stitch is also used for home decoration and craft projects. Created with interlocking needles and threads, straight stitch varies according to its use. 

Different Applications of Straight Stitch

There are plenty of applications of straight stitches that you must know as it is one of the basic stitches that helps in kickstarting your sewing journey. Here are a few uses of straight stitches in sewing.


Joining the seams of two fabrics is the common use of the straight stitch. All sewing machines have etched markings on it that work as guidelines to adjust the width when sewing. Line up the edges of the fabric and sew along with the guidelines. You can use any cloth for seam joining; there are no particular materials on which you can try this.


It is a type of straight stitch which is done outside the garment or fabric. It is generally done as a decorative embellishment. For this, you need to set your machine to a straight stitch with a length range of 3 to 3.5mm. Take a topstitching needle (90/14) to start sewing.

Quilt Piecing

You can also use straight stitching for quilt piecing as well. It is generally done with 1/4” seam allowance. Using a quarter-inch foot can prove to be beneficial for such stitches. Make sure to press down the seams towards the fabric in order to prevent the seam allowance from being visible.

Edge Stitching

Edge stitching is done to add more stability to your fabrics. For instance, if you are making tote bags, you can use edge stitching as a decorative element, along with giving it more stability and strength. Sew with a seam allowance of 1/8” from the edges.

Decorative Stitching

As mentioned earlier, the straight stitch can also be used for decorative purposes as well. If you have a creative mind and want to explore your sewing talents, you must use a straight stitch to make patterns and designs on the fabric. Experiment with different types of threads and create unique designs. If you are new to sewing, it is advised to use a fabric marker before starting to stitch in a design.


This type of stitching is used to hold the fabric temporarily. Light straight stitches are used in basting. For instance, if you want to check the fitting of the garment before actual sewing, you need to do the basting. For this, you have to set the machine on the straight stitch and use the longest stitch setting. This way, you can have a lighter straight stitch for the basting. Sew the rows of basting and remove the garment to check the fitting.

Free Motion Quilting

Free motion quilting is stitching together top fabric, back fabric, and batting with a straight stitch. As the name suggests, it is done on quilts. You must have seen free moving lines of stitches on the quilts; it is done to press the fabrics together and create a firm hold. For this, you need to select the straight stitch and move the material manually together through the seam guideline. You can use a definitive pattern or more in free motion.

Channel Quilting

It is yet another quilt stitching technique that focuses on layering. It creates dimensions by stitching rows spaced apart. A straight stitch with shorter length is used to complete the channel quilting. It not only creates dimensions but strengthens the stitches as well. To prevent the layers from shifting, you must use even a feed or walking foot, which are optional accessories in some machines.

Thread Painting

Yet another decorative stitching that you can do with your straight stitch is thread painting. As the name suggests, you can draw with the threads on the fabric. Use multi-colored threads to create thread painting. First, you need to set your machine; disengage the feed teeth, and remove the presser footer. Instead, attach the darning or embroider foot. Set the machine to straight stitch and start drawing lines and different patterns to create images.

How To Sew A Straight Stitch

A straight stitch is as straightforward as it sounds. Today, stitching machines have made it a lot easier to sew. A straight stitch is a basic up and down stitch that you will use in 90% of your sewing endeavors. There no intricate detailing that you must be aware of the straight stitch. You just need to be aware that the tension and length of the straight stitch often vary according to the fabric.

Follow the below steps to learn how to sew a straight stitch-:

  • First, it is essential to set your machine to a straight stitch.
  • When you begin to sew, don’t forget to lock the stitch, which means you need to sew a few stitches forward and backward to create a lock. (Some machines offer knot feature that automatically adds the lock stitch on the fabric)
  • After the lock stitch, you can continue the straight stitch to complete your project.
  • End the sewing with the same lock stitch to prevent the threads from coming out.

Top 20 Basic Stitches That You Must Know

Apart from straight stitch, there are plenty of other basic stitches as well that will help you in taking your sewing journey forward. Here is a list of 10 basic stitches for you-:

  • Running Stitch
  • Cross Stitch (Catch Stitch)
  • Basting Stitch
  • Standard Forward/Backward Stitch
  • Backstitch
  • Blanket Stitch (Buttonhole Stitch)
  • Zig Zag Stitch
  • Slip Stitch
  • Buttonhole Stitch
  • Blind Hem Stitch

After getting through with the straight stitch, you must start practicing the above mentioned 10 basic stitches to get your sewing fundamentals straight. Try to experiment with different fabrics and gradually increase the difficulty levels to expand your knowledge and expertise.

Related Questions

Can We Do A Reverse Stitch With A Straight Stitch?

As we all know, a straight stitch is one of the basic stitches in sewing that is used in general stitching purposes. Not only in attaching two fabrics together, a straight stitch is also used in reverse stitching as well. A few reverse stitches at the beginning and end of the fabric will lock the stitch and prevent it from coming off. So, yes, you can do a reverse stitch with a straight stitch.

Why Is My Straight Stitch Gathering?

There can be plenty of reasons why your straight stitch is gathering. If you are using light and delicate fabric, there are chances that your material may pucker. The main reason for this problem is that your sewing machine might have thread tension set at high. There is a simple rule of sewing, which says that bobbin threads and needles must be set low or according to the type of fabric you are going to sew so that you can avoid the issues of gathering. This generally happens with a straight stitch, so you must be careful with the setting before you sit on the sewing machine.



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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