As a beginning sewer, knowing the different stitches and how to sew them is an essential skill you’ll need to learn. While there are many stitch types, there are only five stitches (really two with three bonus stitches!) you will need to know to be able to sew most beginning sewing projects.

This is your Girlfriend’s Guide to the five basic sewing stitches every beginner needs to know.
  • Straight Stitch
    The straight stitch is easily the number one most-used stitch in sewing, and luckily it is the easiest stitch to create. The straight stitch is used to sew two pieces of fabric together and can also be used in reverse to secure seam ends. The key to sewing a straight stitch is to position your needle at the center of the presser foot.

  • Zig-Zag Stitch
    The zig-zag stitch is more commonly used to stop raw edges from fraying. One of the most common uses for the zig-zag stitch is to sew stretchy materials, as this stitch can stretch with the fabric. This stitch can be sewn in a variety of ways, so experiment to find which zig-zag stitch width and length will work best for your project.

  • Overlock Stitch
    The overlock stitch is used for edging, hemming, or seaming to stop edges from fraying. Most machines come with a specialty sewing machine foot to do this stitch. This stitch looks like a zig-zag stitch with a straight stitch on the side.

  • Blind-Hem Stitch
    The blind-hem stitch is used to create invisible hems on dresses, skirts, and pants. This stitch looks like an uneven zig-zag but once finished, you should hardly see the stitches on the right side of the garment.

  • Blanket Stitch
    The blanket stitch is used to reinforce the edge of thick materials and is considered a decorative stitch (as is the zig-zag and overlock stitch). This stitch will reinforce the edges of a project and keep it from fraying or stretching out of shape.
These are the top five most-used sewing machine stitches--though if all your machine does is a straight and zig-zag stitch, you’ll be able to sew any project you want! To learn more sewing basics for beginners, click to learn how to Thread Your  Sewing Machine. 
December 08, 2022

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