Chapt 13 - Hand Sewing
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Table of Contents ] Chapt 1 - Fabric ] Chapt 2 - Tools and Equipment ] Chapt 3 - The Sewing Machine ] Chapt 4 - Patterns ] Chapt 5 - Pressing ] Chapt 6 - Marking The Fabric ] Chapt 7 - Preparing to Begin ] Chapt 8 - Seams ] Chapt 9 - Seam Finishes ] Chapt 10 - Stabilization ] Chapt 11 - Control of Fullness ] Chapt 12 - Finishing Edges ] [ Chapt 13 - Hand Sewing ] Chapt 14 - Closures ] Chapt 15 - Body Measurements ] Chapt 16 - Ease In Clothing ] Chapt 17 - Pattern Alterations ] Chapt 18 - Finished Dimensions ] Chapt 19 - Common Terms ] Chapt 20 - Common Costume Fabrics ] Index of Sewing Exercises ]

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Hand sewing is stitching fabric together permanently by hand, stitching fabric only temporarily is called Basting. There are countless hand sewing and basting stitches, the four hand sewing and three basting stitches that are most common to costume construction follow:


Basting uses long, loose stitches and may be done on a machine or by hand. Machine basting is done with a straight stitch set at the longest available stitch length, however machine basting is generally reserved for preparing garments for fittings. Hand basting is done during the construction process when the fabric needs to be held more securely than pinning provides. Certain fabrics must always be hand basted together before any machine stitching can be done, i. e. corduroy, velvets, and some metallics. Hand basting also makes tasks such as zipper insertion, pocket placement, and trim application much easier than pinning alone.

All basting is done with a single strand of thread. Often the thread is of a highly contrasting color to the surface fabric. This provides easy visibility, since basting is always removed before the garment is given the final press.

Hand basting stitches:

Even Basting
Diagonal Basting

In most cases the choice of basting stitch is strictly personal preference. Diagonal basting is stronger than either even or uneven basting and so often is used to prepare hems for dress parades, etc. Diagonal basting is not suitable when hand basting garment pieces together before seaming can begin. In that case use even or uneven stitches and make sure they are placed exactly on the seam line.


Choose a needle appropriate to the thread, fabric, and type of hand sewing stitch being used. Use a single thread, no longer than 24", which may be waxed for strength and to prevent knotting. Wear a thimble while hand sewing as it produces even, uniform stitches. The thimble is worn on the index or second finger of the hand. Keep stitches loose to avoid puckering. Hand sewing is made secure by using small, even stitches, not pulling the stitches tight. Work from right to left, unless other wise stated, reversing the direction if you are left handed. Begin and end hand sewing with a TAILOR'S KNOT.

Slip stitch Show Me
Blind stitch
Lock stitch
Cross Stitch
Slip Stitch with Finishing Method #2

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