SEWING 101: Beginner’s Guide To Basic Sewing Stitches

If you’re new to sewing, this basic sewing stitches guide is a great place for you to start. Before you hop on your sewing machine or get a needle and thread, read this infographic and familiarize yourself with the basic sewing stitches!

Basic Sewing Stitches | A Beginner’s Guide

Trust me, I know how it feels to be a beginner in sewing. But for me to gain more confidence in learning how to sew, I had to go back to the basics. I can still recall how excited I was to start on my beginner sewing projects, only to find myself confused and disheartened in the process. That’s when I realized I constantly need to brush up on my knowledge of the basic sewing stitches and put that into practice.

A big thank you to our friends from Take Lessons for their awesome and very helpful infographic. Now, we have a better guide to basic sewing stitches!

1. Hand-Sewing Stitches

Running Stitch

  • Bring your needle up through the fabric from the back (wrong side).
  • Once the knot hits the fabric, make a stitch to the left or right.
  • Bring the thread back up and repeat.

Basting Stitch

  • Use the same technique as the running stitch but make longer stitches (between 1/4 inch and a 1/2 inch).

Catch Stitch/Cross-Stitch

  • Work from left to right: take tiny stitches on the hem, and then on the garment.
  • Keep stitches loose and even.

Back Stitch

  • Work from left to right: take a small stitch, then insert the needle at the end of the previous stitch and bring it out beyond the point where the thread emerges.

Blanket Stitch/Buttonhole Stitch

  • Secure the thread on the wrong side of the fabric. With the right side facing upward, insert the needle from back to front, about 1/8 inch from the edge.
  • Wrap the working head around behind the eye of the needle, then behind the point.
  • Pull the needle through, bringing the knot to the fabric edge.

Slip Stitch/Blind Stitch

  • Bring the needle through the fold of the hem and pick up a thread of fabric at the same point.
  • Make the stitches fairly loose, and about a 1/2 inch apart.

2. Sewing Machine Stitches

Standard Forward/Backward Stitch

  • Begin straight stitching 1/8 -3/8 inches from the fabric edge.
  • Backstitch the forward stitch over the pinned or basted seam.
  • Repeat the reverse stitch to finish.

Zigzag Stitch

  • Provides a clean finish to raw edges, and can be used as a finishing technique in combination with a stay stitching line.
  • You can adjust both the width and length of this stitch.
  • Use Zigzag Foot, No.13 from Ultimate 52-Piece Presser Foot Set


  • Most sewing machines can make buttonholes, either with a fully-automatic buttonhole foot attachment or a pre-programmed buttonhole. Use Adjustable Buttonhole Foot

Blind Hem Stitch

  • Consists of two or three straight stitches, and then one wide zigzag/catch stitch.
  • Just as in the hand-stitched version of the blind hem, the fabric is folded under and away with the hem edge projecting.
  • Use Blind Hem Presser Foot

3. Seam Finishes


  • Once the seam is sewn and pressed open, zigzag stitch the raw edge and trim away the excess.

Turn and Stitch

  • Fold and press the seam: leave a 1/4 inch and machine stitch along the folded edge to finish.
  • The seams are then pressed open or to one side (depending on the pattern).

Bias Tape

  • Best for unlined jackets and skirts.
  • Use 5/8 inch bias tape to enclose the raw edge and stitch through all layers.
  • Use Sewing Bias Tape Makers

Pinked Seams

  • Use pinking shears to trim away seam allowance.
  • You can also machine stitch 1/4 inch from the seam, and then trim the edges with pinking shears.

Hand Overcast

  • An alternative to the zigzag stitch, used in small areas or on very thick fabric.
  • Taking very loose stitches, overcast the raw seam edges by hand.


  • Used to strengthen a seam or as a decorative finish.
  • Press seams open, then stitch in place from the wrong side.





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