10 basic sewing machine stitches | Sewing tips

21 July, 2023

Discover 10 basic sewing stitches for beginners and easily learn how to sew by machine. Here is a guide of key stitches to master your sewing machine and create both homeware accessories and clothing. Even though sewing machines offer a wide range of stitches, here are the key stitches you need to know to work with confidence. Start to sew with these 10 basic stitches!

10 basic sewing machine stitches

10 basic sewing stitches for your sewing machine

Here, you’re going to learn how to work basic sewing stitches for sewing machine newbies. Learn how to make these 10 key stitches easily and quickly.

10 basic sewing machine stitches

1. Straight stitch

The straight stitch is the basic stitch you will use the most to make all kinds of seams or hems. On your machine, you can change the stitch length depending on the kind of fabric used.

Stitch length recommendations according to the fabric:

  • A shorter stitch for lightweight fabrics like viscose
  • A medium-length stitch for normal fabrics like poplin
  • A longer stitch for thicker fabrics like canvas

10 basic sewing machine stitches: Straight stitch

2. Reinforced stitch

This triple straight stitch is similar to the regular straight stitch, but it creates a reinforced seam. It consists of two forward stitches and a backward stitch, creating a rip-resistant seam.

This triple straight stitch has two main applications:

  • First, it is ideal to reinforce clothing areas that are highly exposed to wear and tear, such as the crotch area.
  • Furthermore, it can also be used as a decorative stitch in visible seams, such as hems.

10 basic sewing machine stitches: Reinforced stitch

3. Backstitch

This stitch is used at the beginning and end of each seam to secure the threads so that the seam doesn’t come undone. 2 or 3 stitches at the beginning and end of each seam should be enough. If your sewing machine doesn’t have this option, don’t worry, you just need to tie the threads at the ends of the seam with some small knots.

4. Basting stitch

The basting stitch is used to adjust, join, gather or mark your project, then removed. To make this seam, just set your stitch length to as long as possible, without backstitching at the beginning or end of the seam.

10 basic sewing machine stitches: Basting stitch

5. Zigzag stitch

The zigzag stitch is perfect for sewing elastic fabrics, since it does not break when you stretch the fabric. You can also use it to serge the edges of the fabric if you don’t have an overlock machine. But that’s not all! The zigzag stitch is also a decorative stitch you can use to sew appliqués and buttons (set stitch length to 0).

Zigzag stitch

6. Overcast stitch

The overcast stitch serves to serge the edge of the fabric so that it does not fray. This results in cleaner seams and makes the garment more resistant to washing. Again, it’s the perfect stitch if you don’t have an overlock machine.

Overcast stitch

Overcast stitch

7. Gathering stitch

The gathering stitch is like the basting stitch. Set the stitch length to the maximum. Make a basting stitch seam 0.5 cm from the edge of the fabric and another basting stitch seam parallel to the first 0.5 cm away. Leave the ends of the threads long on both sides. Next, pull both ends of the threads on the right-hand side of the fabric. This gathers the fabric until the piece measures the length required to be applied.

Gathering stitch

Gathering stitch

More practical stitches to do with your sewing machine

8. Buttonhole

Depending on your sewing machine, you’ll find the 4-step or automatic buttonhole function. Learn how to use the buttonhole presser foot and make many different patterns with buttons.

9. Blind hem stitch

As its name suggests, this stitch is used to make a blind hem. Use a thread that matches the fabric used to achieve the best result.

Blind hem stitch

Blind hem stitch

10. Decorative stitches

Sewing machines offer a wide range of decorative stitches that can turn your creations into unique pieces. These stitches add beautiful details and fascinating patterns to your clothing, homeware accessories and handcrafts.

Explore the many decorative stitch options your sewing machine offers. Adjust your stitch length and width to achieve the desired effect.

10 basic sewing machine stitches

These are the 10 basic sewing stitches we recommend you practice with your sewing machine. We assure you they’ll come in handy at some point. Remember: To learn, practice is the only way!

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