How to Sew a Basting Stitch - Comprehensive Guide

How to Sew a Basting Stitch Picture How to Sew a Basting Stitch Photo

A basting stitch is a temporary stitch used in sewing to temporarily hold fabric layers together before permanent stitching. It is a long, loose stitch that is easily removable and helps to keep the fabric layers in place during the sewing process. Basting stitches can be done by hand or by machine, depending on the project and fabric being used. In this article, we will explore how to sew a basting stitch by both hand and machine. The benefits of using basting stitches, and when they are most commonly used in sewing projects.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced embroiderer, understanding how to effectively use basting stitches will enhance your sewing skills and ensure successful results. So let’s dive in and discover the ins and outs of basting stitches.

Table Of Contents

Purpose of a Basting Stitch

Advantages of Using a Basting Stitch

Tools Needed for Basting Stitch

Types of Basting Stitches

Preparing the Fabric for the Basting Stitch


Purpose of a Basting Stitch

A basting stitch serves a vital purpose in sewing garments, allowing for temporary holds of fabric layers before permanent stitching. When sewing projects require several layers of fabric, like in quilting or constructing complex garments. Basting stitches ensure the fabric layers stay in place during the embroidery process.

The primary importance of basting stitches lies in providing extra control when sewing tricky areas such as ease stitching, curved seams, and set-in sleeves. By using basting stitches in these areas, you can easily adjust the fabric to achieve a perfect fit and ensure that the final stitching is precise. Basting stitches also come in handy when installing zippers, as they allow for an exact seam allowance and positioning of the zipper.

One of the advantages of using a basting stitch is the ease of adjustment. If the fit of a garment needs tweaking or if adjustments are required in the fabric placement. Basting stitches can be easily removed and readjusted without damaging the fabric. This temporary stitch allows for experimentation and fine-tuning before committing to permanent stitching.

Advantages of Using a Basting Stitch

Using a basting stitch in sewing projects offers several advantages.

Firstly, it allows for temporary holding of fabric layers before permanent stitching. This means that you can easily adjust and fine-tune your fabric placement without causing any damage. Basting stitches act as a guide for your final stitching and provide extra control in tricky areas such as curves and corners.

The temporary nature of basting stitches also allows for easy adjustments and alterations. If the fit of a garment needs tweaking or if fabric placement requires modification, basting stitches can be quickly removed and readjusted. This ensures accurate fitting and prevents any distortion of the fabric layers.

Tools Needed for Basting Stitch

Before getting started on a sewing project, it's important to gather the necessary tools for basting stitches. While basting stitches may be temporary, they play a crucial role in ensuring accurate fitting and fabric placement. Here are the essential tools needed for basting stitch:

1. Seam Ripper:

This handy tool is a seamstress's best friend when it comes to removing embroidery stitches. It allows for easy and precise removal without damaging the fabric.

2. Sewing Needle:

A sharp needle is a must-have for basting stitches. Choose a needle appropriate for the fabric you are working with. Ensuring it is strong enough to hold the layers together, but not too thick to leave visible holes.

3. Basting Threads:

Opt for a thin, single-thread that contrasts well with the fabric for easy visibility. Use a lightweight neutral color thread for most projects, but a contrasting color can be helpful for slippery or sheer fabrics.

4. Basting Spray (optional):

This is a handy tool, especially for ultra-fine or slippery fabrics. Basting spray helps to temporarily adhere the fabric layers together. Providing extra control and preventing shifting during the sewing process.

With these essential embroidery tools at hand, you'll be well-prepared to baste your fabric layers and set the foundation for a successful sewing project. Happy sewing!

5. Sewing Machine:

A sewing machine is an invaluable tool when it comes to sewing a basting stitch. It offers various features and functions that make the process quick and efficient.

To begin, set the stitch length to the longest possible setting on your sewing machine. Basting stitches are meant to be temporary, so a longer stitch length makes it easier to remove them later.

Some sewing machines even have pre-programmed basting stitches, which automatically set the stitch length and needle position for you. These can be very convenient, especially for beginners or those who want to save time.

6. Thread and Bobbin:

There are different types of sewing thread available, such as polyester, cotton, and blends. Polyester thread is known for its strength and durability, making it an excellent option for basting. Cotton thread is another popular choice, especially for projects involving natural fabrics. Thread blends, which combine polyester and cotton, can also be used for basting stitches.

Before sewing your basting stitch, it is important to prepare the bobbin. Start by winding the bobbin with the same thread you plan to use for the needle. This ensures that the thread tension remains consistent throughout the stitching process.

Types of Basting Stitches

Basting stitches can be done by hand or with a sewing machine, and they provide extra control and stability to your sewing project. There are several types of basting stitches that you can use depending on the fabric, project, and desired outcome.

No matter the type of basting stitch you choose. These temporary stitches are designed to be easily removed once you’re ready to make permanent stitches. They allow you to try on garments, make adjustments, and ensure the perfect fit before committing to a final seam. So next time you start a sewing project. Don’t forget the importance of basting stitches for a successful and happy sewing experience.

1. Straight Stitch

The straight stitch is the most basic type of basting stitch used in sewing. It is created by sewing a straight line through the layers of fabric, typically using a longer stitch length. This stitch serves as a temporary hold before making permanent stitches.

The straight stitch provides several advantages in sewing projects. It allows for easy manipulation of fabric layers. Making it ideal for fitting adjustments or aligning pattern pieces. The longer stitch length makes the basting stitches easier to remove once the final stitching is done. Additionally, the straight stitch provides stability and helps maintain the shape of the fabric layers during the sewing process.

The straight basting stitch is commonly used in various sewing projects. Such as garment construction, sewing darts, or attaching trims like rickrack. It is especially helpful when sewing delicate or slippery fabrics, as it prevents shifting and ensures precise alignment.

To use the straight stitch as a basting stitch, set your sewing machine to a longer stitch length, typically around 3.0 to 4.0 mm. Align the fabric layers, leaving a seam allowance, and sew a straight line along the edge. Remember to backstitch at the beginning and end to secure the stitches temporarily.

2. Running Stitch

The running stitch is a small embroidery-style hand quilting stitch that is commonly used in quilting projects. It is different from the basting stitch in terms of density and length.

Compared to the basting stitch, the running stitch is denser and smaller in length. This means that the stitches are closer together, resulting in a tighter and more secure hold. The running stitch is often used as a permanent stitch in quilting projects. As it provides a strong bond between the fabric layers.

There are several advantages to using the running stitch as a permanent stitch in quilting. Firstly, its small size allows for greater control and precision when quilting intricate embroidery patterns or designs. Secondly, the denser stitch provides added durability, ensuring that the quilted layers remain securely in place over time. Lastly, the embroidery-style of the running stitch adds a decorative element to the quilting process. Enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of the project.

3. Diagonal Stitch

The diagonal basting stitch is an essential technique used in sewing to hold multiple layers of fabric securely together. It is commonly employed for fitting or quilting projects, where temporary stitches are needed before permanent stitching.

To sew a diagonal basting stitch, start by selecting the desired distance between the stitches. It's important to note that shorter, closely spaced stitches provide more control. While longer, farther spaced stitches are ideal for areas that require less control.

Insert the needle from the right side of the fabric to the left (or left to right for left-handed individuals) at an angle, creating a diagonal stitch. Repeat this process to create rows of diagonal stitches across the fabric layers, ensuring that the stitches are evenly spaced and aligned.

This type of basting stitch is also commonly used in quilting projects to temporarily hold the quilt sandwich together before the actual quilting process begins.

4. Uneven Basting Stitch

To create an uneven basting stitch, start by selecting the desired stitch length and spacing. An uneven basting stitch is typically used when securing pieces that don't require a lot of control. Such as straight seams or when marking patterns and style lines.

For this type of stitch, the stitches should be longer, usually around 3/4" to 1" in length. The distance between each stitch should be shorter, around 1/4". This combination of longer stitches and a shorter distance between them allows for easy removal later on.

To sew the uneven basting stitch, insert the needle through the fabric layers from the right to the wrong side (or left to right for left-handed individuals). Leaving a tail of thread on the wrong side. Repeat this process, creating evenly spaced and aligned stitches along the seam allowance.

The uneven basting stitch is a temporary stitch that keeps the fabric pieces in place before sewing the permanent stitches. It provides extra control during the sewing process and can be easily removed using a seam ripper when no longer needed.

5. Machine Basting Stitch

A machine basting stitch is a temporary stitch created using a regular straight stitch set to the longest possible length on the sewing machine. It is a useful technique in sewing projects when you need a temporary bond between fabric layers before sewing permanent stitches.

To create a machine basting stitch, start by pinning the right sides of the fabric together with the raw edges matching, ensuring that the seam allowance is included. Position the pinned fabric layers under the sewing machine needle. Aligning it with the desired seam allowance line.

Set your sewing machine to a regular straight stitch and adjust the stitch length to the longest possible setting. It is important not to backstitch at the beginning or end of the stitch. As basting stitches are meant to be easily removed.

Guide the fabric layers under the presser foot, keeping them aligned with the seam allowance line. Begin sewing along the seam allowance line, stitching slowly and evenly. Make sure to avoid backstitching at the beginning and end of the stitch.

Remember to practice on scrap fabric before attempting machine basting stitches on your actual sewing project. Happy sewing!

Preparing the Fabric for the Basting Stitch

Before you start sewing your project, it is important to properly prepare the fabric layers to ensure accurate and smooth stitching. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Start by selecting the fabric layers you will be working with. Whether you are sewing garments or working on a quilting project, make sure to choose the appropriate fabrics based on the desired outcome.

2. If working with multiple pieces of fabric, such as when creating a quilt sandwich, arrange the layers in the desired order. Ensure that the right sides are facing each other and that the raw edges are aligned.

3. To hold the fabric layers together and prevent them from shifting during sewing, you have a couple of options. The first option is to use pins. Insert the pins perpendicular to the raw edges, making sure they go through all the layers of fabric. Place the pins about 1-2 inches apart to provide sufficient stability.

4. Alternatively, you can use a basting spray. Spray a light layer on one of the fabric layers, following the manufacturer's instructions. Be mindful not to over-spray, as it may leave residue or affect the fabric.

By taking the time to properly align and secure your fabric layers, you set yourself up for successful basting stitches and a more professional-looking final product. Remember to remove the pins or basting spray as you sew over them to avoid damaging your sewing machine needle. Happy sewing!


To make the most of basting stitches, ensure you have the right tools on hand, including a seam ripper, sewing needle, basting threads, and, optionally, basting spray. A sewing machine equipped with the appropriate settings for basting can also simplify the process.

If you're in need of high-quality basting stitches for your projects. Consider our embroidery digitizing services to ensure precision and success in your sewing endeavors. With the right techniques and tools, basting stitches will become an invaluable part of your sewing toolkit. Allowing you to achieve perfect fitting and professional results. Happy sewing!

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is the purpose of a basting stitch in sewing?

A basting stitch is used to temporarily hold fabric layers together before permanent stitching, providing extra control and stability during sewing.

Q2. What are the advantages of using a basting stitch in sewing projects?

Basting stitches allow for easy adjustments and fine-tuning, prevent distortion of fabric layers, and provide extra control in tricky areas like curves and corners.

Q3. What are the essential tools needed for a basting stitch?

The tools include a seam ripper, sewing needle, basting threads, basting spray (optional), and a sewing machine.

Q4. What are the types of basting stitches you can use in sewing?

Types include straight stitch (for temporary hold), running stitch (small and secure), diagonal stitch (for multiple layers), uneven basting stitch (for less control), and machine basting stitch (set to longest length).

Q5. How should you prepare the fabric layers before sewing a basting stitch?

Select appropriate fabrics, align and secure fabric layers with pins or basting spray to prevent shifting during sewing, ensuring they are properly prepared for basting stitches.