What is a basting stitch and how to use it in embroidery

When working on textile projects, we need to get creative! We can use scraps of fabric to create patterns and designs, and we can use some embroidery to add some special details to your crafts. Learn how to combine the basting stitch into an embroidery project!

What is a basting stitch?

The basting stitch is widely used in embroidery. However, its original use is not decorative, but rather, functional.

When making items of clothing or accessories that require several pieces of fabric, we might get a little bit confused and lose track of the different pieces we have. To avoid this, we can use the basting technique.

What is basting?

Basting is a temporary sew that keeps pieces in place without a lot of tension. Baste sewing is usually done with a contrastive thread that is clearly visible on the fabric, so that you can remove it once you sew the piece definitely.
When you are done arranging and sewing, you simply cut one end of the baste stitch and pull the thread off the fabric.

Baste sewing is also used for shirring fabric. This means pulling part of the fabric together to create a wrinkled effect (on purpose, of course).

You can create a basting stitch along the surface of the fabric and, instead of cutting it when finished, pull it to pucker it and secure it. This will give your craft a really nice effect!

But, how is a baste stitch done?

basting stitch

How to baste

The basting stitch is one of the easiest to make:

  • Thread the needle with the thread of your choice. Always make sure it runs easily through the eye of the needle. A too-thick thread will make it harder to go through the surface of the fabric.
  • Make a knot on one end of the thread to secure it on one side of the fabric.
  • Simply pierce back and forth through the fabric, creating separate stitches.

Here is a tutorial about the basting stitch sewing machine:

Play Video about basting stitch sewing machine

Some things to keep in mind:

If you are using the basting stitch for the original purpose mentioned above, you don’t need to be too careful about the size of each stitch and the separation between them, but when using this stitch for embroidery, we recommend trying to make it neatly.

Make the stitches evenly, with the same size and keep the same gap among each of them.

One of the main uses for this stitch is outlining, especially when you want to make a border for the whole project.

Besides, there’s a whole style of embroidery based on this stitch, called “Sashiko”, from Japan. We recommend trying this technique once you have mastered the basting stitch, as it requires you to be super neat to get the best results.

Go ahead and try how many things you can create with a basting stitch!

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