Sewing – The Running Stitch

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 195,320
    Sewing expert Dawn Anderson demonstrates how to sew the running stitch.

    Dawn Anderson

    Dawn began sewing when she was 5 years old and it has since become a lifelong pursuit. Dawn earned a B.A. from Shenandoah University and an M.F.A. from Indiana University, both in Theatre Costume Design. During graduate school she had the opportunity to study in England at Bournemouth University where she focused on corsetry techniques, traditional hand tailoring, and fashion history. During college she worked as a costume designer and patternmaker for theatre and dance, making custom clothing for performers, specialty garments, historic reproductions, corsetry, millinery, and taught basic to advanced sewing classes. After college, she went to work as a free-lance designer and cutter in Edinburgh, Scotland. She returned to the US and began her small ready to wear line and sewing pattern company in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. She currently sells sewing patterns for clothing and hats on her website and at tradeshows. She hand makes men's custom jackets and is expanding her women's ready to wear lines. Dawn currently teaches couture sewing and hat making at sewing conventions, local stores, and in her home in Northern Virginia. She is a member of the American Sewing Guild and leads her own group dedicated to Couture Sewing. Dawn has begun writing for sewing magazines and is working on a book on tailoring. She has also started filming sewing instruction videos and hopes to one day have her own TV show on sewing. Please feel free to visit her website for more information.

    Hello, my name is Dawn Anderson and I'm showing you how to sew by hand. Right now, let's get started on sewing the running stitch. The running stitch is the most basic of all hand sewing stitches. It's used for a seam, for basting, and for hand gathering.

    To begin, cut approximately 18 inches of thread. You will thread your hand sewing needle on one end and tie a small knot in the opposite end. Begin on one side of your fabric, take up a small amount of fabric on your needle, and then pull the needle and the thread through. To take your next stitch, move forward just a bit. Again, take up a small amount on your needle and pull the thread through. You want to pull your thread snug, not overly tight, so it puckers the surface of your fabric. Put the running stitch, you can just continue on in a straight line. Take up about the same amount of fabric on each stitch, so the running stitch can be used for sewing in temporary seams. If you are maybe working on a garment and you don't want to put the machine stitching in it, then you can do a test fitting with just your basted seams.

    You can also use it for hand gathering, which I will show you. Once you have your running stitch in, if you wanted to gather it, you would then tighten up the fabric and it would make the gathers, but for now were just going to leave it flat. The smaller the stitch length, the stronger the seam, so this would actually -- I would consider a basting seam. Once you get to approximately where you would like to finish sewing, go ahead and tie a knot in your work. I like my knots to stay right on the surface of the fabric, put your thumb there, pull it tight, and cut your thread. That's how you sew the running stitch. Now, lets move on to sewing the backstitch.