Types of Sewing Machine Stitches

The modern sewing machines offer so many stitch options which most of the time confuse you. This was not the case during our grandma’s time. The old vintage sewing machine offers only basic stitches and this does all the work for them.

Now, when you go to buy your first sewing machine, the sewing machine dealer shows the machines with most number of stitches. While searching online, you also do the same. This convinces you and you end up buying the sewing machine with most number of stitches. So that you don’t have to regret it in the future.

But after sewing for dew year, you realize that you hardly used some of other stitches. You dont even know the purpose of those stitches and how to use them, which you had thought would help you in creating magical sewing projects.

In this post I am discussing the types basic sewing machine stitches, which are necessary for some sewing projects.

1. Straight stitch

The straight stitch is the basic stitch and is most widely used stitch in sewing. This was the only stitch available for home sewing a long time ago. You can create plenty of projects using the straight stitch.

The straight stitch is worked by passing the needle in and out of the fabric in regular distance. You can also alter the length of the straight stitch adjust the stitch length.

2. Zig- zag stitch

Zig-zag stitch is a variety of lockstitch. It is a very versatile stitch. It is a set of back-and-forth stitches. You can use zig-zag stitches when straight stitch will not suffice. To sew zig-zag stitch, you have to use zigzagger foot.

Zig-zag stitch can be used for seam finishing, applique, bartacks, satin stitching and in many decorative stitches. It can also be used for sewing buttons. Free motion monograms can also be done using this.

3. Overlock stitch

It is used to enclose a raw, unfinished edge or seam. It does the over the edge sewing, hemming of one or two pieces of cloth. Usually it is done using sergers.

Overlock stitch is used for seam finish, decorative stitches etc.

4. Blind hem stitches

Blind hem stitches are the type of stitches which are completely hidden. In blind hem stitch, two fabrics are joined but the the thread is invisible. It is useful in joining two folded edges together.

To use this stitch a special foot is needed. It is used in skirts, dresses, trousers, curtains etc. It is also used in decorative stitches.

5. Buttonhole stitches

Buttonhole stitches are used for sewing buttonholes easily. You can also use zig zag stitches to sew buttonholes. But it requires time effort.

Now a days sewin machines are coming with one step or two step buttonhole stitching.

6. Cover stitch

Cover stitch is a common stitch type. It is mostly found in readymade garments. Cover stitch is a professional hem type. It has two rows stitching on the top and serger like stitch on the back. A coverstitch machine is used for this.

Cover stitch has a benefit of of stretchability. A coverstitch stretches the maximum stretch of the fabric.

7. Overcasting stitch

overcasting stitch

Overcasting stitch is used to enclose the unfinished edge of fabrics. For this an overcasting foot is needed. It can also be used to stitch seams in knit. You can also sew picot edges using this.

8. Bar tacking Stitches

Bar tack stitches are the stitches which are created by sewing a series of closely spaced stitches in a vertical direction, which forms a bar like shape. These are a series of zig zag stitche which are placed very close together.

Bar tack stitches are used in securing stress points, attaching belt loops, attaching ribbons and in many decorative stitching.

10. Decorative stitches

The modern sewing machinee come with a buch of decorative stitches, which we most of us are unaware of how to use it. And as a result we end up using them very rarely.

Many people dont know how to use the decorative stitches, or they are not familiar with the stitch menu, or dont know to adjust the length and width of stitch. So they prefer to to use the basic stitches.

Many people are also in hurry in finishing their sewing project. So, they dont get time to experiment on the decorative stitches.

Decorative stitches can also be used in adding a decoraive edge to a hem, creating a border in a quilt, or adding a texture to a fabric etc.

You can also cover up your mistakes using the decorative stitches. Some most common and favourite decorative stitches are herringbone stitch, shell tack, scallop stitch, etc.


11. Herringbone stitch

Herringbone stitch pattern

Herringbone Stitch is type of decorative stitch which is mostly used in embroidery, knitting and crochet. It got its name because of its resemblance with bones of a hering fish extending from spine.

It is often used in creating border in embroidery. It has distictive V shape. Sometime it looks like a zig zag pattern.

12. Cross Stitch

Cross stitch pattern

Cross stitch is a type of stitch in which X shaped stitches in a tiled and raster like pattern is used to form a picture. It is a popular form of counted thread embroidery.

Cross stitches are also made by hand, but some sewing machines also come with cross stitching.

13. Scallop stitch

Scallop stitch pattern

Scallop stitch is a type of decorative stitch. It can be used alone or combined with other stitches to create unique designs. It is a series of curved lines called “scallop”

Scallop stitch is used to create decorative borders or edging on fabrics. It is also useful in making flowers, leaves ect. You can also use to decorate edges of blouse collars.

14. Shell Tuck

Shell tuck Stitch

Shell tuck stitch gives scalloped like edging. So, sometimes it lookes liked shell tuck stitch is similar to scalloped stitch. But in shell tuck stitch the fabric is tucked up to make a 3 dimensional scallop which looks likes a shell.

It can be used in hemming knit etc.

15. Honeycomb stitch

Honeycomb stitch

A honeycomb stitch is a type of decorative stitch. It is made using series of closely spaced zig zag stitch patterns. It looks like a honeycomb like pattern.

The honeycomb stitches are used for elastic insertion and smocking. It can also be used in yoke of a blouse and hem of a skirt.

16. Basting stitch

Basting stitch

The basting stitch is long and loose stitch type. It is made for temporary use. It holds the fabric together temporarily until the final sewing is done. For example, basting the side seams of a skirt to check the fit, then the final seam is done and then the basting stitch is removed.


There are a bunch of stitching types. We have discussed the most important and widely used stitch types. Hope you have got an idea about of types of sewing machine types. I hope now you will use the most of the stitches in your sewing machine.

Leave a Comment