No need to tell you that the Straight stitch is the most basic and original stitch in all the sewing machines. This versatile stitch is the base stitch used in almost all types of sewing. 

Sewing plain seamsdifferent other types of seamstucksdarts, topstitching – everything is possible with this stitch.

The stitch length can be adjusted. Usually, a constant stitch length is maintained, but depending on the type of techniques used the stitch length is changed from 0-6 mm. You can learn more about this most useful stitch in this post: Straight stitch: How to use this versatile stitch properly.

You can change the needle position when sewing the straight stitch, by changing the stitch width. The needle is moved to the left or right by adjusting the stitch width.


Most modern sewing machines have a reverse button and you can sew in reverse as you press this. You can use this with a straight or zig-zag stitch and your machine will sew that stitch backward. A reverse stitch is mostly used  as an Anchor stitch

When you start to sew you are eager to get on with your sewing but taking a simple precaution at the start of the sewing will ensure that you will not have unraveling seams – I am talking about making securing lock stitches at the start and end of stitching.

To make this stitch, straight stitch about 3 stitches forward and then change the lever to reverse stitching and go back the same way 3 stitches. Come back and then continue your sewing. This is how you secure the stitches. Do the same when you end your stitching.

Another method is to reduce the stitch length to 0 and sew three stitches in the same place. With a zig-zag stitch you will use straight stitches as anchoring stitches.


This is a straight stitch with a long stitch length used for basting or gathering. You just need to increase the stitch length to the maximum to get this stitch. For a long baste stitch it can be up to 2 inch (5 cms) long.

Learn more about basting stitches and gathering stitches here


A stitch that forms a zig-zag line. For making this very useful stitch you will need a pressure foot with a wider hole than the one for a straight stitch.

The stitch width can be adjusted according to the purpose. The most common use of zig-zag stitches is to neaten cut fabric edges. It is also used for topstitching as a rick rack stitch.


A stretch stitch is a narrow zig zag stitch and it is used to stitch knit fabrics. A straight stitch will break under the stretch of these fabrics but a zigzag stitch stretches according to the fabric stretch. Some call it the lightning stitch or elastic stitch.

It is also used to join elastic and for joining fabric. This is a good stitch to use for mending tears in the fabric . You need to keep the torn fabric together and stitch, joining the pieces.


This stitch uses two steps forward, one step back pattern. This stitch is also called backstitch or triple stretch stitch because it is used to sew very strong seams in stretchy fabrics. You can also use them for sewing seams in difficult places like the armscye. The triple straight stitch is also great when used for topstitching.


This is a zig zag stitch made with a special foot the hemmer foot to make rolled edges on fabric cut edges.

Check out this post on using a hemmer foot and zig-zag stitch to make a rolled edge stitch


This is a stitch accomplished with the help of an edge presser foot and uses a straight stitch. Check out this post on edge stitch and the best way to make edge foot for more details


This stitch is used for blind hemming, ie hemming fabric without much evidence on the face. All you get are tiny dots on the surface of your garment. It is an almost perfect hemming technique.


This is a stitch used to make easy scallops. Though I have tried many times the scallops I make with this stitch turn out to be horrible.


This is my favorite stitch for neatening fabric edges. You can use an overcast presser foot for this. Another use is to stitch seams in knits (for its stretch) instead of the straight stitch. You can also make picot edges and shell-tucks with this stitch and overcast foot.


This is another stitch which makes beautiful shell tucks along the fabric edge


This is another stitch which makes beautiful shell tucks along the fabric edgeThese are stitches used to join two fabric pieces together. This stitch is also called a cross stitch. You can use it to join two stretchy fabric pieces in an abutting seam.

There may be more than one stitch in your sewing machine that can be used as a  faggoting stitch/insertion stitch. If you want to know other stitches used as insertion stitches check out the post


A Ladder stitch is used to make channels for elastic and ribbon. Also called a Rampart stitch


This mimics the look of an overlocker stitch/ serger stitch.You also get a stretch overlock stitch in some machines

A stretch overlock stitch would look like this