What is a Basting Stitch

Basting is a temporary stitch that is used to hold a seam a place until it is permanently sewn together. It is a long length straight stitch that can be easily removed once the permanent stitching is in place. Basting can either be completed by hand or machine.

To machine baste – Set your sewing machine to the longest length stitch (on my machine it is 4 mm) and sew a straight running stitch. Do not back stitch.

To hand baste – Sew a long straight running stitch. Keep the stitches loose so that they can be easily removed.

Use a contrasting thread when basting as it means you can see the stitches clearly which makes them more easy to remove.

Why use a Basting stitch?

Basting stitch is used to temporarily hold layers of fabric together. This is useful in a number of situations:

  • Garment fitting – Before you sew a garment you are not familiar with you should always check the fit. Using a basting stitch means you can easily remove the stitches and adjust the fit as necessary.
  • Sewing zips – Allows you to check the zip is positioned correctly before it is permanently attached.
  • It can be used to hold trims such as piping or ric-rac in place before final stitching
  • You can use it on velvet or silk fabrics that tend to shift during sewing.
  •  It is also used to ease-in sleeves for a good fit on bodices, dresses or shirts.


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