Basic hand and machine seams


Dreamer! There are many basic hand and machine seams that will be useful when you make a sewing project.

This is why we will show you the main of them you can find and use in the next sewing project in today’s post.

What is a seam in sewing?

First let’s talk about the actual seam definition:

The line where two or more layers of fabric are held together by stitches. You’ll be surprised by the many parts that it’s made of.

In addition, a seam has its dimensions, which are:


This is the total distance made by a stitching line.


The space between the seam heading and the topstitch (or the edge of the seams allowance, if the seam doesn’t have topstitch).


Referes to the thickness (or flatness) of a seam, depending on the structure and the fabric quality.

And you can also see the sides of a seam:

Right side:

Wrong side:

Same as fabrics, the “good” face of the seam is the side that is visible from the outside of the garment.

From this side of the seam we can see how it’s finished: (see Finish Seams).

The properties and characteristics of a good quality seam:

The characteristics of a properly constructed seam are its strength, elasticity, durability, stability, and appearance, which depend on the seam type, stitches per unit length, the thread tension, and the seam efficiency of the fabric.

Seam size:

It has to do with the length and width of the stitch.


Displacement force of the seam:

When pulling the stitch threads, it doesn’t move beyond 1/4.


Sewing force:

Refers to the force required to open seams either due to breakage of the thread or the material.

Now let’s to know the basic hand and machine seams you can find in a sewing project:

Anchoring stitch:

These are machine stitches that are sewn with zero stitch length to keep them from pulling out.

And this term can also refer to when you stitch backwards for a couple of stitches to anchor it.

So it’s essential to anchor your stitches properly when performing embroidery, needlepoint, or cross-stitch on the fabric.

Also, this will allow you to keep the thread or floss from pulling out of your first stitches without having a knot or a bulky section of thread to mar your design.

Ladder stitch:

A ladder stitch is an important technique to learn to create invisible closures for gaps in seams.

Also it’s used to sew toys, ripped seams, and in clothing constructions to close gaps.

An invisible stitch is often called several different names, including ladder stitch, slip stitch, and even blind stitch.

Equally these all refer to the same thing: a stitch that closes seams and is invisible or nearly invisible when finished.


Topstitching is stitching outside of a parallel garment and usually 1/4″ from the seam. To topstitch, you should sew through the fabric and seam allowance after pressing to help the seam lay flat.

Topstitching is similar to edge stitching but more noticeable and can be used decoratively.



The understitching helps seams lay flat and prevents interfacings and lining from rolling to the outside of the garment.

First, press the seam toward your interfacing, then sew the interfacing to the seam, very close to the seam line.


Staystitching is a straight stitch sewn through one layer of fabric.

So you can use it around a curve to prevent distortion, as it stabilizes a piece of fabric before it’s sewn.

  • This stitch is traditionally at a slightly smaller stitch length.

Baste stitch:

Basting stitches are basic long hand or machine seams that temporarily hold the fabric in place before sewing.

Again… you can remove it once the final seam is in place.


To edgestitch, add a second row of stitches very close to the seam line on the fabric’s right side.

  • Similarly to Stay stitch, this seam is usually sewn to keep pressed seams in place.

Grade seam:

Seams need to be graded to reduce bulk when pressing the seam allowance in a single direction.

After the seam is sewn, you can trim the seam allowance in half.

Then, identify which side of the seam allowance will be laying against the body once it’s pressed, and trim that side of the seam allowance in half.


This sewing technique is generally used to enhance details or embellishments, but it can also be used to flatten or load the seams somewhere.

When making overstitch seams you should leave the layers of fabric well stretched and flat.

We recommend using long stitches, and the most important of all is to use the correct needle for this application.


Handmade Backstitch:

It’s the same seam before we showed you but made by hand.

  • If you want to achieve a perfect decorative backstitch by hand, use the popsicle stick as a guide.

So each stitch will be the same size, and you will give an excellent finish to your sewing projects.

We hope this post will help you select the type of seam you should apply to achieve a perfect project.

  • Remember that each one is made for its application.

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Leave us in the comment box if you know another basic hand and machine seams to share with all the Dreamers!

See you in another post! Bye for now!

Published by 123 Dream it!

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