Fun Family Activities | 31 October 2016The King Bee’s 5 useful stitches Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Winner and King Bee of The Great British Sewing Bee 2015, Matt Chapple, has been busy coming up with a no-nonsense guide to sewing. Matt gives practical advice and tips on basic sewing, personalising, altering and making items from scratch, for sewers of any level. Learn from top tips, create something unique and find your own style or inspiration in Make It Own It Love It. Uncover sewing how-to’s – whether it is the basics of hand stitching, measuring or making it your own. Taken from Make It Own It Love It, here are five of Matt’s essential stitches: 1. Running Stitch Possibly the easiest of all the stitches, but such an important one. Take a needle with a knotted thread. Decide on where you would like the stitch to begin. 1. If you are joining two parts together, place your fabric sections right side to right side. Starting from the wrong side of one fabric part, push the needle fully through both layers of fabric and draw through until you reach your knot. 2. Move along a few millimetres (fraction of an inch) from where you first stitched and pass the needle fully back through the fabric layers from the other side. Pull the thread through completely, being careful not to pull too tight or it will gather the fabric. You will be back on the side where you started. 3. Again move the needle along just a few millimetres (fraction of an inch) and pass this fully through both pieces of fabric. Draw the thread through until tight. 4. Continue this move-and-stitch motion all the way along your seam. 5. Tie off with a securing stitch and trim away excess thread. 2. Basting Stitch Basting can be used for a few different applications, but primarily for joining two sections of fabric together temporarily while you are constructing other parts of a garment. However the basting stitch can also be used as tailor’s tacks to remind you of specific points, such as pocket corners or zip beginnings and ends, etc. Another key use for basting is to assist when gathering a fabric. 1. The way to make a basting stitch is almost identical to the running stitch, the big difference being you make much longer stitch lengths. This really depends on the distance you are looking to cover, but around 2cm (3/4in) would be fine. 2. How permanent you want your basting stitch to be will determine whether you need a knot or securing stitch. If you don’t need it to have any load bearing function or torsion then you can just leave a long thread end rather than tie it off. Be sure to hold both ends if you are gathering though! 3. Backstitch The backstitch gets its name because of the motion that you do when stitching; it’s much like two steps forward and one step back. It makes for a much stronger seam and is especially good for an area that is going to be under reasonable strain or tension. 1. With fabric parts right sides together, pass the needle through both layers of fabric from the wrong side, drawing through until you reach your knot. 2. Move the needle along a few millimetres (fraction of an inch) and pass fully through both pieces of fabric. 3. Instead of moving forward as you would do with the running stitch, go backwards half of the distance of the previous stitch length and pass the needle fully through the fabric parts. 4. Now go forward a few millimetres (fraction of an inch) again and pass the needle back through, drawing the thread through fully. 5. Continue this two parts forward and one part back motion. 6. Finish with a securing stitch to tie off, and trim away any excess thread. 4. Slipstitch The slipstitch is a fantastic way to finish a hem. Ideally this would be a double-turned hem to get the full benefit. 1. Working from the wrong side of the fabric, begin with a knotted thread. Pass this through the upper fold in the hem from the inside though to the outside, pulling up as far as your knot. 2. As the needle pops out from the folded hem, catch a few threads of the main garment fabric bringing the needle almost immediately back to the wrong side. 3. Pass the needle into the folded hem and move it along 1.5cm (1/2in) within the fold itself. 4. Bring the needle back through the fold of the hem and pick up a few threads of the outer fabric as you do so, drawing the needle back through to the wrong side. 5. Continue this all the way along your desired hem, finishing with a securing stitch. 5. Blind Hem Stitch Much like the slipstitch, this is another great one for a super-sleek hem that is barely noticeable from the right side. 1. Beginning on the wrong side, with a knotted thread secure the thread to the upper fold of the hem. 2. Move along 7–15mm (1/4–1/2in) and pick up a few threads of the garment outer, bringing the needle back through to the wrong side and drawing the thread through fully. 3. Again move along a further 7–15mm (1/4– 1/2in) and pass the needle through the hem upper fold and out the other side. As you do so pick up a few threads of the garment outer, bringing the needle back through to the wrong side. 4. Continue this all the way along the desired hem, placing a securing stitch at the end and trim any excess thread. 5. Don’t forget to give this a press as you would have given the hem a good workout. Focusing on making sewing easy and fun, the basic kit is explained and followed by step-by-step instructions on how to make projects such as a box-pleated skirt and adding bias binding to pocket edges for a splash of colour. Matt’s no-nonsense language strips away the complexity of sewing, as he gives practical advice on how to repair fabrics from denim and corduroy to tweed and wool, and offers tips to make wardrobe malfunctions a thing of the past. Photo credit to Simon Brown Written by Stacey Cleworth Make It Own It Love It is out now. Order your copy here. Focusing on making sewing easy and fun, the basic kit is explained and followed by step-by-step instructions on how to make projects such as a box-pleated skirt and adding bias binding to pocket edges for a splash of colour. Matt’s no-nonsense language strips away the complexity of sewing, as he gives practical advice on how to repair fabrics from denim and corduroy to tweed and wool, and offers tips to make wardrobe malfunctions a thing of the past. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.