Basic Hand Stitches for Beginners

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After I recently wrote about “How To Teach Kids To Sew” and shared some of our favourite beginner sewing projects for kids, it got me thinking, that for many it may be helpful to have a “go to place for” basic hand stitches – ie what are commonly used stitches for sewing – especially for kids and when to use them. So I have put together a list and set of instructions on the stitches that I used the most with MY kids. The blanket stitch how to and the French Knot How To, were probably the most requested! They are both fabulous stitches o learn! These basic hand stitches are great for hand sewing, but also for anyone looking at embroidery stitches.

A practical guide to the most commonly used Basic Hand Stitches

Here we focus on:

  • Running stitch

  • Overstitch/ Overcast

  • Backstitch

  • Blanket stitch

  • French Knot

Please let me know if you would like me to add something else to this list of basic hand sewing information!!! I am keen to update and make this post as helpful and relevant as possible.

I have many more “Craft Basics” tutorials for you to browse and bookmark on my YouTube channel – from how to finger knit to how to make salt dough!

Let;s get started!!

Running Stitch

The running stitch is probably the easiest of all stitches and a great way to get kids started. My kids loved making little Lavender Bags and Heart Ornaments using this stitch. It is also great for when you need to GATHER fabric, such as when making these pinwheels or flower brooches.

Overstitch or Overcast Stitch

Overstitch is the “next stitch” to teach kids. As again, it is relatively easy to do. The children need to learn to sew a little neater for this one, as uneaveness will show. However, even when a beginner uses the overstitch it looks lovely. I think the overstitch is great for when you want to have a “varied” edge to your craft, but also for when sewing two pieces of fabric together that frays, as the overstitch can keep the fraying contained. We used it for these fun Pincushion Dolls and Bunny Brooches.

Back Stitch

The back stitch is probably the stitch that I used most when handsewing something where I don’t want the seams to show. Ie a sewing project that you need to turn “inside out” afterwards. The back stitch is a very strong and secure stitch and great for keeping stuffing in place. The kids first had a go (but haven’t quite mastered it yet), when we made some bunny softies.

How to do a Blanket Stitch

This is a stitch that I LOVE. I just think the blanket stitch is super pretty and great for most felt projects. We used it for our “nature bag” and for our Christmas Pudding Ornaments! I also love this Felt Heart Mobile, as it shows how using different stitches in one project provides a lovely “variation” to your work. I hope you DO like this Blanket Stitch How to and that it encourages you to have a go and give it a try!

How to do a French Knot

Now the French Knot.. is not REALLY a stitch or knot that you HAVE to know. I just LIKE it. I think it is such a quirky little stitch to know and love it as an added detail to our projects. Again, we used it on our Christmas Pudding Ornaments (it makes great “raisins), but also one our Juggling Chooks for the eyes (a great “beady” eye!!). It IS a LITTLE fiddly at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will want to use it over and over again! Here we go, how to do a French Knot:

How to sew on a button

Buttons are really easy to sew on once you know how to sew on a button!! This is a quick and easy video showing you quite how easy it is. Buttons are great for plus toy eyes, as clasps on DIY handbags or simply for fixing a button on a shirt!

So. I do hope that this is a good summary and resource of the basic stitches that we tend to use when sewing with the kids (and for myself!!!!). I do hope that you find it useful too. Please do let me know if there is anything missing, so I can update the post and provide more information for you!!! Which stitch will you try first? I do hope you give the Blanket Stitch How To and the French Knot Tutorials a go!!!!

Don’t forget to also check out these articles:

How To Teach Kids to Sew - if you are thinking of teaching your kids to sew, here is a great guide with some pointers to get them started! 10+ Sewing Project for Kids - lovely kids projects that will help teaching kids to sew!

How To Teach Kids To Sew

beginner sewing projects for kids

Similarly, I have a great “How To Teach Yourself to Crochet” post and if you know any left handed people, as special “How to Knit Left Handed“.