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New to Sewing? These Stitches Are Best for Beginners


Just a stitch here and a stitch there and then you’re done! Sewing can be a daunting task. There are many different aspects of sewing. Whether you sew by hand or want to learn the inner workings of a sewing machine, there are many things to learn and understand in order to be able to sew well.

Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the options and information on your new (or old) sewing machine. Setting it up for the task and beginning your first sewing project really isn’t all that hard. There are some very basic stitches and settings that any beginner can comfortably use as they learn the basics.

Right now, while people are spending far more time at home, new hobbies are being learned. Then, there’s the need for face masks as well. Many people are taking this opportunity to dive in and learn something new. Sewing is a great option. Not only can you create but you can also mend with a sewing machine.

Why Learn to Sew?

Learning to sew can accomplish a lot of purposes. For one, you can create anything. You can start small and make something like a simple face mask. Or, you can use your sewing machine to achieve projects and make unique items.

You can sew simple items or heavily involved items. In addition, you can repair items. Here are a few great things you can do with a sewing machine.

  • Make clothing
  • Mend socks
  • Hem jeans and clothing
  • Repair holes in worn items
  • Make decorative or useful items on a budget
  • Make craft items
  • Decorate your home (curtains are a great option)
  • Make quilts

This list really could go on and on but let’s move on to the best stitches for a beginner.

The Best Sewing Stitches for Beginners

To be clear, many of these stitches can be done by a sewing machine or by hand. However, sewing machines are made with so many settings and options, you almost don’t need to sew by hand ever again. Just be aware that something like sewing on a button might be easier done by hand.

You will also want to be sure that you have a good sewing machine that won’t have any problems with the stitches. If you’re looking for one, be sure it will fit your needs without being too complicated to figure out.  Our friends from All The Stuff recently tested 12 different beginner models, see here:

With that said, here are our favorite sewing stitches for beginners.

1.     Forward & Backward

This is the most standard stitch of all of the stitches you might use on your sewing machine. You simply move in a straight line at your own pace.

You are going to line your fabric up somewhere between the 1/8 and 3/8 mark, depending on your needs or even comfort. To start, you will move forward slightly and then backstitch the area. This will tie in your stitches so they stay.

Then proceed forward in a straight line, keeping the edge of your material lined up against the same measure mark. When you reach the end, you will need to repeat a backstitch move to tie in the stitches and complete your stitch.

Straight stitches work well for almost any type of sewing. You can use this stitch for seams and simple stitching needs.

2.     Zigzag Stitch

This is another common stitch on the sewing machine and one you may find yourself using quite a bit as well. Sometimes, the zigzag stitch is paired with a straight stitch, depending on the project.

When you have raw edge lines, a zigzag stitch makes the edges much cleaner. The zigzag stitch can be adjusted by both width and length to meet your needs. It’s typically used as a finishing technique for certain pieces and projects.

You don’t have to control the zig or the zag, you will set your machine to this setting and just move your fabric as is needed to perform the stitch. The machine does the rest for you.

3.     Buttonholes

We mentioned earlier that you may need to sew on your buttons by hand. We stand by that. Sewing a button is quick and easy and by the time you prepare your machine, you could have the button sewn on. Sewing on buttons is perhaps one of the first sewing maneuvers many people learn.

But then there are buttonholes! Most machines have settings for sewing buttonholes. Be sure to check out your machine’s specific instructions. In some machines, you can program the buttonhole while other machines use a special foot attachment.

4.     Top Stitch

The top stitch is used to adorn the exterior of a garment. While most sewing takes place on the inside, there are certain projects where you may need an outer seam. We see this regularly on things like denim.

The top stitch makes a hard hem line. It can also be used to add strength to a seam. Top stitches are also used for decorative purposes.


These are the most common beginner stitches. They are the simplest to learn on a machine and the options that you are most likely to need. There are many other settings and stitches as well but we recommend you start with these basics.