In sewing circles, the proper name for this stitch has been hotly contested, but I prefer “pickstitch” to “prickstitch.”
The pickstitch is a strong, decorative stitch used for topstitching and installing zippers in difficult fabrics such as velvet. It is also a good way to understitch seam allowances on facings when machine stitching isn’t possible.
When I sew pickstitches as a decorative detail, I use buttonhole twist in a single or double strand, depending on how visible I want the stitches. For understitching facings, I use Mettler silk-finish, cotton, single thread. For hand-picked zippers, a doubled buttonhole twist is the proper strength.
Make the stitches 1⁄4 to 3⁄8 inch apart, depending on how far away from the edge you are sewing. The pickstitch is a backstitch but a very tiny one. The direction of travel is right to left. Begin by bringing the needle up through the fabric.
1. Insert the…
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