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Stitches for Couture Sewing | Video

Video: Jeff Roos, Cari Delahanty Technical Editor: by Carol Fresia

Many stitches in any couture garment are made by hand. Claire B. Shaeffer, an expert in couture sewing, explains that some of these are decorative, and some are for construction.

In this video, Claire demonstrates nine of the most frequently used stitches in couture workrooms.

Prepare the thread

Begin by waxing and pressing the thread.

Claire recommends cutting a length of thread from the spool and knotting the cut end immediately. Run the thread through beeswax, and lay it between sheets of paper towel. Press it with a hot iron to melt the wax into the fibers. You can wax and press several threads at once. The thread is stronger and less likely to leave wax residue on the garment when treated this way.

Note: Don’t wax thread used for basting as it can leave a waxy imprint on the fabric’s right side when pressed.

Common couture hand stitches

These stitches can see you through most construction tasks.

Running, or forward stitch:

Work from right to left, with a long needle. Take several stitches on the needle, and make them any length that works. For pin tucks, use tiny stitches. Use longer stitches for seams or other jobs. You can also use a running stitch to set zippers.


A backstitch has no spaces between stitches, and it may require practice to sew an even, straight line with this stitch. Work from right to left, with a short needle. This stitch is strong and has some elasticity, so it is suited to setting sleeves and sewing the crotch seam on trousers.


A pickstitch is formed similarly to the backstitch, but it is a short stitch with spaces between, and does not go through to the fabric’s wrong side. It is typically used as a decorative stitch along…


About This Video Series

This video series features three hours of insider tips and secrets for creating high-end couture garments and home accessories. See an expert at work as Claire Shaeffer illustrates the basic techniques that take sewing to the next level -- from hand sewing and machine stitching to marking methods, pressing, and hemming.

More About this Video Series


  1. User avater
    user-7095274 | | #1

    Please make this a pdf available.

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