Threads Logo Threads Logo Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon
Video Series

Couture Hand Stitches: The Backstitch and the Pickstitch

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

When you’re constructing a garment, sometimes you need a strong seam that can’t be sewn by machine. In that case, try the backstitch. It is the sturdiest of hand-worked stitches, and offers security and some elasticity. It’s useful for armscye seams, pants’ crotch seams, and more.

Susan Khalje, a Threads contributing editor, demonstrates the backstitch in this video tutorial. She shows how the overlapping thread in this stitch makes a solid seam that rivals a machine-sewn seam. Her advice is to wax the thread for added strength and to avoid pulling the thread too tight in the stitch, as this can create a rumpled seamline that lacks elasticity.

The pickstitch is a variation of the backstitch, in which the visible portion of the stitch on the fabric’s right side is small. Again, it’s important not to pull the thread too tight, so the stitch sits on the fabric surface like a small bead. The pickstitch is suitable for hand-sewing a zipper. It’s also helpful for understitching along an edge: Sew through all the inner layers (in a couture garment, this may be the seam allowances of the fashion fabric, an underlining, and the lining itself), but don’t catch the garment’s outer layer. The stitch offers greater control than machine-sewn understitching, and it secures areas that are difficult to access with the machine, such as the edges of narrow shoulder straps.

Even if you tend to avoid hand sewing, make an exception for the backstitch and pickstitch. You’ll be glad to have them in your repertoire.

Put your new skills to use by installing a couture zipper, following the instructions in “The Pickstitched Lapped Zipper.”

Sign up for the Threads eletter

Get the latest including tips, techniques and special offers straight to your inbox.

Sign Up
×
Discuss

About This Video Series

Threads comes to life with Threads Essential Techniques. In this web-only video series, we show you how to execute some of the must-know techniques, methods, and skills seen in our print magazine.

More About this Video Series

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Videos in the Series

More Video Series

View All
  • Embroidery 101: How to Sew 5 Basic Embroidery Stitches

  • Bound Buttonholes

  • Industry Insider Techniques | Vol. 8

More From Threads

Discussion Forum

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All

Highlights

  • Sign up for the Threads eletter

    Get the latest including tips, techniques and special offers straight to your inbox.

    Sign Up
  • SewStylish

    SewStylish

    Take a look inside the pages of SewStylish Spring 2017.