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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…

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