Types Of Stitches

The Many Types of Stitches

There are many types of stitches that have been used by artisans throughout the ages. Sewing, needlepoint, embroidery, cross stitch, crochet, knitting and the surgeon’s specialty when suturing up his patient are just a few areas where stitches are prevalent.


Needlework is a broad term applied to the classes of handcraft stitching that involves fabric. Examples would be 1) embroidery: decorating fabric by use of needle and brightly colored thread with various designs; 2) knitting and/or crochet: the forming of a single thread strand (or strands) into a loose (crochet) or tightly textured (knit) fabric created in a specific shape.

The types of stitches directly related to embroidery are the backstitch which is the strongest type of hand stitch, the catch-stitch which is used in the hemming of  curved areas or bulky fabrics (separate from the conventional hemming stitch), the over-sewing stitch (or overcastting) is used on raw edges to prevent the fabric from becoming frayed, the running stitch which is a broad, loose stitch used to baste fabric to be gathered into place, the slipstitch for holding an edge to another piece of fabric and finally, the tacking stitch for simple basting.


Many types of stitches date back as far as 200AD in samplers displaying the running stitch which is the most common of all stitches. There are embroidered cloths dating back to the sixth and seventh centuries as well as samples of cross stitch dating back to the same period of time.

Crochet stitches are fairly easy to learn. Though there are hundreds of crochet patterns for all areas of life-clothing, stuffed toys, kitchen use and blankets there are just a few basic stitches starting with the chain. Into each chain stitch you might single crochet, double crochet, treble crochet, half double crochet, double treble crochet, triple treble and quadruple treble. Once these are mastered you can literally go anywhere with your piece.

The many types of stitches for needlepoint can be confusing. It is easier working from a kit than trying to create your own patterns unless you have worked in the craft a number of years. Cross-stitch, another stitch that can trace its history to the eleventh century spread from the far east to the west, and then to America, by trade routes.

Cross stitch is undoubtedly one of the most popular types of stitches today. They are stitches brought to life by crossing threads over each other in the form of a cross. A few of the more common cross stitches are the cross stitch, the herringbone stitch, the waffle stitch and fishbone stitch.

Straight stitches are a good stitch when working the larger pieces of canvas. Some of the popular straight stitches are the long or straight stitch, the Florentine or bargello stitch and the back stitch.

Diagonal stitches are worked diagonally (corner to corner on a slant) and it is particularly important not to put too much tension on this stitch as doing so can warp the canvas. Some of the more popular diagonals aside from the original are the basket-weave and the continental stitch.