In sewing, basting is a type of loose, temporary stitching that will hold the layers together before, or during the making of a permanent stitch. Typically, it’s used in garment construction and quilting. It allows for a quick assessment of how two pieces fit together. When done correctly, basting does not require knotting or backstitching at any point because the stitches are designed to be removed when needed.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why is basting important in sewing?
- 2 How do you do a basting stitch?
- 3 What are different types of basting stitches?
- 4 Is basting in sewing necessary?
Why is basting important in sewing?
While basting can be done by hand, it is often quicker and easier to use a sewing machine. Basting stitches can be removed easily once the construction is complete.
There are several reasons why basting is an important sewing technique:
1. Basting helps to keep the fabric in place during construction. This is especially important when working with delicate fabrics or when creating complicated garments.
2. Basting allows you to try on a garment before permanently stitching it together. This way you can make sure the fit is perfect before committing to the final stitches.
3. Basting can be used to gather fabric before stitching it in place. This is a common technique for creating ruffles and other decorative details.
4. Basting can be used to temporarily stitch two pieces of fabric together. This is often done when quilting or appliqueing. The basting stitches can then be removed once the construction is complete.
5. Basting can be used as a decorative element in itself. Long, loose-basting stitches can create a beautifully textured effect on a garment or project.
How do you do a basting stitch?
1. Choose the threads, needle, and fabric according to your desire. Take a thread of three strands to be double for better quality sewing work. You can use cotton or polyester to make basting stitches.
2. Now, take one piece of fabric and place it on the other with the wrong side touching each other. Then sew two layers together by holding both pieces between thumb and forefinger (holding like pincers). The length should be long enough that it can tie around corners easily without breaking while stitching will not unravel, but short enough that you won’t go through the other layer every time you need to pull it up for repositioning.
3. Make sure the top thread is on the bottom. If you want to make basting stitches long, try not to use knotting and backstitching at any point in your sewing. This may seem a little dangerous because it could easily unravel the whole stitching process if you pull the next thread through an old stitch by mistake.
4. Now, take the needle up under one layer of fabric by going from right to left and then go down again under the other layer close to the beginning point but without going too close to the end of the previous stitch or knot or both together by moving 1/8″ ahead from where they are located. The length between these two points will determine how many basting stitches need to be taken during this step.
5. When taking basting stitches, use a running stitch to take a stitch either vertically or horizontally. While doing so, move the fabric holding between your thumb and forefinger.
6. You have to continue this process until you reach the required length as per your project requirement or until there is no more room on one side of the fabric.
What are different types of basting stitches?
Straight Basting Stitch
It is probably the most commonly used stitch type for temporarily holding two pieces together before sewing them permanently by hand or machine. The long thread end should be evenly divided into two strands and doubled again, and it should be provided with sufficient slack to tie around corners without breaking. On the lower side of the fabric, knot the thread after making each stitch to secure it in place temporarily.
Running Basting Stitch
This is very similar to straight basting, except that it takes double stitches that are spaced out at regular intervals on both sides of the edge being held together. The stitches are about 1/2″ long and are evenly distributed. Knots are not used because they would be visible after the permanent seam has been sewn.
These temporary stitches hold two pieces of fabric together before any stitching is done, and they were typically made by machine, although you can do them by hand as well. They aren’t too far away from your finished seam line and take a single strand of thread doubled up for better pulling and durability.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, you can make these stitches by hand or machine, and they’re meant to be removed before the final construction of a project. This is like straight tacking, except that they are placed at right angles to the seam line. Again, use your long thread doubled up for extra strength and closer stitches for better holding power.
When sewing carpet or floor covering into place, the two pieces must be secured together. This is so that they don’t slip around while being stitched through by a machine or nailed by hand. The temporary stitching used here holds one-piece flat on top of the other with about 1/2″ between them. There’s no need to knot the thread during this process.
This is typically done by machine, and it can be used to help ease a curve or smooth out some wrinkles in the fabric. It also helps you afford temporary holding power for two pieces until final stitches are made. It’s very similar to straight basting except that you use a somewhat shorter stitch length (1/4″ – 1/2″). The seam will never be seen anyway, and you should space your stitching closer together (about 1/4″ apart) to make sure the seam stays put while being sewn.
Much like floor laying, this sewing method securely holds two pieces in place so they don’t slip around while being machine stitched. The two pieces are sewn together using a straight stitch that goes through both layers of fabric. However, it doesn’t cut the thread at the end of each pass. This is one of the most common techniques to be used when sewing stretch fabrics together. It allows for extra give in case either piece needs some tugging or pulling while you make your final stitches.
This might sound like another name for straight basting. However, pin basting actually uses pins to hold the fabric in place before stitching. It’s typically done with woven fabrics that do not have too much stretchiness in them. It also requires frequent hand sewing to secure knots or beginning/ending tails securely, so this method isn’t something you’re likely to use that often.
This method uses very long stitches that start and end at one edge to secure the fabric in place. It’s also commonly referred to as pin basting because you can use straight pins (not curved ones) along the edge of your fabric pieces to hold them together before stitching. Still, the most significant difference is that these stitches are much longer than what you would use for straight or tacking basting.
A good length for this type of basting stitch would be 1/2″ – 1″ between each stitch. You need plenty of giving when pulling the pinned pieces apart again after making your final seam. These stitches should be done by machine since they’re too tricky for hand sewing—they must pull out easily and quickly before the seam goes in; otherwise, you risk breaking a needle or pulling out your stitches.
While this method might not be thought of as a basting stitch, it can help hold the fabric together while sewing (or gluing) pieces together. The tape offers the same amount of giving regardless of how heavy the fabric layers are or what type of stretch they have to them. This is perfect for holding two pieces of any sort in place while stitching. It’s also very easy to remove after sitting for 24 hours (you can use an iron at low heat with steam to melt away the glue).
Is basting in sewing necessary?
If you work with a less stretchy and non-woven fabric (one that is thicker and heavier than quilting cotton), then no, it’s best if the two pieces are kept together with some type of stitching. Otherwise, you risk the pieces shifting around while sewing and having to stop your work to fix any mistakes completely.
There are many different ways of basting that you could use depending on what materials you’re working with; some can even be done without using a needle and thread (like using masking tape or pins). Basting should be done when working with stretch fabrics like spandex because it allows for less stress on the seams during construction and wears. It’s also best to baste thick layers to keep them from shifting around while sewing. If you’d like, go ahead and get rid of all your old straight pins and pick up some basting pins that you can use for this purpose.
You can check our selections of the best sewing machines for beginners in 2023