Basting In Sewing

What Is Basting In Sewing? How To Use It?

You can learn everything about the meaning of basting in sewing in this blog. To find out more, continue reading.

If you’re new to sewing, you may have seen the term “baste” in a sewing pattern and wondered what it meant. What does baste mean in sewing?

Basting is a type of loose, temporary stitch used in sewing to hold layers together while waiting for or while creating a permanent stitch. Usually, it’s used in quilting and clothing construction. It makes it possible to evaluate how two pieces fit together quickly. When done correctly, basting doesn’t require any knotting or backstitching because the stitches are made to be undone when necessary.

Here is what you need to know about basting in sewing.

What Is Basting In Sewing?

In order to hold a number of pieces in place temporarily, a basting stitch is used. When she sews, my mother will tack EVERYTHING, as she refers to the practice. She obviously makes a very small number of significant errors that require correction.

It could be a sleeve joining an armhole, a quilt’s edge with bias tape, or a gathered skirt joining a waistband. A basting stitch is useful when sewing around zipper teeth because you don’t want the zipper to move as you sew. A basting stitch is also helpful for challenging fabrics like silk that move around under the foot of the sewing machine.

It is crucial to stitch with a basting stitch before serging because if you make a mistake, it is more difficult to undo the seam. I always machine or hand bast the seams on leotards before using my serger. Serging also reduces some seam allowances, so you must first check that everything is operating properly.

What Is Basting In Sewing? How To Use It?

Types of Basting Stitches

Straight Basting Stitch

For holding two pieces temporarily together before permanently sewing them together by hand or machine, it is likely the most widely used stitch type.

The long thread’s end should be evenly split into two strands, doubled, and then provided with enough slack to allow it to be tied around corners without snapping. After making each stitch on the lower side of the fabric, tie a knot in the thread to hold it there temporarily.

Running Basting Stitch

With the exception of the fact that double stitches are used on both sides of the edge being held together, this technique is very similar to straight basting. It has evenly spaced stitches that are about 1/2 Prime long. As a result of their visibility once the permanent seam has been sewn, knots are not used.


Although they can be made by hand as well, these quick stitches were typically made by machines to hold two pieces of fabric together before any stitching was done. They require a single strand of thread that has been doubled for better pulling and durability, and they are relatively close to the finished seam line.

Cross Tacking

What Is Basting In Sewing? How To Use It?

If you haven’t figured it out yet, these stitches can be made by either hand or machine and are intended to be taken out prior to the project’s final construction. Since they are positioned at an angle to the seam line, this is similar to straight tacking. Once more, stitch closer and with doubled-up long thread for added sturdiness and holding power.

Floor Laying

The two pieces of carpet or floor covering must be joined by sewing before installation. This prevents them from slipping while being manually or mechanically nailed through. Here, the temporary stitching keeps one piece stacked flat atop the other with roughly 1/2 Prime between them. During this procedure, there is no requirement to knot the thread.

Machine Basting

This sewing technique, which is similar to floor laying, firmly holds two pieces in place so they won’t move around while being machine stitched. A straight stitch is used to join the two pieces, passing through both layers of fabric.

At the conclusion of each pass, it does not cut the thread, though. In order to sew stretch fabrics together, this is one of the most popular techniques. It provides extra give in case one of the pieces needs to be pulled or tugged while you sew the last few stitches.

What Is Basting In Sewing? How To Use It?

Tack Basting

With this technique, the fabric is held in place by extremely long stitches that begin and end at the same edge. Because you can use straight pins—not curved ones—along the edges of your fabric pieces to hold them together before stitching, it’s also sometimes known as “pin basting.” Even so, the biggest distinction is that these stitches are much longer than those used for straight or tacking basting.

The ideal distance between each stitch in this style of basting would be 1/2″ – 1″ After stitching the last seam, you’ll need plenty of give to pull the pinned pieces apart once more. These stitches must pull out quickly and easily before the seam is sewed; otherwise, you run the risk of breaking a needle or ripping out your stitches. They should be sewn by a machine because they are too tricky to sew by hand.

Seam Basting

To help soften a curve or remove some wrinkles from the fabric, this is typically done by machine. It also makes it possible for you to temporarily hold two pieces together while the final stitches are being made.

With the exception of using a slightly shorter stitch length (1/4″ to 1/2″), it is very similar to straight basting. Because the seam won’t be visible anyway, you should space your stitches closer together (about 1/4″ apart) to ensure that the seam will stay in place while being sewn.

Pin Basting

The term “straight basting” might be mispronounced. To hold the fabric in place before stitching, however, is what pin basting actually does. Usually, woven fabrics without a lot of stretch are used for it. You won’t likely use this method very often because it necessitates frequent hand sewing to firmly fasten knots or beginning/ending tails.

What Is Basting In Sewing? How To Use It?

Basting Tape

Although this technique might not be thought of as a basting stitch, it can help hold the fabric together while sewing (or gluing) pieces together. Whatever the weight of the fabric layers or the degree of stretch they possess, the tape offers the same amount of give.

This is ideal for holding two objects of any kind in place while you sew. After sitting for 24 hours, it’s also very simple to remove (you can melt the glue with an iron on low heat and steam).

Is Sewing A Basting Necessary?

If you use basting stitches, you can sew smoothly and without any pauses. While sewing with multiple pins in your material requires you to pause every time you reach one pin and remove it.

Sewing requires basting because it aids in garment fitting. especially for a novice. If you don’t have an idea for a particular garment, basting offers the benefit of accurate measurement, i.e., whether it fits well or needs alteration.

Why is Basting Important in Sewing?

Although basting can be done by hand, a sewing machine is frequently faster and easier. Once the building is finished, basting stitches are simple to remove.

Basting is a crucial sewing technique for a number of reasons, including the following:

What Is Basting In Sewing? How To Use It?
  1. In construction, basting aids in maintaining fabric alignment. When making intricate garments or working with delicate fabrics, this is especially crucial.
  2. Before permanently stitching a garment together, basting enables you to try it on. In this manner, you can confirm the fit is ideal before making the final stitches.
  3. Fabric can be gathered with basting before being stitched into place. Ruffles and other decorative elements are frequently made using this method.
  4. Two pieces of fabric can be temporarily stitched together using basting. Quilting or appliqueing frequently involve doing this. Once the construction is finished, the basting stitches can be cut out.
  5. Basting itself can be used as a decorative element. A project or garment can be beautifully textured by using long, loose basting stitches.

When Do I Use a Basting Stitch?

Almost any sewing project can benefit from basting. A basting stitch will always be your best friend if you need to hold your fabric together for a short period of time. A basting stitch can be used in a variety of situations, including the following:

  • Sleeves: Basting can help you get better results when sewing set-in sleeves and ensure that they aren’t too constricting. It’s a good idea to begin by basting the curve. You will receive just enough gather as a result to fit your armhole.
  • Gather Fabrics: For gathering fabrics, basting is frequently used. Simply gather the fabric with the threads, sew two parallel lines of basting stitches inside the seam allowance, and begin sewing with your sewing machine.
  • Garments: It’s a good idea to start any type of garment out of muslin and sew it together using a basting stitch. A basting stitch makes it simple to sew the item quickly and make adjustments as you go. For instance, you can use the basting stitch to modify your seams for a better fit.
  • Quilting: There are several layers of fabric in quilts: the top layer, the backing, the batting, etc. These layers will shift as you sew without basting, making it nearly impossible to maintain even raw edges.
  • Zippers: Without basting, sewing zippers is time-consuming and difficult. This easy step will help you avoid a lot of frustration by holding the zipper in place while you sew. Not only will your stitching be more precise, but you won’t even need to use pins.
  • Keep Slippery Fabrics Together: Some fabrics have surfaces that are slippery, making it challenging to keep them in place while sewing. Without basting, your stitches might end up in an uneven mess. The following fabrics benefit from basting with: Satin, Velvet, and Silk. Simple basting stitches can be used to avoid slippage and simplify sewing projects.
What Is Basting In Sewing? How To Use It?

How Do You Sew A Basting Stitch? (5 Methods)

Although basting by hand may be preferable in some situations, the most common method for sewing a basting stitch is to use a sewing machine.

Learn how to baste with clips or sewing pins if you need to in a hurry. Sometimes, upholstery and quilt makers will stitch inside decorative adhesives.

By Hand

Try sewing a basting stitch by hand first because that is the simplest way to comprehend how it works. It is noteworthy that many professional sewers, including fashion designers and tailors, will frequently use hand basting because it allows for greater precision and more careful handling of pricey materials.

What is a basting stitch? Observe these easy steps!

  1. Utilize thread to lace a hand-held needle. This type of tacking thread will work perfectly if you have any on hand. Do not worry about it; whatever thread you had planned to use will work perfectly!
  2. When hand-basting, you can either knot the thread off at its end or leave a long thread tail at your starting point.
  3. As you begin, place the needle there, coming up from the backside of the fabric.
  4. Move the needle from the start point on the top side of the fabric approximately ¼ to ½ to the right. To create your first stitch, re-puncture the fabric with the needle and pull the thread all the way through.
  5. When you reach the end of your basting, keep repeating this up-down pattern to create stitches that are either ¼ or ½ apart!

On Sewing Machine

What Is Basting In Sewing? How To Use It?

Using a sewing machine to create a basting stitch is the quickest and most common method. You can use a variety of settings on standard sewing, quilting, and embroidery machines to make this stitch. This implies that a basting stitch can be produced by all sewing machines.

Basting is simply using the longest stitch length setting for a straight stitch on a typical domestic sewing machine. The length of this stitch on the majority of machines will be close to ¼. Once permanent stitching has been applied, this creates a line of loose stitching that is easily removed.

These general instructions will help you use your sewing machine to create a basting stitch, regardless of the specific buttons, sliders, or screen prompts you will use on your machine. To learn more about the specifics of your particular model, consult your sewing machine’s manual as well.

  1. Set up your machine so that the upper thread is a high-contrast color. In this manner, it will be simple to identify and remove the stitches in the future.
  2. Your machine should now be running with a straight stitch selected as the stitch pattern. This is the default setting on the majority of computers.
  3. Find the stitch length setting next. The longest stitch length setting should be chosen. Some machines are capable of producing stitches that are up to 7mm or even 9mm long. (To put things in perspective, the “regular” stitch length for the majority of clothing is around 2 or 2.5mm!).
  4. For the type of fabric, you intend to sew on, set the tension a little looser than usual. By doing this, the stitching will be a little less taut and easier to take out later.
  5. Before you start, make sure that the upper and lower threads both have long tails.
  6. When you start sewing, avoid using backtacks.
  7. Through the area, you want to bast, sew a straight stitch.
  8. Don’t backtack to complete the basting when you get to the end. Pull the fabric free with a simple tug, then leave a long tail of thread.

Later in this article, you can find some variations on sewing machine basting techniques and learn how to gather fabric or sew a curved edge.

What Is Basting In Sewing? How To Use It?

With Basting Glue

If you believe that using fabric glue or basting sounds dishonest, reconsider. For tasks like upholstery and quilting, basting glue has many beneficial uses. Although this method isn’t a “basting stitch,” it is still a common sewing method!

Consequently, spray-on basting glue like this functions best when applied to substantial projects like quilts. If you attempt to use it in place of a basting stitch on small sewing projects, like inserting zippers or sleeves, it could become quite messy and leave a sticky residue.

Similar to this choice, fabric glue is also available in squeeze bottles and tubes. Apply teeny glue dots between two pieces of fabric to use this kind of glue for basting. The glue is then dried in place by using your iron to lightly set it.

With Iron

In some circumstances, you can use an iron and a layer of fusible fabric or fusible thread to cinch the fabric together momentarily.

Interfacing that is iron-on or fusible is applied inside of clothing or is sandwiched between an outer fabric and a lining. It gives the fabric body and definition while assisting in maintaining its proper shape. By heating the adhesive on the interfacing and pressing it to the fabric’s backside, you can frequently temporarily attach interfacing sections.

Fusible thread can occasionally be used to create a basting stitch. Normally, you would put this on the bobbin of a machine. Alternatively, you could sew the basting stitch by hand and then fuse the fusible thread seam shut with the iron.

What Is Basting In Sewing? How To Use It?

With Pins

With pins, you can “baste” using a number of different methods. One of the quickest and least long-lasting ways to hold layers of fabric together in a specific shape temporarily is to use this technique.

Pin basting can be used to hold a quilt’s layers together, to mock up a garment’s shape on a model, or even to see how a seam will appear in a garment before you try it on.

  • When quilting, specialized quilting clips frequently outperform pins. These “magic clips” are available for purchase all over the place, but this particular set is good. Because you can easily take them out as you sew the actual stitching, clips are a great way to hold binding, piping, or bias tape in place around an edge.
  • These unique curved safety pins are another option for high-quality basting pins. To keep the fabric in place while you sew, they will easily pass through multiple layers of upholstery or quilting material.
  • Additionally, you can always use standard straight pins. These are most useful when you want to simulate a seam in a garment to see how it will appear when finished. All you had to do was place pins in a straight line as if the metal length of the pin were the thread used in the stitches.

Conclusion: What Is Basting?

Layers of fabric are temporarily held together by basting. Common basting techniques include:

  • Hand-making a running stitch with a needle and thread.
  • The length of a sewing machine’s longest straight stitch.
  • Utilizing devices to hold the fabric firmly in place while sewing, such as clips or basting glue.

A crucial technique known as basting can be used to set in sleeves or zippers, make a perfect curved edge, assemble the layers of a quilt, or hold the fabric in place while using a serger. You can make tidy gathers in fabric by using double basting lines inside a seam allowance.


What is the Difference Between Basting and Stitching?

A basting stitch is a longer-than-normal stitch that holds layers of fabric together before you stitch them to other layers. Though usually straight and intended to be temporary, basting stitches. A basting stitch can be removed easily later due to its lengthy length.

Is Basting Done by Hand?

It can conveniently be applied by hand or using your sewing machine. Throughout the sewing process, hand basting is temporarily used. The best sewing tool for novices who require additional assistance keeping fabric layers together or who are not completely at ease using their sewing machine is probably this one.

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