How to Make a Basting Stitch with a Sewing Machine

Learn how to make a basting stitch with a sewing machine from designer Jennifer Wiese in this Howcast tutorial.


Up next in How to Use a Sewing Machine (37 videos)

Thinking of getting a sewing machine or have one that sometimes drives you mad? In these videos, designer Jennifer Wiese walks you through all the basics, from how to wind a bobbin and adjust tension to how to make a basting stitch and use a seam guide. She also answers frequently asked questions and helps you troubleshoot common sewing machine problems, like why your top thread keeps breaking.



Hi. I'm Jennifer from Workroom Social. Now, let's talk a little bit about basting with your sewing machine. So, basting is a temporary way to hold two things together, or more, while you're sewing. It could be two pieces of fabric. It can be a zipper to fabric. It just depends on what you're doing. Now, when you're basting you want to turn you stitch length up to the highest it will go. Mine is a 4, 4 millimeters. So, I have my stitch length up. I'm on a straight stitch. And then I'm just going to sew whatever it is I want to hold together. So, let's sew these two pieces together. And so, when I do this I'm doing it with the intention of removing the stitches later. I'm using my seam guide, so I'm doing a five-eighths of an inch seam allowance. Great. So, I have my basting stitch done here. And then I'm going to do whatever it is I need to do. You can use basting stitches for all kinds of things: setting in sleeves, putting in zippers. And now I'm done. I'm done doing whatever it was I needed to do. I have my permanent stitch in. So, now I want to take the basting stitches out. So, what I like to do is to start on the top side and, with a seam ripper, just cut every third or fourth or fifth stitch to break up that line. But you only want to do it on one side of your fabric, and I will show you why. So, once you have broken that top thread, I'm going to go to the back and I'm going to just grab the bobbin thread, which is on the backside, and I just going to pull. And, just like that, all the stitches came out. And here you can just, with your hand or with the tweezers or a lint roller. If you roll a lint roller across this it will pick up all the stitches. And you're going to pull everything out. And now you have your fabric undone. That's basting stitch.


  • Jennifer Wiese

    Jennifer Wiese is an arts-and-crafts-obsessed designer and the owner of Workroom Social, a textile crafts studio located in Brooklyn, New York. With a well-equipped workspace that caters to both sewers and screen printers, Jennifer enjoys working with crafters and fashion designers alike! For more information on Jennifer and Workroom Social, please go to