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Types Of Upholstery Stitches

Types of Upholstery Stitches: A Comprehensive Guide

As a professional upholsterer, you know that the key to making any piece of furniture look its best is in the details; the perfect combination of type of fabric, pattern, and motif. But just as important is the quality of the craftsmanship behind them. Without the proper technique and attention to detail, these elements become meaningless. That’s why it’s essential to understand the types of upholstery stitches used for furniture. From basic stitches to more advanced techniques, read on for the best guide to making professional-grade upholstery.

Types of Upholstery Stitches – The Best Guide to Making Professional-Grade Upholstery

Creating professional-grade upholstery is a craft that requires patience, creativity, and mastery of a few essential techniques. From basic straight and backstitching to more advanced buttonhole, cording, whip, crossed, and blanket stitches, each method of upholstery stitching provides a unique, yet distinctive element to your piece. With this guide, you will become an expert stitcher and will know how to achieve the perfect look and texture every single time. Read on to learn the ins and outs of upholstery stitching, no matter if you’re a beginner or a seasoned upholstery artist.

Overview of Upholstery Stitching Techniques

Upholstery stitching techniques are the foundation for making professional-grade upholstery. The type of stitch used is just as important as the fabric used in a piece of furniture, and ensuring the correct stitch is selected is key to creating a quality product. There are two main categories of stitches used in upholstery: basic and advanced.

Basic upholstery stitches are the easiest to master and are the ones most often employed when creating an upholstery piece. The most commonly used basic stitches include the straight stitch, backstitch and the overcast stitch. Each of these stitches are created by taking small, even stitches of thread around the seat cushion, body fabric, or trim and creating a secure seam.

Advanced upholstery stitches are slightly more complex and are used more often when creating more intricate designs. The most popular advanced stitches are the buttonhole stitch, cording stitch, whip stitch, crossed stitch and the blanket stitch. These stitches help create a variety of textures and details in the finished product and provide a way to embellish or personalize a piece.

It is important to note that although a variety of stitches are used in upholstery, it is a good idea to stick to the same stitch for an entire project. That will help ensure a consistent look and feel. Additionally, always be sure to use a suitable thread for upholstery projects – something that is strong and can be easily removed and replaced. With a few tips and tricks, creating a professional-grade piece of upholstery will become easier than ever.

Basic Upholstery Stitches

Upholstery stitching is a technique used to secure fabric and other materials used in upholstery projects together or to provide decorative touches. There are several different types of stitches used in the professional upholsterer’s toolkit, and each has its own unique qualities and uses. Here are some of the most important stitches used in upholstery:

Straight Stitch

This is the most basic upholstery stitch, and is used for most general applications. The straight stitch involves looping the thread through two pieces of material, creating a neat and balanced stitch across the surface. This stitch is often used for repairing seams or connecting edges, and can also be used for edging or outlining.


Backstitching is a more secure version of the straight stitch, and is used for more heavily stressed seams and joins. The difference is that each stitch is back-stitched—the needle passes through the material twice before tying off the stitch. Backstitching is generally used to close seams and reinforce joins.

Overcast Stitch

The overcast stitch is used to create a neat finish around the edges of the material and is useful for preventing the edges from fraying or snagging. It involves running the thread along the edge of the fabric in small, looping stitches, trapping the weft of the fabric in the loops and securing the edge. It can also be used as a decorative edge trim.

Blind Hem Stitch

The blind hem stitch is an inconspicuous stitch which can be used in areas where a strong seam is not required, such as upholstery on a vertical surface. It is generally used to close up seams, hem edges, and bind material. The stitch is hidden from view, creating a neat and tidy finish.

These are just a few of the many types of upholstery stitches used in the industry. With a bit of practice and the right tools, these basic stitches can be mastered and you’ll find yourself upholstering furniture like a pro.

Straight Stitch

The straight stitch is the most fundamental type of upholstery stitch and is typically used to attach a piece of material to another. It is created with a simple basic sewing machine and is the least resilient type of upholstery stitching technique. The straight stitch is often used to attach simple materials such as fabric, canvas, and vinyl. It is also used to stitch along the seams of a section of material to prevent it from fraying.

The straight stitch is created by inserting the needle through the material and then pulling it out, as closely as possible to the spot where it went in. Depending on the application, the stitch may need to be straight, or slightly diagonal. Adjusting the tension of the machine can come into play as well. Generally, a looser tension should be used when the fabric is thicker, and a tighter tension used when the material is thinner. This can help the stitch appear more uniform, and reduce unwanted bulging.

The outcome of the straight stitch varies with the material used. For example, if the material is pressure sensitive, such as upholstery foam, the stitch may not hold up well, as the foam will compress over time. Therefore, other, more resilient stitching techniques are necessary to prevent the material from shifting and becoming loose. In addition, when working with heavier fabrics and materials, additional reinforcement should be used to further secure the stitch and ensure that it has a professional finished look.


Backstitch is an essential upholstery stitch that is used for both decorative and structural purposes. It is characterized by a double stitch on the backside of the fabric, followed by a single stitch on the front. This stitch is used to create edges and seams that will remain sturdy and secure with continued use. It can also be used for more elaborate designs with more intricate stitching patterns.

As its name suggests, the backstitch is a stitch that is worked from the back of the fabric, instead of the front like most other types of stitches. To create the stitch, begin at the back of the fabric and make a knot. Bring the needle to the front of the fabric and make a small stitch back at the starting point of the knot. Make sure to keep the stitches close together so they create a firm edge. Once the desired length of stitching is complete, take the needle to the back of the fabric again and tie off the thread.

The backstitch provides a very strong and secure seam that is difficult to undo, making it ideal for high-stress areas such as seams. This stitch does require some skill and patience to master, but with practice, the backstitch can be used to create beautiful and detailed stitch patterns with ease. It is important to use the correct type and size of thread for this stitch, as using the wrong type can lead to inconsistent results. The needle should also be chosen thoughtfully to ensure the stitching process is smooth and accurate.

Overcast Stitch

The Overcast Stitch is an advanced upholstery stitch, often used to finish the edges of fabric and fabrics, as well as to finish seams. This stitch provides a neat finish and helps keep fabric from fraying. To do this stitch, one should begin by looping the thread around the edge of the fabric and then bringing the needle through the loop. This creates a stitch that is further reinforced by the loop of thread around the edge of the fabric.

After the initial loop, one should bring the needle over to the other side of the fabric and then loop it around the edge and stitch up through. This process should be repeated until one reaches the end of the seam. This stitch gives a strong, neat finish and is particularly useful for heavier fabrics and those with a higher risk of fraying.

The Overcast Stitch is a relatively easy stitch to master, and it is important for those working in upholstery to master it. This stitch can be used for both hems and seams, offering a durable and professional finish. It is important to ensure that each stitch is strong and even, as this will ensure a successful and long lasting finish.

Advanced Upholstery Stitches

The advanced stitches of upholstery are a professional grade technique that can enhance the finished look of a piece of upholstery. These more complex stitches allow for different materials and fabrics to be combined in interesting ways, as well as providing additional strength, structure and texture to the piece.

The Buttonhole stitch is a great way to secure bindings and edgings, as the stitch itself can be used to make small buttonholes in the material. It is often used for tucking or folding a fabric over other material, then forming a tight loop. The Cording stitch is a decorative way to secure two pieces of cord to each other, producing a decorative knot. This type of stitch is often used for upholstery accents with a fine sheen. The Whip stitch is another decorative stitch that is used to finish the edges of upholstery materials. This stitch is more visible than the other patterns, and is commonly seen in pillows, drapes and other upholstery. The Crossed stitch is yet another decorative stitch, made by pulling one needle in one direction and the other in the opposite directions. This stitch can be used to join multiple pieces of fabric together with extra strength. Finally, the Blanket stitch is a decorative stitch used to finish edges on blankets, bedspreads, upholstery and other items used for warmth or decorative purposes.

The advanced upholstery stitching techniques listed above are an important component in creating high-quality, professional-grade upholstery pieces. Here are a few tips to get the best results when incorporating these stitches:

• Be sure to use the correct thread for the material being sewn.
• Learn the various stitch types and when to use them.
• Test the stitches on a scrap material before doing them on the final piece.
• Take your time and be careful to ensure consistent results.
• Practice with a hand-sewing needle before using a machine.

Buttonhole Stitch

The buttonhole stitch is a popular and versatile upholstery stitch choice for many professionals. It is created by inserting a thread or cord through the material, then looping it back around the same material and tying a knot. This knot is then tightened to secure the thread in place. The buttonhole stitch has many uses, including creating strengthened seams, buttonholes, and hems. It is particularly useful because it is not only secure, but also provides a neat and attractive look.

To create a buttonhole stitch, first thread a needle with the appropriate thread or cord. Then start the stitch by passing the needle through the first material, looping the cord around the material, and bringing the needle back up through the same spot and tying a knot. Continue the pattern by passing the needle through the second material and doing the exact same loop and knot over and over again. As you tighten the knots, the thread should be pulled snugly against the material and it will keep the seam neatly in place.

The buttonhole stitch can also be used to create decorative stripes and patterns as it can be worked in various ways. You can vary the height of the cords, or how the knot is tied each time, to get different effects. It is also a great stitch to use for joining two separate fabric pieces together, as it has strong and stable edges when finished.

In summary, the buttonhole stitch is an upholstery staple, offering versatility in its many uses and styles. It’s a must-know stitch for anyone looking to craft beautiful and strong upholstery pieces.

Cording Stitch

Cording stitch is one of the most commonly used upholstery stitches, because it allows for a strong, durable hold on thick fabrics. It is often used to secure decorative cording to the furniture piece, and can be used in place of welting on decorative pieces. The cording stitch adds texture and detail to a piece, helping to create a more professional, polished look.

To create a cording stitch, you will use a loop of cording. The cording is passed through the fabric of the upholstery at an angle and pulled snugly to make a single stitch. From there, the same loop of cording is passed through the fabric again, before being drawn back to the same point it started from. It is important to keep the tension tight so that the cording remains securely in place. Another traditional method of creating a cording stitch is to hand-knot the thread before passing it through the fabric.

The end result of a cording stitch is a series of small loops that are held in place firmly. It is an ideal stitch for upholstery, because it helps to maintain the shape and durability of a piece of furniture. When finished correctly, it can provide years of lasting use for the furniture piece.

Whip Stitch

The whip stitch is an essential tool in any upholstery job. It is a simple stitch, consisting of thread woven around the edge of the fabric to create a clean, secure finish. This type of stitch is commonly used when sewing fabrics together, especially around curves, and in situations where the seam will be exposed. It is also an excellent choice for edging any upholstery project, as it offers a neat, tidy look and secure attachment of the fabric to the frame of the furniture.

When using a whip stitch for upholstery, be sure to use an appropriately-sized needle and threads that are strong enough to hold the fabric in place. The number of stitches per inch should be close and even, to ensure a seamless look. Additionally, careful attention should be paid to the angle of the thread, as this will determine the overall quality of the stitch.

For best results, the thread should be looped around the fabric edge several times before completing the stitch. This helps create a secure attachment that will last for the lifetime of the furniture. Additionally, when securing the end of the thread, be sure to tie off a knot and then hide it within the edge of the fabric. This helps to keep the stitch secure and avoids unsightly loose ends.

Knowing how to use a whip stitch for upholstery is a handy skill for anyone who is interested in upholstering furniture. With practice, and with attention to detail, an expert whip stitch will produce a professional-quality finish to any upholstery project.

Crossed Stitch

The crossed stitch is a type of upholstery stitching technique suitable for projects that require greater security than a straight stitch.

This stitch is created by creating two straight, parallel stitches on either side of the fabric, with each stitch going in the same direction. The two lines are then crossed in the center by going under the first thread and over the second thread. This creates a criss-cross or “X” shape.

The crossed stitch is ideal for attaching two pieces of material together, as it adds strength and security to the seams. Additionally, the stitch is more aesthetically pleasing than a straight stitch, and can be used to create decorative patterns along seams.

The crossed stitch is not difficult to learn, however it does require a more steady hand and more precision than a basic stitch. For better results, use a heavier thread for increased durability. Additionally, it is a good idea to test the stitch in an inconspicuous part of the project prior to using it on the main piece.

Blanket Stitch

The blanket stitch is a professional-grade upholstery stitch that has been used for centuries to make garments and furnishings. It is a versatile stitch and is used for a variety of applications, from stylish blankets, to trims, securing multiple layers of fabric, and even attaching appliques.

The stitch creates a decorative ladder, or linked chain of bar-like stitches, and is highly resilient. The stitch is composed of a uniform zigzag pattern, with one stitch side sewn over the other, forming a looped chain. It is a consistent, robust stitch that can endure a great deal of wear and tear, providing a cohesive and secure reinforcement. The stitches are often tightened to hide the working thread, adding an additional layer of security and creating an aesthetically pleasing blend of the sides of the upholstery.

The blanket stitch is also popular for providing a neat, clean edge on the pieces that have been finished, such as the edges of throw blankets, tablecloths and runners. The even, consistent and strong stitching ensures a lasting finish on the piece. The stitch also looks beautiful, adding an additional aesthetic element to the upholstery. Finally, the blanket stitch is relatively easy to learn, making it great option for both beginners and professionals looking to add some extra flair to their work.