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Upholstery Stitch Type List

Upholstery stitch types are an essential aspect of the furniture-making process. Selecting the correct stitch ensures that the fabric is securely attached to the furniture frame, providing durability, comfort, and aesthetic appeal. With a wide range of upholstery stitch types available, it can be tricky to determine which stitch is appropriate for a particular piece of furniture. In this article, we will explore the most common upholstery stitch types used in furniture manufacturing and their distinct characteristics.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Stitch Type

When it comes to upholstery, choosing the right stitch type is crucial for achieving a durable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing finished product. The stitch type used can greatly impact the performance and appearance of the piece. With so many options available, from straight stitches to specialized curved stitches, it can be overwhelming to know which stitch to use for each project. In this section, we’ll explore the importance of choosing the right stitch type and provide tips for selecting the best option for your upholstery needs.

1. Durability

Durability is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing the right stitch type for upholstery. A strong and durable stitch will ensure that the upholstered piece can withstand wear and tear, and will last for a long time.

One of the best stitch types for durability is the double-needle stitch. This stitch creates two parallel rows of stitching that are interlocked, creating a very durable and strong seam. It is ideal for upholstering furniture that will be heavily used, such as sofas or armchairs.

Another highly durable stitch type is the overcast stitch. This stitch is used to finish the edges of the fabric, preventing fraying and ensuring that the fabric remains intact. It is often used in upholstery for its ability to hold up against frequent use and stress.

It is important to keep in mind that the durability of the stitch will also depend on the quality of the thread used. It is recommended to use a high-quality, heavy-duty thread for upholstery to ensure that the stitch remains intact.

2. Appearance and Style

The appearance and style of upholstery stitches are important considerations when choosing the right type for the project. Straight stitches provide a clean and classic look, while zigzag stitches can add a decorative touch. Overcast and double-needle stitches create a more professional and polished appearance. Blind stitches can also be a great option for hiding seams or adding a seamless look to the upholstery.

It’s important to consider the style of the piece when selecting the stitch type. For example, a sleek modern sofa may benefit from a straight stitch, while a more traditional chair may require a double-needle or overcast stitch to suit its style. Additionally, the color and quality of thread used can greatly impact the appearance of the stitch, so choosing the right thread is just as important as choosing the right stitch type.

Ultimately, the appearance and style of the stitch should complement the overall design and purpose of the piece. A well-chosen stitch can enhance the beauty and functionality of the upholstery and create a lasting impression.

3. Fabric Type and Texture

When it comes to upholstery stitching, it’s important to consider the fabric type and texture to ensure the stitch holds up well. The thickness and stretchiness of the fabric should be taken into account while selecting the stitch type.

For thinner fabrics like silk or linen, a straight stitch or zigzag stitch can be a suitable option. For medium to heavyweight fabrics like wool or canvas, a slightly wider zigzag stitch or a double-needle stitch can provide extra strength and durability.

Here are some common stitch types used for upholstery that are suitable for various fabric types:

  • Straight Stitch
  • Zigzag Stitch
  • Overcast Stitch
  • Double-Needle Stitch
  • Blind Stitch
  • Top-Stitch
  • It’s essential to test the fabric beforehand to ensure that the stitch doesn’t pucker or distort the fabric’s shape. A slight puckering is acceptable for certain fabrics, but too much can ruin the appearance of the upholstery.

    Keeping in mind the fabric texture’s smooth, rough, or textured nature is also necessary while choosing the stitch type. For example, a tacking stitch can be used for fabrics with loose weaves like burlap or jute to prevent unraveling.

    Common Upholstery Stitch Types

    There are many different types of stitches used in upholstery, each with its own unique qualities and benefits. Choosing the right stitch type is critical to achieving the desired level of durability and appearance for your upholstery project. In this section, we will introduce you to some of the most common types of upholstery stitches, providing insight into their strengths and how they can be utilized effectively. With this knowledge, you will be better equipped to make informed decisions when it comes to choosing the best stitch type for your upholstery needs.

    1. Straight Stitch

    A straight stitch, as the name suggests, is a simple stitch that goes in one direction and is commonly used in upholstery. It’s a durable stitch that’s easy to create and typically used for seams or top stitching. When using a straight stitch for upholstery, it’s important to use a strong thread and test the stitch on a piece of scrap fabric before starting on the actual piece. Here are some tips for using a straight stitch in upholstery:

    • Use a longer stitch length for heavier fabrics and a shorter stitch length for lighter fabrics.
    • For a professional look, press seams open and top stitch them down with a straight stitch.
    • If the fabric puckers or distorts, try reducing the tension on the machine or switching to a heavier-duty needle.
    • Overall, a straight stitch is a versatile and reliable option for upholstery, making it a great choice for beginners and experienced sewers alike.

      2. Zigzag Stitch

      A zigzag stitch is a commonly used decorative stitch in upholstery. It creates a jagged, back-and-forth pattern that can add an interesting touch to a piece. The stitch is also useful for securing edges, reducing fraying or creating a hems on stretch fabrics. Zigzag stitches are often used for securing zippers and for stitching buttons onto upholstery.

      Here are some tips when using a zigzag stitch for upholstery:

      • Adjust the width of the stitch. For most fabrics, a 3-6 mm width is ideal for stronger coverage. Wider widths can be used on heavier textiles.
      • Consider stitch length. This varies depending on fabric type and thickness. Shorter stitches are ideal for heavier fabrics, while longer stitches work well for thinner fabrics.
      • Test on a scrap fabric before using on the actual piece. This helps to avoid fabric puckering or bunching.
      • Always use a strong thread. A polyester or nylon thread is recommended for zigzag stitches on upholstery.

      Zigzag stitches can also be used as a reinforcement stitch for high-stress areas on a piece of upholstery. This stitch can also be used in conjunction with other stitches to create decorative effects.

      3. Overcast Stitch

      The overcast stitch is a commonly used stitch type in upholstery. It prevents fraying and creates a clean edge finish. This stitch type is done by zigzagging over the edge of the fabric, encasing it. Overcast stitches are ideal for heavier fabrics, as it provides extra protection against fraying.

      When using the overcast stitch, it is recommended to use a zigzag presser foot and a strong thread. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using the overcast stitch:

      • Test the stitch on a scrap fabric to ensure the stitch width and tension are set properly.
      • Adjust stitch width according to the thickness of the fabric for better coverage.
      • Use a thread that matches the fabric color for a neat finish.
      • Overall, the overcast stitch provides a professional finish, especially when used on the edges of upholstered pieces that are visible.

        4. Double-Needle Stitch

        A double-needle stitch creates a parallel row of stitching that adds extra strength to seams and hems. The stitch is created with two needles and requires a compatible machine. When selecting the needle size, consider the fabric’s weight and type and use a compatible double-needle size. Here are some tips for using a double-needle stitch effectively on upholstery:

        • Choose a thread that is strong and thick enough to withstand wear and tear.
        • Make sure the sewing machine is compatible with the double-needle size you are using.
        • Always sew a test piece to check for puckering or distortion before starting on the actual upholstery piece.
        • Use a seam guide or tape to ensure parallel stitching.
        • Avoid backstitching with double-needle stitches, instead, tie off the threads to secure the ends.
        • Consider the color of the thread used for the topstitching to complement the piece’s fabric and design.
        • Double-needle stitches work best on areas with high stress, such as corners and seams that get a lot of wear. It is commonly used for hemming, topstitching, and decorating upholstery.

          5. Blind Stitch

          A blind stitch, also known as a slip stitch, is a highly versatile stitch used for finishing upholstery and decorative tasks. This stitch type is ideal for joining two pieces of fabric together while keeping the stitch invisible from the front. It’s best to use a lightweight thread for this stitch, as it helps keep the stitch hidden.

          To create a blind stitch, follow these steps:

          1. Start by folding the edge of the fabric to be sewn under by 1/4 inch.
          2. With the fold facing towards you, insert the needle through the folded fabric and take a small stitch through the main upholstery piece.
          3. Make sure to keep the needle close to the fold, so it remains hidden in the finished stitch.
          4. Move the needle 1/4 inch over and insert it up through the folded fabric again and take another small stitch through the main upholstery piece.
          5. Repeat this process all along the seam, making sure to keep the stitches as even and hidden as possible.
          6. The result of a blind stitch is nearly invisible from the front, making it an ideal stitch type for creating a seamless finish on upholstery pieces.

            6. Top-Stitch

            A top-stitch is a decorative stitch that adds a professional look to upholstery projects. It’s a visible stitch that’s often used to highlight seams, edges, or to create design elements. A top-stitch can be done with a straight, zigzag, or decorative machine stitch.

            When using a top-stitch, it’s important to ensure that the fabric is secure and taut since this will make the stitch look clean and even. Use a heavy-duty needle and sturdy thread to ensure the stitch’s durability.

            Here are a few tips for using a top-stitch in upholstery:

            • Match the thread color with the main fabric color for a seamless look.
            • Choose a stitch length that matches the desired level of prominence.
            • Test your stitch on scrap fabric before starting on the main project.
            • Use a presser foot that works best for the chosen stitch and fabric type.
            • Using a top-stitch is a great way to add extra flair to an upholstery project and make it stand out. By following the right tips and techniques, you can create a clean and professional look that enhances your project’s appearance and durability.

              Specialized Stitch Types for Upholstery

              While there are many stitch types suitable for upholstery, there are also some specialized options that may be necessary for certain projects. Tacking, locking, and curved stitches each serve unique purposes, such as securing layers of fabric together or following the contours of a curved piece. Taking the time to select the right stitch for a project can result in increased durability, better appearance, and overall satisfaction with the finished product. Here’s a closer look at these specialized stitch types and what they bring to the table.

              1. Tacking Stitch

              Tacking stitches are temporary stitches used to hold pieces of fabric together before permanently sewing them. In upholstery, tacking can be used to hold fabric in place while stitching, ensuring the desired appearance and alignment. Here are some tips to use tacking stitches effectively:

              • Use the same thread color as the primary fabric to avoid visibility after stitching.
              • Use a light stitch and remove the tacking before the permanent stitching.
              • Pin or clip the fabric first before tacking.
              • A locking stitch is commonly used in upholstering to secure and reinforce joints, seams and edges. It is a strong stitch that prevents unraveling and increases durability. Here are some tips for proper use of a locking stitch:

                • Choose a quality thread and needle to handle thicker and heavier fabrics.
                • It can be used in conjunction with other stitches for additional stability and support.
                • Test on a scrap fabric before use to ensure the stitch is strong and secure.
                • Curved stitches are used for shaped fabrics, curves and edges, as a straight stitch cannot provide complete coverage. Curved stitches move in and out to follow the curve or bend of the fabric, creating a clean and consistent look. Here are some guidelines for using curved stitches in upholstery:

                  • Choose a curved needle for the desired bend or curve of the fabric.
                  • Select a thread that matches the primary color of the fabric to prevent visibility.
                  • Ensure maximum stitch length and avoid back-stitching for a seamless finish.
                  • 2. Locking Stitch

                    The locking stitch is an excellent way to secure edges and seams in upholstery. It is created by stitching forward, back, then forward again, over the same section of fabric. This produces a tight and secure stitch with minimal puckering or distortion. It is recommended to use high-quality thread and needle in order to maximize durability. Some tips for using the locking stitch in upholstery include:

                    • Combine with other stitches for added strength and reinforcement
                    • Test on scrap fabric before using on the final product
                    • Adjust tension and stitch length based on the weight and texture of the fabric
                    • Remove any basting or temporary stitches before using the locking stitch
                    • Be aware that the locking stitch may create bulk and thickness in the seam, which can affect the overall appearance of the upholstery project

                    To achieve the best results with the locking stitch, take your time, be patient, and use a compatible machine with a sturdy presser foot. With practice and care, the locking stitch can greatly enhance the durability and appearance of your upholstery project.

                    3. Curved Stitch

                    For shaped fabrics and curves, it’s essential to use curved stitches in upholstery. Using straight stitches in curved areas can result in uneven and bulky seams. Curved stitches follow the curves of the fabric and create a smooth, professional look. To achieve the best results, use a curved needle, same color thread, and avoid back-stitching. The stitch length should be set to the maximum, and it’s recommended to take a few practice stitches on scrap fabric before proceeding.

                    Here are some tips for using curved stitches in upholstery:

                    • Choose a curved needle that matches the curvature of the fabric and the area to be sewn.
                    • Use the same color thread as the primary fabric.
                    • Avoid back-stitching, as it can cause bunching and distortion of the fabric.
                    • Set the stitch length to the maximum, depending on the fabric and machine being used.
                    • Use a pressing tool to smooth out the curves before stitching.
                    • Take a few practice stitches on scrap fabric to ensure the stitch looks even and smooth.
                    • By following these tips, choosing the right curved stitch type for upholstery projects can enhance the appearance and durability of the finished product.

                      Tips for Choosing the Right Upholstery Stitch Type

                      Selecting the right upholstery stitch type can make all the difference when it comes to the final appearance, durability, and longevity of your furniture. However, with so many options available, the decision-making process can be overwhelming. Thankfully, by analyzing the fabric and material, determining the purpose of the piece, and matching the stitch to the sewing machine, it’s possible to make an informed decision about which stitch type will be best suited for your project. With these helpful tips, you can confidently select the right upholstery stitch type to ensure a professional and long-lasting finished product.

                      1. Analyze Fabric and Material

                      Analyzing the fabric and material is an important step in selecting the right upholstery stitch type. The fabric texture, weight, and strength all play a role in determining the best stitch. Here are some points to consider:

                      • Thinner fabrics like silk or linen can use straight or zigzag stitches, while heavier fabrics like wool or canvas can use wider zigzag or double-needle stitches.
                      • Test the fabric beforehand to prevent puckering or distortion and choose stitch types based on the fabric texture.
                      • Different fabrics require different types of needles and thread, so make sure to choose the right ones for your project.
                      • The fabric type and quality is an essential consideration in deciding on the correct stitch type for upholstery. It affects the durability, appearance, and the ease of sewing. By factoring in the fabric type and texture, you can ensure that you choose the best stitch type for your upholstery project.

                        2. Determine the Purpose of the Piece

                        Determining the purpose of the upholstery piece will help in selecting the appropriate stitch type. Is it a high-use piece like a sofa, or a decorative piece like a throw pillow? Will it be exposed to sunlight and outdoor elements, or will it be used in a controlled indoor environment? These factors will affect the durability and appearance of the stitch type chosen.

                        When considering the purpose of the piece, also think about the style and design of the piece. Does it have visible seams and edges? Will the stitching be a decorative element of the design? These questions will help in selecting the appropriate stitch type to enhance the final appearance.

                        To make the selection easier, here is a list of purposes and corresponding recommended stitch types:

                        • High-use furniture: Double-needle stitch or overcast stitch
                        • Decorative pieces: Zigzag or blind stitch
                        • Outdoor furniture: Locking stitch or overcast stitch with UV-resistant thread
                        • Visible seams and edges: Overcast or top-stitch
                        • Shaped fabrics and curves: Curved stitch

                        Remember, the purpose of the piece guides the choice of stitch type, so take the time to analyze the intended use before making a decision. This will ensure that the final product is not only durable, but also looks good and serves its purpose.

                        3. Match the Stitch to the Sewing Machine

                        Sewing machines vary in their ability to handle different types of stitches, so it’s important to match the stitch to the sewing machine. Here are some tips to consider:

                        • Check the machine’s manual for recommended stitch types and settings.
                        • Ensure the machine has the appropriate presser foot for the chosen stitch type.
                        • Use the correct needle size and type, such as a ballpoint needle for knit fabrics or a denim needle for heavier fabrics.
                        • Adjust tension and stitch length based on the stitch type and fabric thickness.
                        • Practice on scrap fabric before beginning the actual project to ensure proper stitch tension and appearance.

                        Matching the stitch to the sewing machine not only ensures ease of sewing, but also creates a stronger and more professional-looking finished product.


                        What are the upholstery techniques?

                        Upholstery techniques refer to the various methods used to cover furniture with fabric or leather. Some examples of upholstery techniques are webbing, padding, springing, stitching, tufting, and trimming. Webbing involves stretching a web of fibers across the frame of the furniture and securing it in place. Padding involves adding layers of foam or cotton batting to the frame for added comfort. Springing involves adding springs to the Seat or back of the furniture for added support. Stitching involves sewing the chosen fabric directly onto the furniture frame. Tufting refers to creating dimples or buttons in the fabric using a needle and thread, while trimming involves adding embellishments such as piping or fringes to the edges of the fabric.

                        What size stitch for upholstery fabric?

                        The recommended size stitch for upholstery fabric is a length of 8-10 mm. This helps to ensure that the seams are strong and durable enough to hold up over time. Anything smaller may tear or pull out easily, while anything larger may appear too bulky or unsightly. It’s also important to use a heavy-duty needle and thread specifically designed for upholstery fabrics. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for stitching on your particular upholstery material.

                        What is a sofa stitch?

                        A sofa stitch is a distinctive type of stitch used to sew seams on upholstered furniture, particularly on sofas. It is often visible on the outside of the piece and adds an attractive decorative detail, while also providing a strong and durable seam. The sofa stitch typically involves using two needles to create parallel lines of stitching, with a decorative thread woven back and forth between them. The result is a raised, textured seam with a distinct look that adds to the overall style of the piece.

                        How to do hidden stitch upholstery?

                        Hidden stitch upholstery, also referred to as blind stitch or slip stitch upholstery, is a technique that creates an invisible seam on the upholstery fabric. To do hidden stitch upholstery, start by placing the fabric pieces with the right side facing each other. Then, thread a needle with a matching thread and make small stitches on the folded edge of the fabric, pulling the needle through the opposite side. Make sure the stitches are close enough to conceal the seam while still allowing the fabric to remain smooth. Repeat the process until the entire seam is stitched, then turn the fabric right side out and press the seam with an iron to set it. With the right technique, hidden stitch upholstery can give a clean, professional look to any upholstery project.

                        What is a French seam in upholstery?

                        A French seam in upholstery is a type of seam that is used to hide the raw edges of two pieces of fabric by encasing them in a folded seam. The seam is sewn twice, first with the wrong sides of the fabric together and then with the right sides together. This creates a clean and finished look on both sides of the fabric. French seams are commonly used in upholstery to create a professional and polished finish on cushions, pillows, and other soft furnishings.

                        Final Words

                        In conclusion, choosing the right upholstery stitch type greatly affects the durability and appearance of the finished product. Understanding the purpose of the piece, analyzing fabric and material, and matching the stitch to the sewing machine are crucial steps to ensure a long-lasting and professional look. The article provides a comprehensive overview of common and specialized upholstery stitch types, along with tips for selecting the best option based on fabric type, texture, and purpose. By following these guidelines, anyone can create beautiful and sturdy upholstery pieces that will stand the test of time.

                        To sum up, the article highlights the importance of choosing the right upholstery stitch type and provides valuable information and tips for selecting the best option. Considerations such as fabric type, purpose of the piece, and matching the stitch to the sewing machine can make a big difference in the durability and appearance of the finished product. Whether it’s a high-use furniture piece, a decorative upholstery project, or an outdoor application, selecting the appropriate stitch type is crucial for a long-lasting and professional-looking final product. With these insights, anyone can successfully tackle upholstery projects with confidence and skill.