The sewing industry has been around for tens of thousands of years. Archaeologists have uncovered needles made out of bone from as far back as the Ice Age. Even thimbles have been in use for centuries. A thimble that was over 2000 years old was found once inside an ancient tomb in China.
For almost as long as humans have been around, they’ve been stitching things together. While people used a simple needle and thread for centuries, the sewing machine was invented in the mid-1800s. The speed that sewing machines allowed made it possible to mass-produce clothing, but it didn’t only impact the clothing industry. Toys, automobiles, books, and bags all benefited from the greater efficiency of commercial sewing. Now, contract sewing is a highly important industry.
Throughout the long history of the sewing industry, dozens of different stitch styles have been invented for different purposes. Many people are unfamiliar with all the different possible stitches. Here are the six stitches you’re most likely to come across:
The straight stitch is the most common stitch because of its simplicity. This type of stitch is used in nearly everything. It includes an up and down passage of the needle through the fabric, securing two pieces of fabric together. To increase the security of this stitch, it can be sewn a few stitches in reverse at the beginning and end of a seam.
This stitch has some versatility in length. It can be done in short, tight stitches, which are much harder to remove. It can also be made in longer stitches. These longer stitches are easier to remove. If the stitch may need to be adjusted in the future, longer stitches are better.
The double needle stitch is used to add extra durability as well as styling details. This type of stitch creates parallel lines along the fabric. If you’re sewing on knits or stretch fabrics, this stitch is useful because the fabric responds well to it. Woven fabrics don’t typically require this type of stitch, but the double needle stitch can be used on them anyway to make a hem look more professional or add decorative stitch designs.
A flatlock stitch requires a serger or overlocker machine. This type of stitch combines two fabrics, but rather than overlapping the fabrics, as most stitches do, this stitch combines the fabrics at the very edge. This creates a completely flat seam, which can often prevent chafing, if the fabric is being used for clothing and the fabric is a rough material, like polyester. For very heavy types of clothing, such as pants or fleece garments, a flat seam created by the flatlock stitch is important because the seam would be far too bulky without it.
Other than the convenience of a flat seam, flatlock stitches are also used to allow more stretch at the seam and to add decoration to a piece of fabric. Because this type of stitch is visible on both sides of the fabric, it cannot be hidden on the inside, so it is often incorporated into the design of the fabric.
The flatlock stitch is also often confused for the overlock stitch because they are very similar, however, the flatlock stitch is flatter due to the overlock stitch layering fabric. Both types of stitches are possible to do with an overlock machine and have similar purposes. The main difference with the flatlock stitch is that the edges are not overlapping.
A chain link stitches one uninterrupted thread that is intertwined with itself as it passes through the fabric. This type of stitch is very commonly found on denim jeans. It’s strong enough to use on denim fabric and many people like the look of the roping effect that chain link stitches create on denim jeans.
A chain link stitch is also used for decoration and embroidery. It’s very easy to make curved lines with this type of stitch, so the ability to customize a design is very easy. People have been using chain link stitches to add embroidered designs to fabric for thousands of years.
The bar tack stitch is made for areas that need extra durable stitches because of being in high stress zones. Pockets, belt loops, and buttonholes often use this type of stitch. Fabric bags are also often stitched together with a bar tack stitch because of its strength and ability to withstand the stress of carrying multiple items. This stitch includes zig-zag and can be applied by hand or with a machine. Occasionally, for extra support, this stitch can be doubled up with a back stitch at the end of the seam.
This stitch is primarily used for decoration, but the sky is the limit in terms of what types of decoration you can add using this stitch. The stitch allows for greater visibility and keeps the fabric from catching, which makes embroidery or design details easier to add. This stitch really increases the possibilities for creativity.
If your business has just a few small sewing needs, you may be able to get by without help, however, if your business is growing and your sewing needs are expanding, it may be a good idea to look for a commercial contract sewing company. Hiring a company for all your sewing needs will allow you to free up your time and resources and help you scale your business.
Development Workshop has the expertise and ability to meet all your sewing needs. The team is able to complete each of these common types of stitches for a variety of types of projects. Whether you need wallets, wine bags, suspenders, canvas coasters, or anything else you can think of, the Development Workshop has the people and equipment to get the job done right.
With extensive experience in both small and large volume contracts, the Development Workshop can help you grow your business more effectively. Contact Development Workshop to discuss your sewing projects.