Basic Hand Stitches for S.C.A. Sewing

Many newcomers to the S.C.A. have never sewn by hand in their lives. Learning just a few basic hand stitches can be of great benefit to them, allowing them to make clothes or other items for themselves without a sewing machine or to make things sewn with a machine less obviously so by eliminating visible machine stitching. There are a great many books on the market that will show those new to sewing how to do these stitches, but that's not a great help to someone who doesn't have them and is in the middle of a project. And, in any event, "how to" books rarely mention which of the stitches they show were used in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

So I'm putting these pages up to accompany my project instructions pages. They feature close-up photos of stitches in progress and text descriptions of their uses and the way they're made. The stitches are all documented, simple, and among the most useful ones you can learn. They include:

If you want to learn more about various stitches seen in surviving historical garments, I heartily recommend Heather Rose Jones' article, Archaeological Sewing.

If you're interested in historical embroidery stitches, I suggest a visit to the Historic Needlework Resources site or the website of the West Kingdom Needleworkers' Guild.


This page was written and is maintained by Coblaith Muimnech, who owns its copyright. Please do not reproduce any portion of it without express permission.

Click to head to Coblaith's homepage or the index to her articles on techniques useful in making clothing and accessories for use in the S.C.A.