The running stitch is the stitch that non-sewers think of when they think of sewing, because it is the most common stitch used for hand-sewn seams. If the stitches are small enough, and if the stitching line is straight enough, you can make several stitches at once, as in the diagram to the right.
  • The thread above the fabric and the thread below should be of equal length.
  • Quilters have a way of controlling this stitch that is well worth trying. Push the needle into the fabric with the tip of a thimble on your index finger or your second finger. Without letting the needle slip from the thimble, rock the needle up and down as you push the needle down through the fabric and then up. When the fabric is fairly thin (thin batting for a quilt), the stitches end up being small and even. It helps if the needle is short - this is why quilters use "betweens".
  • Hand-sewn seams
  • Quilting
  • Sachiko embroidery
  • Trapunto
  • Top-stitching
  • Outline for Satin Stitch
  • Foundation for Cutwork
  • Pleating by hand
  • Hems
The Running Stitch is also very effective as a decorative stitch. As a simple line, with small and even stitches, this stitch makes a delicate dotted line that can accentuate a line in the garment. Old linens often used this stitch as a way of adding decoration to a large surface quickly. For example, this pattern could be used as a border for a casual tablecloth :