Baste for Better Embroidery

Embroidery Basting Stitches

You probably have seen basting stitches used in many of our projects. Here are three reasons why basting stitches are useful.

Basting stitches are a wonderful tool for helping to hold embroidered items to hooped stabilizer. After embroidery, you just snip them and remove. 

Check your manual as most embroidery machines have the capability to baste around the embroidery design. (Note from Bonnie: Even if your machine doesn't have an automatic basting feature, if it has a "frame" feature with a single run stitch, you can manually create a basting stitch to fit around your design.)  Otherwise, you can find free files by searching online.

Here are some examples of when you should use basting stitches.

Hard-to-Hoop Items

Picture of Spooky Buddy cat in hoop with basting stitch around at Bonnie's Blog

Spooky Buddies

If you can’t hoop an item, you often float it on the stabilizer. That is where basting stitches are particularly necessary. Basting the Item to the stabilizer helps to keep it in place while embroidering.

Picture of machine embroidery on organza to be put on candle.Nativity | Organza Nativity Candles Blog 

Basting stitches also help hold slippery fabrics like organza, as well as bulky items like toweling or quilt batting layers, securely in place.

Adding a Topper 

Machine embossed alphabet with topper added at Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Elegant Embossed Alphabet

When embroidering towels or blankets, it is necessary to add an embroidery topper to keep stitches from sinking out of sight. Basting stitches hold toppers in place. 

Picture of Wing Needle Butterflies machine embroidery with topper added at Sew Inspired by Bonnie

Basting stitches also help hold mylar in place, like in the Mylar Wing Needle Butterflies project.

Positioning Designs

Picture of machine embroidered basting stitches used for design placement.

Since they outline the design area, basting stitches not only help to hold items in the hoop, they can also be used as a check against proper design placement.

With multi-hooped projects, running the basting stitch before starting embroidery helps to be sure that the design is going to stitch exactly where you want.

If the basting stitch (design area) is not lined up properly, snip, re-hoop, and baste again.

Picture of machine embroidered basting stitches used to help align odd shaped blank.

You can add basting stitches to just the stabilizer to help position an odd-shaped blank like this one used to create the Sew Eggsquisite Basket Liner.

How do you use basting stitches?

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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  • Bonnie Welsh - October 11, 2022

    Sheri—Welcome to the wonderful world of machine embroidery! You’ll find some of the friendliest folks here willing to share their expertise. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you’ll get notified tips and tricks each Monday along with the latest designs and special offers.

  • Sheri - October 11, 2022

    Hi, Bonnie- I am brand new to the embroidery world and just bought my first embroidery machine. I’m gathering as much info as I can while waiting for my machine to arrive, and came across your site when googling, fell in love with your little critters, and as soon as I get to know how to use them I will be ordering several. I’m an avid sewer and found your basting article very interesting, as I do a lot of basting in my sewing projects, thank you for the very helpful info, I can use any information I can get! lol- Thank you kindly, Sheri

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