How to Handsew: The Prick Stitch

If you are looking to elevate your garments from ordinary machine stitching to finer sewing techniques and couture stitching, hand sewing is a perfect way to start. No amount of fancy gadgets can replace quality hand sewing. In this series of posts, I will guide you through the main hand sewing stitches that you might encounter while sewing garments.

how to handsew the prickstitch

Today’s lesson is learning how to hand sew the prick stitch. This stitch leaves teeny tiny dots of threads in a row on the right side of the garment, with long stitches on the backside. Most commonly used for hand sewing zippers into garments, this technique can be found on finer vintage and elegant garments. But there’s no reason why you can use it on your next sundress! Follow along to learn how to hand sew with prick stitch!

prick stitch step 1

Step 1:

Choose a thread that matches your garment fabric and thread it through a needle that is the appropriate size and type for your project. Tie a knot at the end and insert the needle through the fabric with the knot on the underside. Pull the thread through so it is pulled tight. prick stitch step 2

Step 2:

Insert the needle tip into the fabric, just to the right of where the thread originally came up. This should be a very small amount, only catching a few threads, as this is the forming the tiny dot of fabric that will remain on the right side of the fabric. prick stitch step 3

Step 3:

Instead of pulling the needle through to the backside, poke the needle to the left of the thread the distance you desire between your dots. Typically the distance left between the tiny dots is quite long, leaving a long thread on the underside, but only showing a tiny dot on the right side, approximately .1/8″ or shorter in length. prick stitch step 4

Step 4:

Pull the needle through the fabric. The location where the thread comes up to the right side of the fabric will be the left side of the next dot, so make sure you come up the exact amount you want between your dots, less the size of the dot, as that will be added to the right of where the needle comes up through the fabric. prick stitch step 5

Step 5:

Repeat by inserting the needle into the fabric, again, inserting it just to the right of the thread, forming the next dot of the stitch. Be sure to only catch a few threads, ensuring that it is the same size dot as the previously sewn dot. prick stitch step 6

Step 6:

Like in the previous stitch, poke the needle through to the left, matching the distance between the first and second dots. Continue repeating until you have finished your stitching, then knot at the end to secure. prick stitch final product

And that’s it! Click on my writer profile to see the other entries in this series of hand stitches to further expand your skills!

Any garment that has a zipper insertion can be sewn with this stitch. Try it on the Sewing Vintage: The Flirty Day Dress with Laura Nash, and get to know even more zipper insertion techniques in Sunni Standing’s Mastering Zipper Techniques class.

 When do you use a prick stitch?

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