The running stitch or straight stitch is the basic stitch in hand-sewing and embroidery, on which all other forms of sewing are based. The stitch is worked by passing the needle in and out of the fabric. Running stitches may be of varying length, but typically more thread is visible on the top of the sewing than on the underside.
Running stitches are used in hand-sewing and tailoring to sew basic seams, in hand patchwork to assemble pieces, and in quilting to hold the fabric layers and batting or wadding in place. Loosely spaced rows of short running stitches are used to support padded satin stitch.
Running stitches are a component of many traditional embroidery styles, including kantha of India and Bangladesh, and Japanese sashiko quilting.
- Basting stitches are long running stitches used to keep two pieces of fabric or trim aligned during final sewing, or to otherwise temporarily sew two pieces together.
- Darning stitches are closely spaced parallel rows of running stitches used to fill or reinforce worn areas of a textile, or as decoration (see Darning).
- Double-running or Holbein stitches have a second row of running stitches worked in a reverse direction in between the stitches of the first pass, to make a solid line of stitching.
- Double darning stitches are closely spaced (but not overlapping) rows of Holbein stitches.
- Caulfield, S.F.A., and B.C. Saward, The Dictionary of Needlework, 1885.
- Enthoven, Jacqueline: The Creative Stitches of Embroidery, Van Norstrand Rheinhold, 1964, ISBN 0-442-22318-8
- Gillow, John, and Bryan Sentance: World Textiles, Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown, 1999, ISBN 0-8212-2621-5
- Reader's Digest, Complete Guide to Needlework. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (March 1992). ISBN 0-89577-059-8