How to Hand Sew a Zig Zag Stitch

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Hand stitched zig zag stitch
Hand stitched zig zag stitch (Image: Ashley Little)

A zig zag stitch can be stitched on a sewing machine, but it can also be stitched by hand. A zig zag stitch is perfect when you want a seam that allows plenty of stretch, like seams on a knit fabric. Zig zag stitch can also be used as a decorative stitch when you use contrasting thread. You don't need any previous sewing skills to learn how to sew the zig zag stitch.

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing needle 
  • Thread
  • Scissors  

Tip

  • A contrasting thread color is being used for demonstration purposes. You can use a contrasting thread if the zig zag stitch is decorative or you can use a thread to match the fabric for a more invisible stitch.

Step 1

Cut a length of thread that's about four times as long as the length of the seam.

Step 2

Thread the needle with thread, then tie a knot at the end of thread opposite the needle.

Step 3

Bring the needle through the fabric from back to front.

Bringing the needle from back to front
Bringing the needle from back to front (Image: Ashley Little)

Tip

  • If you want to ensure that your zig zag stitch is the same size all the way across the fabric, use a ruler and washable fabric marker or tailor's chalk to draw two parallel lines on the fabric before you begin stitching. Work the zig zag stitch within these two lines.

Step 4

Insert the needle vertically above the needle's first entry from front to back, creating a straight stitch.

Inserting the needle to make the first part of the zig zag stitch
Inserting the needle to make the first part of the zig zag stitch (Image: Ashley Little)

Step 5

Insert the needle from back to front, coming back up through the original entry point. The needle should now be at the bottom of the stitch you just created.

Inserting the needle through the original entry point
Inserting the needle through the original entry point (Image: Ashley Little)

Step 6

Insert the needle front to back, placing it diagonally at a 45-degree angle from the original entry point. You should now have a diagonal stitch from the entry point. The stitch will look like a V that's leaning to the left.

Stitching a diagonal line from the entry point
Stitching a diagonal line from the entry point (Image: Ashley Little)

Step 7

Insert the needle from back to front at the point just below the diagonal line, creating a straight stitch on the back of the fabric.

Inserting the needle just below the diagonal line
Inserting the needle just below the diagonal line (Image: Ashley Little)

Step 8

Insert the needle into the point of the diagonal stitch, making a straight stitch to connect the threads. The stitches should now look like the letter N.

Connecting the threads to make the letter N
Connecting the threads to make the letter N (Image: Ashley Little)

Step 9

Insert the needle from back to front, through the point at the bottom of the vertical stitch you just made.

Inserting the needle through the bottom of the vertical stitch
Inserting the needle through the bottom of the vertical stitch (Image: Ashley Little)

Step 10

Repeat steps 6-9 across the fabric until you have completed the length of the zig zag stitch you desire.

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