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Antique seam stitch icon
Antique seam stitch

  • Old German seam stitch
  • Fishbone joining stitch
  • Baseball stitch
  • Saddler's stitch
  • Lacing stitch
Antique seam stitch main image

This stitch is used for joining two selvedges or unfolded edges of cloth so that they remain as flat as possible.  The two fabric edges are butted up to each other and the thread links the two pieces using a figure of eight motion.  It was historically used when looms and therefore bolts of cloth were narrow and frequently required joining.  It is a useful way of joining two pieces of interlining to line large textile hangings.

The distance between the stitches dictates whether the stitches appear parallel or slanted; Thérèse de Dillmont indicates a widely-spaced version was used to join sheets.

This versatile stitch has many applications: it has been recorded on Peruvian textile artefacts from the late Chincha period where it was used to join fabric; it is used to join leather hence its alternative name of ‘baseball stitch’; and it is used in taxidermy as one of the basic stitches.

Antique seam stitch is generously sponsored by Marian Drum


Align your pieces of fabric so that the raw edges are touching but not overlapping.  You may find it helpful to place a small piece of fabric on top of the join and pin it onto both pieces of fabric to hold them in place, removing it when you have worked enough stitches to hold the raw edges together.

Some stitchers find a curved needle makes working this stitch easier.

If you want a strong join, keep your stitches close together so that they are almost parallel.


Starting at one end of your join, bring your needle up in one of the pieces, a short distance from the edge.  Slide your needle between the two pieces and bring it up a short distance from the edge of the other piece, very slightly further along from the previous stitch.  Pull through.


Slide your needle between the two pieces and bring it up in the first piece of fabric, as before.  Pull taut.


Continue in this way.  You may need to use the eye of your needle or a mellor to tighten your stitches.


A line of antique seam stitch.

Antique seam stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Antique seam stitch is used to join two unfolded edges of cloth; if you are joining two folded edges and want an invisible stitch, look at slip stitch.

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches


  • Thérèse De Dillmont, Encyclopedia of Needlework (1886)
  • Lila M O'Neale, Chincha plain-weave cloths (1949) , p.140
  • Al Stohlman, The art of hand sewing leather (1977) , p.47-50
  • Ken Edwards, Serious sportsman taxidermy for beginners (1991) , p.20