A loose, looped stitch used for tacking purposes, or as I call it, loose tacking. This is a simple, large hand stitch that is used in sewing, usually to hold something in place temporarily or to show pattern markings. It is also known as basting.
I am as guilty as the next seamstress, yes I have tried to use pins instead of tacking stitches before... usually it ends up with blood being drawn and machine sewing needles being broken... I might have even cried with frustration once or twice, but I can say I have learnt my lesson... and hopefully those reading this can learn from my mistakes too.
It can seem like a waste of time, and sometimes you might feel that it is better to use pins instead, this stitch helps not hinders. The short amount of time you would take to tack or baste something together, will help you save time and stress from fighting with your fabric while trying to feed it through your sewing machine, or fighting pins (and shedding blood) while trying to sew or even hoping that pressing will be enough to keep a seam in place so that it holds its shape and size (it often does not).
This is a temporary stitch and is meant to be removed once the garment has been completed, or the seam has been sewn into place.
It is usually a long straight stitch, but a loose X stitch can be used at times too.
This stitch can also be used to temporarily attach parts of the garment together to allow for fittings, that way when changes need to be made to individual parts of a garment, the stitches can be easily unpicked to allow for this to happen. This stitching function can also be done by machine, where you can sew using your largest, loosest stitch function.
You would also use tacking when it comes to creating gathers in a garment, quickly sewing a loose stitch and then pulling the thread through until the garment is the desired length with the right amount of gathering.
This is such a simple stitch, but I do feel it is important enough for me to mention it in a blog post as not only can it save you time and effort but it can and will help you to produce a better quality garment.
I have created a short you tube video for you to look at to see how to create a tacking stitch from scratch (click on the YouTube button to the right of the page), I hope it helps.