First seam techniques can be found in the Neolithic, for example in the clothing of the “Man from Hauslabjoch”. In this time, sinews or leather stripses were used, holes had to be poked with an eel beforehand.

Needles in the modern sense were developed with the need to join finer textiles made from linnen or wool, so went hand in hand with weaving in the Neolithic.

In Medieval times, needles from brass, copper and iron, in parts even bone or horn were in use. The most common stitches were running stitch, backstitch and hem stitch. Most extant textiles show a very fine size of stitches from 1-2 mm each.

A general rule for the use of thread materials in relation to fabric materials can not be made.

Many extant seams show to have finishing where both seam allowances are pressed to one or both sides of the seam and tucked with a hem stitch, but also double folded hems and facings were common. Especially the Herjolfsnes clothes show a more complicated kind of finishing by using weaving tablets.

One special case of finishing can be seen in the dress of St Elisabeth from the 13th century which shows finishing with hem stitches on the left and right side of the dress.