Today is Day 2 of 31 Days of Sewing School.
Most of this month will be about machine sewing. We will cover everything from materials to familiarizing yourself with your machine before we dive into some basic techniques and tutorials.
I’ll explain a few of the basics and show you how easy it is to stitch by hand.
All you need for hand-sewing is a needle and thread. It’s the most basic way to mend something, sew on a button or channel your inner Laura Ingalls. It’s also a stepping stone to embroidery, cross-stitch, appliqué, hand-quilting and binding, and more.
What you need to know about sewing by hand
Choose your needle. The thicker the fabric you are sewing through, the bigger your needle should be. For embroidery thread, you’ll want a needle with a bigger eye (the hole of the needle). Embroidery needles are not as sharp. For regular hand-sewing choose a sharp needle with a standard-sized eye. (An assorted pack might be helpful to keep on hand.) You can store your needles stuck into any scrap of fabric or felt.
For kids, choose a plastic needle with a large eye. This will work great if you want to teach your child to hand-sew with embroidery thread (thicker and easier to use). A pipe cleaner can also be folded and twisted around a strand of yarn for sewing on hole-punched foam or cardboard.
Single or double? If you want to sew on a button or stitch something where you want a more-reinforced stitch, thread your needle and then tie both loose ends of the thread together. If you’re doubling your thread, be sure to cut a piece twice as long as you need.
If you are sewing a simpler stitch (like a hem), tie a knot in one end and let one end stay loose while you sew.
Stitch size. For mending or a secure seam, you’ll want to make small stitches that are close together. Hand-basting and gathering require a longer, farther-spaced stitch (a running stitch).
How to sew by hand
- Cut your thread, thread your needle and knot your thread with a double or triple knot. Leave the other end loose.
- Start on the wrong side of the fabric (the side that won’t show) so your knot will be hidden.
- Start your needle going up in the fabric. Pull your thread taut, all the way through.
- Point your needle back down, careful to use an appropriate-sized stitch.
- Come back up. Repeat for as long as necessary.
- Finish with a final stitch going down, so you can tie off the thread on the wrong side again.
- Tie a double or triple knot and trim threads. You did it!
- Run your thread through beeswax (or Thread Heaven) to strengthen your thread and help it glide through your fabric better.
- Thread your needle with the end of the thread that was loose on the spool. Then tie the knot with the cut end. This way your thread will unravel less (it’s the direction in which the thread is meant to be sewn).
- For reference: How to sew on a button (not just a skill for girls!)
- You might want to keep a small caddy with all your hand-sewing needs in it: needles, thread, small scissors, etc.
How are you today?Happy hand-sewing! Have you done much sewing by hand? If not, do you feel like you can get started your mending pile now? I hope so! I’ll try to tackle more mending techniques on the future here on Simple Homemade, since I know a lot of you are interested in that. Tomorrow I’ll start sharing a few inspiring sewing resources with you.