Hand Sewing

Hand sewing dates back to the prehistoric era when our ancestors used needles with eyes made from animal bones, ivory and antler or from wood and natural needles from the agave plant. We have come a long way since then.

Basic sewing skills can be liberating to know. You’ll never need to rely on a friend to sew on a button or stitch up a tear. Hand sewing has been around for centuries but in today’s society few have the skills. Do you know how to hand sew?

Here’s what you’ll need.

– A needle
– Some thread
– Thimble
– The material you wish to work on

Needles come in difference lengths and eyes sizes (the hole at the top)
chose the right needle for your project.

Thread the needle and knot the two ends together.

Begin by securing the starting point of the fabric by stitching the material together by going through it several times with the needle and thread.

Chose one of these sewing techniques and begin to stitch!

1. The Basting Stitch

The basting stitch is a basic stitching technique used to temporarily hold together pieces of fabric that may shift while using a sewing machine. it is applied by simply running the needle in and out of the fabric at regular intervals.

2. The Running Stitch

The running stitch is much like the basting stitch but with short evenly spaced stitches (1/16-inch to 1/8-inch- smaller stitch for lighter-weight fabric). The running stitch is great for basting, easing and gathering and it is a simple, quick way to mend a seam that has come apart.

3. The Backstitch

The backstitch is great for reinforcing a seam you need to be strong. It can be used on heavy or dense fabrics. It is best to begin the backstitch at the right end of your piece.

Bring needle up through the fabric at point 1.
Insert needle and go down through the fabric at point 2.
Bring the needle up through the fabric at point 3.
Insert your needle and go down through the fabric at point 4.

Overcast Stitch

The overcast stitch is used to finish cut edges on fabrics that tend to ravel, such as linens and gabardines. Your sewing machine may have an overcasting stitch that will save you from hand sewing.

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To overcast by hand, start on one side of the edge you want to finish.
Make a series of equal-spaced and diagonal stitches that loop around the edge of the fabric.

Slip Stitch

This is the hand stitch I find most useful. A slip stitch is used to create an invisible seam between two folded edges, or a folded edge and a flat edge. You can use slip stitching for bindings, to close a lining, for the final stitches on a stuffed pillow, or to apply applique invisibly.

Iron the folds flat.
Slip your threaded needle inside the fold to hide the knot.
Bring the needle out through the folded edge.
Pick up a few threads of fabric and then work through the fold again.
Slide the needle along, come out of the fold to make the next stitch.

The blanket stitch

Securing Stitch

Regardless of the type of stitch you use, you will need to finish with a securing stitch to prevent your work from coming undone.

Take one small backstitch and make a loop over the point of the needle.
Pull the thread through the loop to create a knot at the base of the fabric.
For a stronger secure stitch, repeat the process to create two knots.