10 Essential Tips for Stress Free Hand Sewing


1. It’s a Needle, Not a Harpoon

Use the smallest needle for the weight of your fabric. Smaller needles give you better control over your stitches. Heavier weight and tighter weave fabrics need a strong needle but still choose the smallest strong needle you have.

2. Darker Thread Blends in Better

When choosing which color thread to use remember that dark colors recede so the darker thread will blend in better than the lighter thread.

3. Long Thread Will Tangle

Cut your length of thread no longer than 30″. Long lengths of thread just tangle and knot. Avoid this frustration no matter how tempting.

4. First End Off = First End In

The end of the thread that comes off the spool first is the end that should go through the eye of the needle. The end of the thread that has just been cut from the spool should be knotted. One of my professors taught me this. The thread will knot and tangle less if you follow this simple rule. I don’t know why it’s true but it works.

5. Super Quick Knot

6. Fray Check Your Knot

Fray Check is made to stop fabrics from fraying but it also keeps knots tied. Wait, is my super quick knot lame? No, but when I’m sewing on a button, or zipper, or sewing a seam that tugging might happen, I use a belt and suspenders. Fray Check that knot.

7. Hide The Knot

Slip the needle into the inside of your seam allowance when you start to sew. This will hide your thread knot under the seam allowance. This protects the knot from any rubbing which may eventually undo the knot. It also protects your delicate skin from the knot (like the Princess and the Pea). Besides, it’s a knot, you don’t need to show it off or even see it.

8. Save Time By Making Multiple Stitches

9. Not Too Tight, Not Too Loose

Try to keep the tension on your stitches tight enough so the thread lays flat on the fabric and loose enough so the thread does not pull or pucker the fabric. Too loose and the excess thread could get caught on something and break and too tight the thread will leave puckers in the fabric and could break under tension.

10. A Quick Knot To Finish With

The Result

Take the time to make your stitches evenly spaced and consistent in size. Hand stitching may seem like a pain but another word for hand stitched details and finishes is couture techniques. It’s all how you look at it and if you’re sewing for yourself than you deserve couture details in your garments.


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