Hand Sewing Tips

Much as some people like to sew everything on the sewing machine, there are times when sewing by hand may be a better option. A project with hand sewing is also portable—you can take it with you when you travel or to local events with “waiting time” like at a doctor’s office, sports game, etc.

A Sharp needle is the most common type used for hand sewing, as its round eye and medium length make it a good all-around choice. These needles are available in different sizes depending on the task and the type of thread you plan to use. The needle eye should be large enough to allow the thread to easily slide without abrasion.

If you have trouble threading a needle, invest in a needle threader to help with the task.

Thimble use is optional—some hand sewers swear by them to protect fingertips, others loathe them, so test stitch to see your comfort zone.

Most hand sewing is best done with a single thread strand, though a doubled length can be used for added durability, more prominence and on heavier fabrics.

The ideal thread length is about 18″-24″ to avoid tangling and knotting.

Thread the end that comes off the spool through the needle eye and tie an overhand knot at end.

To begin sewing, anchor the knot in the fabric, or bury the end between two layers for an invisible start. Or, take a few backstitches to secure the thread ends.

It’s important to keep hand stitches loose enough to avoid puckering, but tight enough to be secure. If you see pulling on the right side of the fabric, stop, remove the existing stitches and try again, a little looser.

At the end of any permanent hand stitching, take one small stitch and pull the needle and thread through the loop. Take another short backstitch and repeat. Clip the thread end close to the fabric.

Another option is to take a small stitch on the fabric wrong side and wrap the thread around the needle several times, then pull the needle through to secure the knot close to the fabric surface.

For basting or other temporary markings use a contrasting thread color and simply leave a long thread end for easy removal.

Coats Dual Duty XP All-purpose thread can be used for hand sewing. For light weight fabrics use Dual Duty XP Fine.