Learn Hand Sewing – There is Always a First Step!

Learn Hand Sewing - While most of the sewing you might do will be done on a machine, there are times when only a hand stitch will give you the results you need. Hand stitching will likely be needed at nearly every step of your sewing projects. You might use it for finishing hems, transferring markings or to attach buttons.

(Good Instructional Videos Below!)

You will always want to have on hand a good selection of needles as different fabrics will need smaller or thicker needles. Usually when you buy needles, you get several sizes in a package. Before you know it, you will have a great selection on hand.

Here are some hand sewing tips:

To help you thread the needle cut the thread diagonally by holding your scissors at a slant. Hold the needle against a white background so you can clearly see the eye of the needle. A simple needle threader makes this task so easy, you may want to pick one up when you buy your needles.

To keep your thread relatively free of tangles, cut your thread no longer than about 18 inches. Any longer and it will likely twist around itself and make nasty knots.

Pin cushions and thimbles are also handy accessories that make hand sewing that much more fun.

Sewing Definitions

When you are getting started hand sewing it seems like the world of sewing is speaking a different language making things a bit confusing. Here are some of the definitions that hopefully will help clear out some of the confusion.

Alteration – This refers to any change in a pattern or garment under construction or in some cases, a change to a finished garment.

Appliqué – This term usually describes the addition of artful piece of fabric to dress up a garment.

Armscye – This is the armhole in the body of the garment.

Backstitching – Going forward and backward over the same stitches to lock the end of a line of sewing.

Baste – In sewing, this refers to the temporary joining of fabrics likely to allow you to test fit or hold in place for final stitching.

Clean Finish – This is the act of turning under an eighth to quarter inch of rough fabric edge and stitching it down so that no ragged edges are seen.

Couture – This is the designing and production of high quality, fashionable, custom made clothing. Couture sewing techniques usually refers to the style used for final fitting of a garment.

Ease – Drawing the fibers in a fabric closer together is called easing. Usually this is done by machine basting and is helpful when making curved shapes like around a sleeve.

Facing – This is the surface of the garment that turns to the inside giving a finished appearance to what might otherwise be the ragged edge of the cut cloth.

Fuse – this refers to using a fusible material which glues two layers together by melting the fuse. Sometimes used to hold fabrics in place while final stitching is done.

Hem – A hem is a turned under edge made by folding the edge of the sewn fabric to the inside of the garment and then stitching.

Interfacing – This is usually done to the inside of the fabric to give the garment more weight or body thus improving fit and shape.

Nap – A fabric that has a nap will look different shades of color from different angles. When cutting fabric to a pattern, it is important to get the nap to lay in the same direction for each of the various pieces.

Press – This is not ironing. In this case the iron is lifted and gently set down in the next area, being careful not to cause distortion to the fabric.

Remnant – this is the leftover fabric when the last piece of fabric from a bolt of cloth is cut for a customer. These bits and pieces are usually reduced in price and used for odd projects.

Satin Stitch – This is a zigzag stitch with a very short stitch length putting the stitches right next to each other. This gives it the appearance of a continuous line of stitching.

Seam Allowance – This is the area between the stitching and the raw edge of the cut fabric.

Stay Stitching – This is a single line of stitching that is put onto one layer of fabric to stabilize the fabric. This prevents distortion while working with it.

Tack – Tack is the addition of a few stitches in one spot to hold the fabric together.

Under Stitch – This helps hold a facing or lining to stay to the inside and unseen part of the garment.

Final Thoughts

Learn Hand Sewing so that you can create that perfect wardrobe with your own personal touch. These days it seems as though everyone thinks they know more what you should wear than you do. It can be frustrating at times as you work to find that perfect outfit that makes your own personality show through. Making your own clothes frees you of these problems.

Hand Sewing is a craft that is largely learned by hands-on experience. There are lessons available that will help you get some of the terminology and basic techniques figured out. After that your skill will develop with experience. So, don’t hesitate to jump in and get started.

Additional Resources

Sewing Machines - Reviews and ratings of many of the popular brands of sewing machines.

Create a Sewing Business - A site encouraging you to start sewing business; we guide you through the process. The need for professional seamstresses is growing, if you can put two pieces of fabric together, you can build a Sewing Empire.

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