Many people dislike hand sewing intensely, but it is needed for many higher quality sewing processes.

On the other hand many people like the gentle slowness.

So choose which type of sewing you like to do – quick or slow, machine based or by hand. . .

I didn’t manage to find one good overall guide to basic hand sewing techniques – nearly every tutorial I’ve picked out as a good one comes from a different source.

I have several separate posts planned on individual hand stitches. This is about common methods for starting and finishing.

– – –

Starting hand stitching

1. Threading a needle and making a knot
Combined photo and video tutorial from Wiki

Only use a knot if you’re doing permanent stitching.
Don’t use a knot if you want the stitching to pull out easily later.

2. Double stitching
If you want security without the lumpiness of a knot, use double/ back stitching to start your thread. Just sew again over the stitch a couple of times – staying in the same place rather than moving on.

Put this stitching somewhere hidden, such as the double fold of a hem, if possible.

Finishing hand sewing firmly

1. Double/ back stitching
As for starting the stitching.

2. Securing/ lock/ knotted back stitch
Add a lock stitch to the backstitches.
Here is a good photo tutorial from Crochet’NCrafts.


3. Threading back under the previous stitches
Here’a a photo tutorial from the marvellous embroidery site, Needle ‘n Thread.

Done on the back of the work, so doesn’t show on the front, and much used by embroiderers.
Needs to be done quite thoroughly to be strong and not slip out.

4. With a knot
Several ways of doing this, here’s a photo tutorial from Instructables.

– – –

Links available March 2014

= = = = = = = = = =