While there are many components of sewing, projects to take on and ways to do things, hand sewing need not be intimidating. Check out these simple tips and you’ll be ready to take on basic repairs in no time.
Threading a needle and knotting the thread
- Cut the end of the thread coming off the spool diagonally. Hold the thread still, and move the needle over the end. If the raw end frays, cut it again and dampen it.
- Cut the length of thread needed. To knot it, wrap the end of the thread around your index finger. Roll the twisted thread off your finger and onto your thumb.
- Next, use your third finger to hold the thread in place. With the opposite hand, pull the thread loop taut, tightening up the knot in the thread.
Making a stitch knot the right way
Once you know how to thread the needle and make a knot, you’re well on your way. When you’re done mending, you need to knot your work.
- Always place knots on the underside of the fabric.
- Take a small stitch, catching only a single thread of fabric.
- Pull the needle and thread through, leaving a small loop.
- Take another short stitch, but pass the needle and thread through the loop of the first stitch.
- Pull both stitches close to the fabric and cut the thread.
Tips for keeping thread unsnarled
- To help keep thread free and clear of snags, start with a length of thread that is less than .5 metres (two feet) long. While you may need to thread your needle more often, it is easier to sew using a shorter length and you will have fewer tangles.
- If static electricity causes your thread to snarl, spray thread very lightly with an anti-static spray, or run the thread lightly along a bar of soap.
- If the thread becomes tangled as you are working, drop the needle and let the thread untwist itself. Then pick up the needle again and continue stitching.
Know when to call in the pros
- If a garment is expensive, the fabric hard to work with or the repair complex, pay a professional to fix it. Ask your dry cleaner or friends to recommend a tailor or seamstress.
Keep these tips in mind the next time your garment needs a simple repair. Be smart about what you take on, and know when to pass it on to a pro — your clothes will thank you!