How to Sew by Hand

How to Sew by Hand

It's not always practical to take out the sewing machine, especially when you don't have a dedicated sewing corner ... Not to mention that we don't all have a machine! Another solution ? For that, we present to you the main points of hand sewing. You will see nothing difficult and above all very useful. don't lose track ... of this creative hobby!

Tips Before Starting to Sew

We will already reassure you: there are two basic points. By mastering the front stitch and the backstitch, you can make a garment, get started with many sewing tutorials ... This is the basis of hand sewing! Well, that does not stop us to introduce you to some other more fun to have a choice!

How to Sew by Hand


  • You choose your needle according to the fabric: a fine needle for fine fabric, a larger needle for thick fabric. For its length, it will depend on the point: a short needle for a short point (between 2 and 5mm). A long needle ... for a long stitch (between 5 and 15mm)!

  • You choose the color of your thread according to what you are about to do: tone on tone with the fabric to mend a hole, eye-catching to make "decorative" seams ...

  • We pass the thread through the eye of the needle (but you can imagine it!) And, in general, we tie one or more knots at the other end: enough to "wedge" the thread in the fabric and allow you to start sewing.

  • Finally ? The easiest way is to make an “8” knot: at the last stitch, pass the thread through the loop and pull. We start again 2 or 3 times so that it holds well.

  • Of course, when you stitch the first time, it's on the reverse side of the fabric to hide the knot!

We assemble with the point before

This stitch allows you to permanently join pieces of fabric. It is also the one that allows them to be gathered!

  • We prick our fabrics to assemble.

  • We transplant a few millimeters (between 3 and 5mm: the stitches must remain short).

  • We start again by keeping this length between two points (if its point is 4mm, we transplant at 4mm to redo a 4mm point).

  • In the end, we get a regular line of dots spaced apart from each other.

We assemble more firmly with the backstitch

It has one "point" in common with the front point: it is used to permanently assemble pieces of fabric. But, it is more solid! As the name suggests, we go backward... but not only! Small dance step with his needle:

We prick his fabrics.

We transplant a few millimeters behind the place where we pricked the first time.

We bring it out a few millimeters in front of where we stung the first time. Do you follow ? It is very simple !

We pull our thread.

We start again: we prick back, a few millimeters from where the needle has just come out and we bring it out forward.

And so on!

When finished, you get a line of dots that sometimes look like small balls (depending on how long you give them), evenly spaced. On the other hand, it's not very pretty but it holds up well!

We control the point of injection

A variation of the backstitch. Some find it more finished. Not completely wrong because it looks like the classic seams made with a sewing machine. Typical of a jeans seam!

We prick his fabrics.

We transplant back, a few millimeters (between 3 and 5mm, we still stay in short stitches).

Transplant but forward, 3 to 5 mm from the very first point.

We transplant back, but exactly where we put our needle the very first time. This is where it changes from the back point: we don't leave any space.

Transplant forward, 3 to 5 mm from the penultimate stitch.

We transplant back, where the penultimate stitch is.

So we start again. It is a back and forth movement that allows you to have a seam with stitches "glued" to each other.

Again, keep stitches of the same length and sew straight!

We build with the built point

Want to make your clothes? The basting stitch will be used to quickly assemble pieces of fabric, but temporarily before starting a final seam. Not bad to see what it looks like between 2 stages!

We prick his fabrics.

The needle is transplanted about 2 cm away: here, the stitches are wide.

We start again, keeping the same spaces between the points.

We think of the finishes with the overcast stitch

No need for an overlock machine! This oblique stitch, used on the edge of the fabric, will prevent it from fraying. Top !

We prick our needle about 3 mm from the edge.

We pass our thread on this edge to be able to stitch from below.

This is done so that the wire is oblique to the edge.

We start over as many times as necessary.

We dare a variant with the festoon stitch

This is a stitch that can be found in embroidery. In sewing, the blanket stitch will allow pieces of fabric to be assembled thanks to a visible seam on the edges. But it's prettier than the overcast stitch and also prevents textiles from fraying. Perfect for tutorials such as creating washable makeup remover wipes.

The 2 pieces of fabric are placed edge to edge.

We stitch under the first fabric only (the one facing us!). As here, the fabrics are not upside down when you put them together, it hides the knot. Smart!

We pass our thread on the edge of the fabrics to be able to stitch from below

This time we prick through the 2 pieces of fabric and come out where we pricked the first time.

By pulling the thread, we pass our needle through the loop to make the point.

We transplant the 2 tissues from below, a few millimeters away. When the needle comes out, we pass it through the loop before fully pulling the thread.

We repeat as many times as necessary, always taking care that the thread is oblique at the edge.

We make the hem with the slipper stitch

Ideal for making hems on thick fabrics! Start by ironing your fabric to mark the fold of the hem, it will be easier. Then, we will cross the points:

  • Step 1: Stitch your fabric in the “hem” part.

  • Step 2: Stitch diagonally, in the "plain fabric" part, to secure the hem to the garment.

  • Step 3: Bring out your needle on the same side, 2mm to the left.

  • Step 4: Transplant in the "hem" part to make a diagonal in the other direction: it looks like the design of a tent!

  • Step 5: Repeat from step 3 to the end of your hem.

We repair or close a seam with the slipped stitch

The magic point because invisible! By the way, that's its other name: the invisible point. It can also be called the sunken point. We like it when the seam of a garment has broken and is starting to come undone, or for tutorials when you have to close an opening (a hot water bottle of rice for example!).

If you haven't already done so, we start by folding the fabric on each side of the opening, as if to make small interior hems.

After a 1st stitch at the corner of the opening to start, we stick our needle in the fold of one of the fabrics and we bring it out a few millimeters, always in the same fold.

We start again but stitching in the fold of the other fabric.

So on until the end: we get hidden stitches in the folds that alternate on both sides of the opening to close it!

We mend a hole or a tear

The final point is the crucial point when it comes to damaging a favorite item of clothing!

As a reminder, we take a thread the color of the fabric. We also avoid doubling it: the repair will be more discreet! We put our garment inside out ... Then we take inspiration from the slipped stitch, starting at the bottom of the hole:

Prick the edge of a torn end and pass the needle back through the opposite side.

We start again by making stitches quite close and parallel, but no need to pull too much on the thread: it could create a scar in the fabric. It must be as natural as possible in textiles!

Oulala, all those DIYs that you didn't dare to do ... Now you can try them! Any other hand stitching to share? We take stock ... in the comments?


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