How to Sew By Hand

Date Published: December 22, 2020

When it comes to sewing, the best place to start is learning to sew by hand. Often the most important elements of sewing are more efficient when done by hand than by machine. This goes for hems, buttons and other quick fixes. 

Here are a few basics you need to know when sewing by hand. 

Threading a Needle

Arguably the most important step to learn in the sewing process is how to thread a needle. With the eye of the needle being so small, this can often be a tricky task for even the most experienced sewers. 

Here are a few tips to help you when threading a needle:

  • White background: Thread the needle in front of a white background to make it easier to see the eye finally to thread it through. 
  • Frayed ends: Prevent any frayed ends that might cause difficulty by cutting the thread with sharp scissors.
  • Stiff thread: Stiffen the thread by using water, wax or saliva. 
  • Second chance: If all else fails, use a needle threader.

The Right Needles

When you decide to start sewing by hand, you need to have the right equipment. First thing’s first, you must get the correct needles. 

Keep in mind that each needle has a specific purpose. Thinner needles are suited to thinner or more delicate fabrics whilst thicker or heavier needles are suited to thicker more durable fabric, like denim. 

Click here to learn more about choosing the right needle. 

The End Knot

Without a good knot at the end of your thread, all of your work is bound to come undone. The more you practise the perfect knot, the better you will get. This is a rather underestimated skill that can even help you out after some machine work. 

Follow these tips to get the perfect end knot:

  • Point out your finger and tie the end of the thread around it.
  • Hold the knot in place with your thumb.
  • Now, wrap the thread around your pointer finger where you tied the knot. 
  • With your thumb, push the thread loops towards the tip of your pointer finger. 
  • This is when the loops will begin to wrap around each other.
  • Now make sure to slide the loose knot to the end of the thread that you are using. Now tug on the thread to tighten the knot.

Back Stitches

Back stitches are the backbone of stitches. This strong and very reliable method of stitching is an important skill to have when it comes to sewing by hand. One of the most fundamental ways that a backstitch is used in zippers. 

Let’s get to it:

  • Pierce the needle through the area in the fabric where you want the seam to begin.
  • Make sure the needle goes through both layers of material, fairly close to the starting stitch. 
  • Push the needle through the fabric directly in the middle of the first starting stitch. 
  • Repeat step 2. 
  • Continue making a continuum of back stitches.


Most clothing items have buttons, that is why learning to sew one by hand is such an important skill as a sewist. The best way to get this right is through a visual tutorial that you can find here

Ultimately as a sewist, you want to learn all the skills possible to become unbeatable at your craft. The best way to do that is to take a course in sewing, clothing or design to brush up on all of your skills.

Why not click here to learn about all the courses that we at So So Into It Academy have to offer. 

Author: Andrea Frisby

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