This instructable will cover the basics of hand sewing - tools needed, threading the needle, knotting the thread, running stitch, basting stitch, backstitch, slipstitch, blanket stitch, whip stitch and finishing with knots.

Please comment with what you'd like to learn! I know this is not everything that needs to be covered, so I'd like input from everyone to see what you all want me to cover. :D

If you enjoy this instructable, please consider

checking out my Hand Sewing Class!

Here are some other tutorials that should be useful to help you learn how to sew:

And some beginner projects for you:

Step 1: Basic Sewing Tools.

These things will make you a nice little sewing kit:

  • Needles - You'll want to look for "sharps" for basic sewing. "Betweens" are used for quilting. "Embroidery" or "crewel" needles have larger eyes (an eye is the hole at the top of the needle) and are used with thicker threads, like upholstery or embroidery floss.
  • Scissors - You'll want a good pair of shears (normally sold with names like "dressmaking shears") and a pair of pinking shears. Pinking shears have small triangular teeth that cut the fabric in a such a way that it lessens unraveling. Smaller embroidery scissors are also good for cutting threads.
  • Pincushion & Pins - You'll pin most everything you sew to keep the fabrics from slipping. A pincushion keeps them neat and tidy.
  • Measuring tape - For measuring. ;)
  • Air soluble/water soluble marking pens: perfect for embroidery and using patterns!
  • Seam Ripper - This will help you correct mistakes.
  • Beeswax - Sounds odd, I know. But essential for hand sewing. When you run your thread over the beewax, it gives the thread a nice coating that will keep it from tangling and make it stronger.
  • Thimbles - These can be wood, leather or metal. They'll keep your fingers from getting sore and/or pricked.
  • Thread or Floss - An all-purpose cotton thread is good for most things. However, there are many threads to choose from. You'll often pick thread based on your project - cotton fabric = cotton thread, silk = silk thread, etc. Floss is much thicker and normally comes in six-string strands. You'll use this for embroidery and finishing.
  • Fabric - Might I recommend going to your local sewing store and buying some remnants to start off with? Remnants are small bits of fabric from the end of a fabric roll. They're quite cheap, I love them!
  • Sewing Needle Booklet - You can either keep the packaging the needles come in or make your own! I made my own! You can get the pattern for it here: https://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-sew-a-needle-book/, or buy one in my etsy store!

You may also want to invest in an iron, self-healing cutting mat, rotary cutter, and rulers. But they're not entirely necessary!

And now that we have the basics, let's thread a needle!

<p>It's funny how many times I have hand sewn and hand repaired clothing and never looked up how to properly finish the stitching. Just tried each one of these while sewing patches onto a denim jacket. Thank you!</p>
<p>please tell me where I can find the Hot finger microwave mitts. I have tried everything and see it nowhere</p><p>Thanks</p><p>Nancy Casso </p>
Yes! I stitched a tear on one of my favorite sweaters! Not bad for my first time sewing. Thanks a lot for this tutorial :D
<p>okay I'll try it.. Hopefully it works</p>
Very helpful thank you
It made no sese thanks for thelp not
The help
<p>you made no sense yourself</p>
<p>What didn't make sense?</p>
<p>Thank you for the comprehensive guide. I fixed the sleeve on my jacket!</p>
OK, no joke, incredible job! I was taught the EXTREME essentials in basic training in Coast Guard and pretty much fell to the wayside after 18 months of training in various things... Thank you so much for making it almost toddler simple to understand. You're absolutely right that pictures explain so much more clear than one could explain in words and your pictures are spot on! Great work and again, thanks so much for the time put in to it!
<p>great. though</p>
<p>Nice one!!!</p>
Any tips on sewing lycra/spandex?
<p>Great one, thanks ! </p>
<p>I made it! (^_^) I made a pencilcase and a card holder which is kinda floppy because its made of fabric so... ya.</p>
<p>Thanks from a guy that took home-economics in the 70's. My brownies were not the best, but I learned to thread a sewing machine. Somehow the basics were skipped or rushed. @SolarSoda...Using the fingertip to cinch the knot is a practiced art. Intuitive and yet not! I learned from this tutorial to press lightly on the loop junction and pull steadily. And yes, double all the way! Single thread is for fine repair.</p>
Thanks for sharing the info; Jesus Christ Bless you! :)
<p>Hello! I would like to start sowing Sweaters and Shirts and such...can anyone help me! Thanks With Love in Christ, KD</p>
<p>Check out this tutorial for sewing with knits, it really helped me!</p><p>http://prudentbaby.com/2011/09/by-craft/how-to-sew-knit-fabrics-sewing-with-jersey-101-2/</p>
How did u make that sort of book thing but for sewing
<p>I have instructions for that here!</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-sew-a-needle-book/">https://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-sew-a-needl...</a></p>
<p>Funny thing. The slip stitch was confusing me, but then I realized that my mom taught me the blanket stitch for hiding seams. Just do them on the wrong side, stitch, and turn inside out! It's how I made pillows and basic clothes for my stuffed animals(and a stuffed mole for International Mole Day for extra credit in Chemistry). I love the backstitch though, so thank you! I am feeling the urge to patch my jeans...</p>
I've been sewing for a long time and never thought to use beeswax.thanks for the tip;)
What drives me crazy is that I CANNOT get the knot up close to the fabric. No matter what I do. Any tips? And yes I've tried holding down the knot with my thumb/finger. It gets to a certain point and then it takes off in the opposite direction, slipping out from under my thumb/finger. It makes me want to do bad things with my needle. &gt;:-(
<p>Use your needle as the guide by placing it in the loop then pulling the thread tight. Your knot will be placed flush with the fabric every time.</p>
I have wanted to learn how to sew for so very long, just to be self dependent (as opposed to mom or seamstress/ dressmaker dependent). Thank you! I don't know when I will start with this Instructible, but at least I know where to look now.
im confused... Do you knot the end after you've sewed what you need to sew? I'm trying to make a dinosaur hoodie...
Yep, whenever your seam or whatever else is done, you knot it. :D
I stabbed myself with a needle, so i gave up on the dino hoodie thing... but thanks for the help!
so im just 11 years old and want to learn how to sew really bad so im could MAKE MY OWN JACKET And impress my friends and is it more easy to use a sewing machine or by hand <br>
This is awesome.You've saved me hours of trying to get the stupid sewin-machine to work!Thanks alot!
Nice instructable. About 10 years ago I had sewing lessons at school and made some pillows, backpacks and I even recall a stuffed animal. I always did a lot of extra &quot;safety knots&quot; This brings back some memories.
thanks!!! this helped me a lot im making arm warmers out of some old jeans now!!! (yes im a boy, but im a scene kid and places never have what we are lookin for so we gotta make our own stuff sometimes :D)
Here's a hint from my gran (always good, those)&nbsp;for threading needles:&nbsp;If you can't get the end through the needle's eye (maybe it isn't cut sharp enough or has frayed from all the luckless tries before), make a very short loop with the end of the thread you want to put through the eye. Then insert the needle's eye-end into this loop and pull it towards the closed end of the loop, holding the thread ends firmly with your other hand. Pinch the closed loop-end (maybe even with wet fingers) around the needle's eye end. Most of the times, that end is a little flattened from stamping the eye in during the needle-making process. So, pinching the loop here sort of &quot;irons&quot; the thread into a somewhat flattened, but rather precise point, or V-shape. Now just use the tip of that V to thread the needle. I use this &quot;technique&quot; almost everytime I thread a needle. I hope I have described it understandably and usefully...<br />
&nbsp;That is such a good idea! I think I'll try that next time I'm sewing really late at night and getting frustrated. :D<br /> <br /> Do you mind if I copy and paste/give you credit in the main ible?<br />
Sorry I'm so late with my answer - I don't mind at all, go ahead by all means - Granny's tricks should be preserved!! :-)<br />
&nbsp;<em>Have you considered adding videos to your instructable? It would be really helpful. Nice instructable by the way :)</em>
&nbsp;After you posted this, I've been thinking about it!<br /> <br /> I'm going to try to add some once I graduate this month and move. :P<br />
&nbsp;Thank you so much!! I was really inspired to start doing all these projects, but I needed to know how to sew. This REALLY helped! :)&nbsp;<br />
&nbsp;Yay! I'm happy it did! :D
&nbsp;How does it feel to have the most popular page on the internet (according to google) for &quot;how to sew&quot;?
&nbsp;Preeeeeetty nice.&nbsp;<br /> Though I'm realizing I need to update this and make it much more awesome once this month is over. :)
I need to learn how to use a hand stitching Awl - for sewing leather.
I'm sending ALittleStranger a link to that needle holder, if that's ok.<br />
Anyone else having trouble downloading the pdf file?<br />
I found this very helpful for me to start learning to sew. (I'm a guy, just so ya know, though it really doesn't matter)
It matters to me. I'm a guy. Now I don't feel nearly as weird here as I did.<br />

About This Instructable




Bio: part of the Instructables Design Studio by day, stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @makingjiggy to see what i'm working on! ^_^
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