Step 1: General Sewing Terms.
Wrong side - This is the back of the cloth, the un-patterned side, the side you don't want people to be able to see. Usually the wrong side of the fabric ends up on the inside of your sewing.
Seam - The line where the stitches hold two bits of cloth together.
Step 2: Thread.
1. Hold the reel of thread in one hand and the loose end in the other.
2. Put the hand with the reel under your chin.
3. Stretch your other arm out away from you as far as it'll go letting the thread unravel as you go.
4. Chop the thread next to the reel with sharp scissors so you get a nice blunt end for threading your needle.
Single thread. (First Picture)
This is good to use if you are worried you might go wrong. It's really easy to take off the needle and unpick a few stitches, then just re-thread the needle and carry on. You need to watch out that you don't pull your thread out of the needle by accident while sewing though, or get the free end tangled up in the stitches. The arrow shows you where to tie the knot.
Double thread. (Second Picture)
I like to use double thread as it's a bit stronger, good for stuffed items. I love making stuffed items! The thread can't slide out of the needle while you are sewing, so you can maybe go a bit faster.
Step 3: Tying a good knot.a.
Some people don't tie a knot at all, they just do a few teeny stitches on top of each other to hold the thread at the beginning of their sewing.
I like a knot though as it feels safer, especially if I'm going to stuff the thing and then play with it!
Key to diagrams:
1 = Index finger
2 = Middle finger
T = Thumb.
a. Wrap the thread a few times around your middle finger, keep hold of the other end in your other hand.
b. Rub your middle finger and your thumb together to tangle up the threads you wrapped around.
c. Work the tangle towards the end of your middle finger, bring in your index finger and run it down the thread towards the tangle ready to catch the tangle between your index finger and thumb.
d. Pull the thread gently with your other hand and slide the tangle off your middle finger. Use your index finger to pull the tangle to the end of the thread, hopefully making a knot!
When you are a beginner, this doesn't always work every time and it does take practice. It's worth it though as when you get good at it, you can tie big knots really fast. :D
Step 4: Stitches.
Over stitch. (First Picture)
I use this stitch a lot. It's an easy one and it's quite strong too, great for sewing two halves of something together.
1. Start with your knot on the inside, by putting your needle between the two layers of cloth and going out through the bottom layer.
2. Go round over the edge of the two pieces of cloth and in through the top, through both layers so your needle comes out through the bottom again.
3. Saying this in your head will help you: In the top, out the bottom, in the top, out the bottom.
The arrow shows where the knot is.
Running Stitch. (Second Picture)
This is a good one for quickly sewing a seam or for decorating with. You also can use it to gather up the cloth to get a ruffle effect.
1. Go through the cloth with your needle from the wrong side, so that your knot ends up on the back.
2. Go down again through the right side of the cloth, about 5mm away from where you came up.
3. Come up again about 5mm away from your first stitch.
4. Repeat steps 2. and 3. over and over 'til you get to the end.
You can do running stitch like in the picture by going in and out of the cloth then pulling the thread flat to make the stitch. If you are gathering the cloth you can go in and out a few times then pull the needle through.
Back stitch. (Third Picture)
This is a good strong stitch to use when the seam you are sewing is going to get stretched or stressed. You might use it when making clothes or a purse, something that's going to be used a lot. It won't pucker or gather like running stitch will. It looks messy on the back but should look like a solid line on the front.
Sewing from right to left:
1. Go up with your needle through from the wrong side of the cloth so that your knot is hidden underneath.
2. Go back down through to the wrong side of the cloth behind where you came out, away from the direction you want to sew in. This might sound strange but going back on yourself is what makes this such a strong stitch.
3. Come up again with your needle a little in front of your knot.
4. Go back on your self again and go in right next to the knot. That's one stitch.
5. To start your next stitch come up again to the left a little way in front of your last stitch, then go back down to the right, snug up to the last stitch.
Step 5: Finishing Knot.
1. Do your last stitch but don't pull it tight down flat on the fabric, leave it a bit loopy.
2. Go through the loop with the needle, then pull the stitch flat. This will make a knot. It's best to do a double knot though.
3. Go under the last stitch where the knot is with your needle, don't pull the thread all the way through though, leave a loose loop of thread.
4. Put your needle through this loop and pull flat to make a double knot.
And that's it! You should be able to get started on some projects now. Check out my other 'Instructables' for ideas!