Sewing With Steel




About: A Northern Ireland based maker with a propensity to cause trouble and freshly constructed family.

Yeah, you heard me...

Well I have a strange compulsion to repair my clothing with metallic trinkets which usually means a few million safety pins that always fall off, well not any more, this instructable shall show ye, the uneducated masses how to use steel wire as thread, or any other reasonably sturdy wire for that matter...

Step 1: Tools and Materials...

You are going to need:

- Pliers
- Wire cutters or like me the monster pliers, using the usual cutter on small pliers is frustrating and slow
- Willpower

- Fabric in need of metal stitches
- Steel or any other wire you feel necessary

As additions, I would suggest, a big needle for thinner gauges, the stuff I'm using goes straight through the denim, also some good music depending on the method used, well the preferred end result, mine involves leaving a gap so it's a bit slower...

Step 2: Starting the Stitching...

Ok this is the part that needs some guesswork.

Figuring out how much wire you need.

If you want a gap, take the width of the gap involved, double it and add the length of the edges to be connected.

For no gap you'll need about one and a half times the length of the connecting edges.

For quick and easy measuring line the wire up beside the edge.

now fold it over again and cut at halfway.

For the other you'll need to fold say three times depending on the lengths involved, work it out the proper way for large things, you don't wanna start all over or have separate threading...

Step 3: Starting.

For this bit take the end of the thread that will end up at the top, put through your fabrics, double over and put through again, now take the pliers and twist this in so no sharp bits poke out, for applications with lots of movement make it a triple fold.


- Take the top end and put through with a bit of length.

- Double over and put through again

- Use pliers to twist in and make sure the sharp ends are well managed

The photos are in order all the way through, like below, to help show you how to do it visually...

Step 4: The Sewing Bit.

This is fairly tedious, you have to pull the wire through every stitch each time, but here's my method.

I'd say you could use most stitches if you wanted to.

- Put wire through and pull through, leaving desired gap if necessary.

- Turn wire back over and put through on the way back

Make the stitches move in shallow angled diagonal strips for good progress but keeping strength, remember the fabric will simply get ripped through if too much strain is placed on individual stitches, with is why they can 'unzip' if ripped apart.

Step 5: Variations

Instead of having that basic stitch I doubled it up, I did this quite simply.

You double the length of each stitch, or keep it the same and double the amount of wire.

Now stitch on down as normal, when you get to the end, turn back, put the new stitches through the middle of the original set, so they're half out of line with eachother...

Techies - If this was a waveform they'd be 180o out of sync with one another.

So again:

- Double either wire length or stitch length (techies - wavelength)

- Stitch down as normal until the bottom

- Turn around and stitch up the way putting each stitch halfway through the first set

Step 6: Finishing Up.

This step is basically the same as the first.

What you do is:

- Make the last stitch, double it up and create a knot or small wire ball, make sure the sharp ends are not exposed.

- Cut off any excess wire.

- For the second stitch method, do your double stitch but combine the end knot with the first one, again being careful to avoid exposed ends.

Step 7: Some Extra Tips and Roundup.

So a few little tips I've worked out while doing this.

Bear in mind this is the second time I've done such a thing...

- Cut the ends of the wire at a sharp angle with the cutters before stitching with them, that way they go through the fabric much more easily

- Flatten out any small kinks with pliers before continuing, this makes the process go far quicker

- use your fingers to mould the shape of the stitch if you're making spaces as you pull it through, this helps the space stay in place on the stitch before and makes the next one easier too

- If you're using steel like me make sure it's stainless or galvanised, rust makes permanent marks on clothes and if they get wet they're likely to end up having big orange bits on them...

Well the reason I did this is because I like having odd things on my clothes but also because:
- The wire could come in handy
- It's better than safety pins
- It looks pretty sweet
- I was pretty bored when I came up with this idea...



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    50 Discussions


    Eh to some extent, I was working and the gash from the plastic popped open and splatted a customer... They weren't amused...


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Would not aluminium or copper be easier? Still pretty cool, gives a good impression ehh? "I repair my clothes with steel, you" LOL

    16 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    once again, what the hell does it matter? it may be more efficient(which i dont think so) but your not the one who types it now are you? I think the Australian dictionary is more efficient than the American anyway


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I don't think ive ever hated anyone more on the internet before, claiming his country's dictionary is more efficient. bottom line is it does friggen matter how you spell a word on the internet, as long as you can read it and it isn't for anything important like a book or something then it doesn't matter how it is spelt. I hate you


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    tomato tomato(pronounced toe-mah-toe)
    aluminum aluminium(pronounced al-u-min-e-um)
    Who cares how it's spelled! As long as America calls it tin foil I don't care.