How to sew by hand – How to Hand Sew: 6 Basic Stitch Photo Tutorials

How to Sew By Hand

     Sewing by hand is a skill that most, if not all, people should probably attempt to master at some point. I know it might sound a bit opinionated to say so, but the reason I believe it so strongly is that at some point in your life, you’re going to discover that a button has popped off, or a seam has ripped on a shirt or pair of pants that you just do not want to part with, or some other comparitive situation that makes you wish you could just fix it quickly. You can fix these items with a simple repair kit!

     Also, if you’re learning to sew, this is a great place to start. Learning the straight stitch and the whip stitch opens up so many possibilities for future projects and repairs. So without further ado, let us proceed:

Knot your thread to the fabric

     To sew anything by hand, you will normally begin by knotting  the thread to your fabric. 

  • You can do this by making a slip knot, running the thread through a small section of the fabric, and then slip the needle through the slip knot hole, pull everything tight. Your thread should now be fastened.
  • Another way to knot your fabric is to slip the needle into the fabric to create a loop, and then slip the needle through the loop. Pull the loop tight, and repeat to make a second knot.
  • You can also tie off using the video instructions at the bottom of this page.

Sewing The Straight Stitch By Hand

     The straight stitch is pretty well described by its name. It’s well used for very simple hems, sewing two pieces of fabric together, and gathering fabric.  The modern sewing machine basically has mechanized the straight stitch, but sometimes there is just no replacing a straight stitch that has been done by hand. Prep your fabric, if needed, by ironing it flat or pinning it to hold it together. You will need to determine if these steps are appropriate before you begin to stitch. Knot your thread to the fabric, and then simply weave the needle in and out of the fabric in a straight line. The length of your stitches can be very short or very long, depending on what you are working on, again you will need to decide what is appropriate.. If you are gathering your fabric together, you might want to run a second straight stitch next to the first for stability.

Below is a quick video demonstrating the straight stitch:

Sewing A Whip Stitch By Hand

     Now, the whip stitch is one of my favorite stitches to do. It is also pretty quick, like the straight stitch, but it is invisible when you do it from the wrong side of the fabric. You can also whip stitch on the right side, for decorative purposes. Most often the whip stitch is used to close a hem. So, before you begin you will want to have your fabric pinned the way you want it to be sewn; that is, if you’re hemming a pair of pants for example, have the fabric already folded, ironed and pinned in the configuration you want it sewn in.

Here is a video example of the whip stitch:

How to Tie Off

     You can tie off your sewing thread by creating a loop. Pull your thread through the loop, and grasp the thread just behind the needle after it’s through the loop, and pull to tighten the loop. This leaves a second loop with which to thread through again. Pull your thread through that second loop and tighten the knot. Cut the thread.

How to Sew Leather by Hand

Leather is one of the most luxurious materials that can be used for clothing and other products, such as wallets and handbags. One problem with leather items is that they can be very expensive. That is why every day more and more people are choosing to sew their own leather clothes and accessories. So, in this oneHOWTO article we want to show you how to sew leather by hand.


The first step to sew leather by hand is to gather all the correct sewing materials. Generally, any sewing machine can be used to sew leather, though you can also do it by hand. However, you must ensure that you have a leather needle. Leather needles not only have larger eyes that allow you to use polyester thread but are also firmer and thicker overall.

This is important because leather can be very tough and usually breaks regular needles used for fragile fabrics, such as cotton. Remember to always use polyester thread, as cotton thread is simply too weak to support leather’s weight and is usually too small compared to leather. You also need a leather cutting tool and a sewing foot designed for leather if you are using a sewing machine.

Leather type

Next select the type of leather that you are going to use for your project. There are several types, such as snakeskin, lambskin, cowhide and pigskin. Each type of leather has its strengths and weaknesses. Snakeskin, for example, is very easy to damage and is very expensive. However, it is the most beautiful and has a unique pattern that always stands out. Lambskin is also fragile, but it is very light. Pig leather is very hard, but it has large pores. Cowhide is the most common leather to work with. It is the strongest and has very small pores, almost unnoticeable. This makes it perfect for clothes, such as coats and belts.


Before starting to sew the leather by hand be sure to mark the pattern or design that you will use. Marking is very important and should be done with great precision and care, as once the points and needle pass through the skin they will leave a permanent mark. If possible, use small pieces of leather to see how they feel when sewing by hand.


Once you have marked your leather pieces, it’s time to start with the sewing by hand. In the case of textiles, the stitching is the fixing method for the thread. By contrast, when it comes to leather you must knot the thread so that no other holes will be added to the leather which can weaken it and make it look messy.

After you’ve finished sewing the leather add some coatings to the leather clothes, so that they are more comfortable to wear. With these steps you’ll easily be able to create your own inexpensive, leather clothes. With a little practice, you will come to sew leather as naturally as if you were dealing with other clothing textiles. We also recommend consulting how to clean a leather jacket.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Sew Leather by Hand, we recommend you visit our Hobbies & Science category.

How to Sew a Ladder Stitch (The best way to sew openings shut by hand)

A ladder stitch is the very best way to sew openings closed by hand! Learn how to hand sew a ladder stitch with this step-by-step photo guide.

If you ever have wanted to make a pillow but have been intimidated by the hand stitching involved, today’s tutorial for how sew a ladder stitch (sometimes called an invisible stitch or a blind stitch) will be invaluable to you! This hand-sewing technique really is very simple to execute, and with a bit of practice, it results in a nice, tidy seam every time. Let me show you how it’s done!



Ladder Stitch Instructions

To begin, thread your needle, and tie the two thread tail ends together in a knot. Stitching with two strands of thread will provide added strength to your finished seam.

Next, grab any project with an opening that needs to be stitched closed, such as my pillow below. It is very important at this point to make sure the seam allowance at the opening is folded over and pressed very crisply. You will use the creases of these folds to guide you as you sew.

Now, let’s stitch! Push your threaded needle up and through one of the folded seams, from back to front, and pull the thread tail completely through. The knotted end of your thread will now be nicely concealed within the seam on the inside of the project.

Now, directly across from the point at which your thread emerges at your starting point, push the needle down and then back up through the opposite seam crease to create a stitch that is between 1/8-1/4″ long.

When you pull the thread through, you will notice that the stitch you just made is concealed within the seam crease, and there will be a horizontal stitch connecting the left and right sides of your opening.

The rest of the process is essentially a repeat of the previous step. Directly across from the point at which the thread emerges from the seam crease, make another 1/8-1/4″ stitch through the opposite seam crease: down, through, and up.

Note how I pinch both sides together as I work to pull things nice and taught. This helps ensure your stitching is even.

You will continue this process until you reach the end of your opening, creating a “ladder” of connecting stitches as you work.

When you reach the end of the opening, pull the thread to tighten the stitches, so that each of the connecting “ladder” stitches is magically concealed between the two sides of the seam. So nice and tidy!

To finish, use your needle to pick up a tiny section of the seam opposite where the thread emerges…

…and then pass the needle and thread through this loop and tighten and form a knot. You can repeat this step if you wish to further reinforce the stitching.

Now, snip your threads, and you are finished. Congratulations on creating a nice, tidy seam to close your project!

With a bit of practice, you will soon have the ladder stitch mastered. Then, you will no longer have to be intimidated by any project that requires stitching an opening closed by hand! (Yay!)

Use this ladder stitch technique in these fun projects!

Bunny Softies

 Heart Pocket Pillows

…and my Plush Patchwork Pumpkins.

Having grown up in a home brimming with sewing notions and paintbrushes, Amy has a deep love for all things creative. On any given day, you’ll find her knee-deep in her latest creative endeavor, with projects ranging from sewing and crafts to home decor and kid-friendly ideas. Amy believes that everyone, regardless of skill level or experience, possesses the ability to create something beautiful, and Positively Splendid was born of her passion for helping others harness their innate creative potential.


How to End a Stitch When Sewing By Hand

You can sew a perfect running stitch or do a blanket stitch that would make your grandmother proud and even look better than if it were sewn on the best sewing machine. But equally important is your ability to finish off that hand-sewn masterpiece to make it last.

The method for finishing off hand stitching varies from person to person, but basically, you are tying off the thread in your project. Here are several different methods for finishing a hand-sewn project.

I found this finishing edge course on Craftsy to be very helpful, check it out:

Method #1

  1. Leave approximately 4 to 6 inches of thread on your project. If the thread is too short, you will not be able to tie a knot.
  2. Lay the project on a flat surface to avoid accidentally sewing through another layer of fabric, such as your clothing.
  3. Pass the needle through to the back or wrong side of the fabric. This way it won’t show from the front.
  4. Turn the fabric over so the back side is facing you. Using your needle, gently pick up the nearest stitch and pass it through until a loop is formed.
  5. Holding the loop in one hand and the needle in the other, pass the needle through the loop and slowly pull it through until it tightens. Hold the loop straight while pulling slowly to avoid twisting. This will help keep the thread from tangling.
  6. Repeat this step several times to ensure that it is secure.
  7. Trim the thread leaving a half-inch tail. If you cut the thread too close to the knot, it will likely come undone.

Alternatively, after pulling the loop tight, you can pass the needle through the knot itself to secure it.

Method #2

Method #3

(Especially good for the blanket stitch)

Note: If your needle is double-threaded, make sure your needle clears both threads in the loop before tightening into a knot. Accidentally catching only one thread is easier to do than you might think, resulting in a knotted nightmare!

Finishing off your hand sewing can make the difference between a project that falls apart or one that endures. There’s more than one way to do so. It’s all a matter of preference. Just pick whatever method works for you and have fun sewing!

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