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Learn to Sew by Hand Step-by-Step: Basic Stitches and Techniques for Beginners (2024)

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how to sew step by stepNeedle and thread at the ready – it’s time to learn sewing basics! Dig those dusty sewing supplies out of the closet because you’re about to stitch up some new skills.

We’ll start with hand sewing techniques like running and backstitching before moving on to hemming. Whip, blind hem, and blanket stitches await! With practice, you’ll be hand sewing hems like a pro in no time.

Sewing takes patience, but you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction as your skills progress with each poke and pull of the needle.

Follow this sewing guide to get the hang of basic stitches and techniques step-by-step.

So grab your sewing supplies and let’s get stitching.

Key Takeaways

  • Gather quality needles, thread, scissors, and pins
  • Knot threads securely; maintain even tension for seams that hold
  • Beginners start with simple projects to develop technique
  • Perseverance and patience lead to hand sewing mastery

Gathering Supplies for Sewing by Hand

Gathering Supplies for Sewing by Hand
You’ll need quality needles, threads, scissors, and pins to get started on your hand sewing journey. Select sharp, smooth needles in sizes suited to your fabric’s weight. Match thread colors and types to your materials – cotton for wovens, thicker threads for stretchy knits.

Invest in quality scissors with sharp, precise blades that glide through fabric cleanly. Stock up on pins with durable steel shafts and colorful heads for easy spotting. A seam ripper and beeswax help correct mistakes and condition threads. Prep your fabric by washing, drying, and ironing on the right heat for the fiber.

With quality tools on hand, you’ll stitch confidently, neatly, and efficiently. Practice knotting threads securely and maintaining even tension to sew seams that hold. Let your needle glide smoothly, moving fabric when needed for straight lines. Take your time, check fit often, and enjoy the satisfaction of handcrafting your creations stitch by stitch.

Sewing a Seam by Hand

Sewing a Seam by Hand
Getting started with hand sewing? You’ll want to become familiar with two essential stitches: the running stitch and the backstitch. The running stitch is a simple in-and-out stitch used for quickly gathering fabric or making temporary seams.

For a neater and stronger seam, the backstitch sews backward on itself, creating a continuous line of stitching that won’t easily pull apart.

Running Stitch

Run a quick running stitch by poking the needle in and out of the fabric, keeping small, even spaces between entry and exit points. As you sew, gently pull the thread taut to set the tension. Make the stitches a uniform length based on your project.

Keep the needle sharp for smooth fabric piercing. Knot the thread securely at both ends to prevent unraveling. Choose fabrics like cotton and linen to start practicing this versatile hand stitch.


Use a backstitch for small, neat, sturdy seams. Work from right to left if you are right-handed. Insert the needle up through the back of the fabric. Then reinsert it down in the same hole. Bring it up about 1/16 ahead. Keep spacing and tension consistent. Knot threads securely underneath when finished.

Hand Sewing a Hem

Hand Sewing a Hem
You’ll want to become familiar with the whip stitch, blind hem stitch, and blanket stitch for hand sewing a hem. Mastering these stitches will enable you to finish the edges of fabrics cleanly and neatly by hand for various sewing projects.

Whip Stitch

Quickly whip up a lovely hem with clean, even whip stitches. Work from left to right, bring your threaded needle up through the hem’s fold. Then insert it back into the fabric right next to where it came out. Continue making stitches following this in and out motion to create a secure edging that decorates your hem beautifully.

Tie knots neatly at the ends to finish off. With practice, you’ll master this easy finishing technique in no time.

Blind Hem Stitch

You slip the needle through the fabric fold for an invisible finish with the blind hem stitch. Catch just a thread or two of the fabric edge, then bring the needle back through the hem fold. Keep the stitches tiny, evenly spaced, and nearly invisible along the inside hem edge.

Adjust thread tension so stitches don’t pucker. This clever technique conceals fraying edges for a clean look on curtains, pants, or skirts.

Blanket Stitch

While jingling your threads, flip the blanket edge over and scallop along with a whip stitch. Cut and mark the scalloped edge with marking pens. Then blanket stitch the edge by pushing the needle up through the fabric behind the scallop.

Keep the thread below the needle when you pull through. Make evenly spaced stitches for a neat decorative edging on your floral patchwork quilt, denim jacket fringe, or fabric toy stuffing.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Practice, Practice, Practice!
Regular practice builds skill. With sewing, proficiency comes from doing. Beginners should start with simple projects to develop hand control and technique. Use cheap, familiar fabrics first. Practice straight lines, curves, and corners along scrap material.

As skills progress, move on to basic patterns like pillows or stďż­ animals. Revisit the basics frequently to sharpen needlework. Steady hands, precise needle placement, and proper thread tension allow for clean finishing.

Tighten loose stitches right away for a neat look. With frequent practice, you’ll master basic sewing and build the foundation for more challenging projects.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I choose the right size and type of needle for hand sewing?

When choosing a needle, match the thickness to the fabric weight. For lighter fabrics like cotton, use a smaller size 9 needle. Heavier fabrics like denim need a thicker size 16 needle to push through without bending or breaking.

What are some tips for threading a needle more easily?

You’ll want a sharp needle and trimmed thread. Wet the end and roll it between your fingers into a point. Hold the needle steady and move the thread slowly, focusing on the entry of the eye. Keep your hands steady and go slowly. Don’t give up, be patient, and take your time.

How can I keep my fabric from puckering as I sew?

Use a new needle and ensure it is the correct size for your fabric. Lengthen your stitch length slightly. Support the fabric gently in front and behind the presser foot. Avoid pulling or stretching the fabric as you sew.

What kinds of fabrics are easiest for beginners to sew by hand?

When learning to sew by hand, choose fabrics like cotton, linen, or flannel. Their tighter weaves prevent slipping as the needle goes in and out. Avoid silks and satins initially; their slippery threads make beginner sewing more frustrating.

How do I correct mistakes or take out stitches if I sew something incorrectly?

Carefully snip stitches with small scissors. Then gently tug the thread to remove it. Re-sew the area smoothly. Patience helps; mistakes allow you to learn. Just breathe and take your time.


You’ve taken your first stitches into the wonderful world of sewing! With practice, your skills will grow by leaps and bounds. Don’t get frustrated if your early projects aren’t perfect – every seam sewn brings you one step closer to mastery.

Keep challenging yourself with new techniques and fabrics as you progress on your sewing journey.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a site dedicated to those passionate about crafting. With years of experience and research under his belt, he sought to create a platform where he could share his knowledge and skills with others who shared his interests.