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Hand Sewing Vs. Machine Sewing: Pros and Cons (2024)

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is hand sewing better than machine sewingLooking to up your sewing game? Discover the pros and cons of hand sewing vs. machine sewing in this informative guide. Unleash your creativity and master the art of stitching as you explore different techniques, from intricate hand stitches to precise machine stitches.

Whether you’re a fashion designer, a passionate sewer, or simply curious about the history of sewing, this article will empower you with knowledge and help you decide which method suits your needs best.

Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Hand sewing is more suitable for beginners due to its ease of use and lower startup costs.
  • Machine sewing offers faster speed and higher precision, especially for straight lines, but may have a steeper learning curve.
  • Hand sewing allows for more control and flexibility in stitch appearance, while machine sewing provides added stretch and durability.
  • The choice between hand sewing and machine sewing depends on factors such as fabric thickness, desired stitch appearance, time efficiency, and cost considerations.

Pros and Cons of Hand Sewing Vs. Machine Sewing

Pros and Cons of Hand Sewing Vs. Machine Sewing
When considering the pros and cons of hand sewing versus machine sewing, there are several key points to consider:

  • Ease of use: Hand sewing is great for beginners while machine sewing has a steeper learning curve.
  • Portability: Hand stitching can be done anywhere whereas machines aren’t portable.
  • Affordability: Hand sewing tends to be inexpensive while purchasing a machine can be costly.

Ease of Use

If you’re a beginner, hand sewing is great for easy projects.

It’s portable, affordable, and has a smaller learning curve compared to machine sewing.


When it comes to portability, hand sewing offers the advantage of being easily carried around, making it convenient for on-the-go stitching during travel or camping projects.


Machine sewing is generally considered to be more costly than hand sewing. However, machine sewing offers convenience and efficiency, making it a worthwhile investment for serious sewists.

  • Machine sewing machines can range in price from inexpensive models to high-end options.
  • Hand-sewing tools are typically more affordable and accessible.
  • The cost of materials for hand-sewing projects tends to be lower compared to machine-sewn garments or quilts.
  • While initial investment in a quality machine may seem expensive, its long-term use can save time and money on larger projects.
  • Hand stitching requires minimal equipment and supplies, reducing the overall cost of starting a project.


When comparing hand sewing and machine sewing, one factor to consider is the precision each method offers.

Hand Sewing

  • High Precision

Machine Sewing

  • Lower Precision


Do you want to complete your sewing projects quickly and efficiently?

Machine sewing is faster for straight lines, but slower for curves. It offers more control and is less consistent than hand sewing.


Take control of your sewing projects by considering the pros and cons of hand sewing versus machine sewing.

Hand sewing offers high control, while machine sewing provides less control but faster results.

Hand Sewing Techniques and Examples

Hand Sewing Techniques and Examples
Let’s explore two popular hand sewing techniques: the running stitch and the fell stitch.

The running stitch is a basic, versatile stitch that creates a series of small, evenly spaced stitches. It’s commonly used for gathering fabric or temporarily holding pieces together before machine sewing.

On the other hand, the fell stitch is often employed to create strong and nearly invisible seams in garments or crafts by stitching through folded edges of fabric.

Running Stitch

If you want to create a simple and versatile stitch for your hand-sewn projects, the running stitch is an excellent choice.

Running stitch uses two threads – one on the needle and one on the fabric.

To do a running stitch, bring your needle up through the fabric, then back down in a straight line.

The running stitch is commonly used for basic sewing tasks like basting and gathering fabric.

Fell Stitch

To continue our exploration of hand sewing techniques and examples in the context of ‘Fell Stitch’, let’s delve into this versatile stitch that offers a range of applications.

Fell stitch, which uses two needles, is commonly used for hemming, reinforcement, seam allowances, and even leatherwork. This stitch creates a neat finish by securing fabric layers together with small stitches that are nearly invisible from the right side.

It provides strength and durability while maintaining flexibility—a perfect choice for various sewing projects requiring precision and mastery.

Machine Sewing Techniques and Examples

Machine Sewing Techniques and Examples
Now let’s talk about machine sewing techniques and examples.

One of the most common stitches used in machine sewing is the straight stitch, which creates a neat and clean line of stitching.

Another popular option is the zigzag stitch, which allows for added stretch and durability in garments.

These two stitches are versatile and can be used for a wide range of projects, making them essential skills to master in machine sewing.

Straight Stitch

Start by threading your machine with a single spool of thread and utilizing the straight stitch setting for basic sewing projects.

The straight stitch is a fundamental technique in machine sewing, providing clean and even lines of stitching.

Adjusting the width, length, tension, foot pressure, and needle size allows you to customize the stitch according to fabric type and thickness.

A shorter stitch length creates stronger seams while longer stitches are suitable for gathering or basting.

Mastering the straight stitch will give you greater control over your creations while adding that touch of professional finish to your garments or crafts.

Zigzag Stitch

Master the zigzag stitch for efficient machine sewing.

The zigzag stitch is a versatile technique that has many applications in fashion design and garment construction. It’s particularly useful when working with stretchy fabrics, as it allows for flexibility and prevents seams from popping under stress.

Additionally, the zigzag stitch can be used decoratively to add visual interest to your projects.

To achieve the best results, consider using a serger or a walking foot attachment on your sewing machine for added stability and control while executing this decorative stitch.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Hand Sewing and Machine Sewing

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Hand Sewing and Machine Sewing
When deciding between hand sewing and machine sewing, there are several factors to consider.

  • The appearance of the stitches is one important aspect, as hand-sewn stitches may have a more unique and artistic look compared to machine-sewn ones.
  • Time efficiency is another factor – if you have a tight deadline or need to complete multiple projects quickly, machine sewing might be the better choice.
  • Fabric thickness also plays a role; while machines can handle thicker fabrics with ease, delicate materials may require the finesse of hand stitching.
  • Lastly, cost should be taken into account as machines can range from affordable options to more costly investments depending on your needs and preferences in features.

Stitch Appearance

When choosing between hand sewing and machine sewing, one important factor to consider is the appearance of the stitches.

  1. Running stitch and fell stitch create a more handmade, rustic look.
  2. Straight stitch and zigzag stitch offer cleaner lines for a polished finish.
  3. Backstitch provides added strength and durability to your seams.

Time Efficiency

To determine the most efficient sewing method for your projects, consider the time-saving benefits of machine sewing.

Project Complexity Hand Sewing Time Machine Sewing Time
Simple 1-2 hours 30 minutes
Medium 3-4 hours 1-2 hours
Complex 5-6 hours 2-3 hours

Fabric Thickness

You’ll also want to consider the thickness of the fabric you’re working with when deciding between hand and machine sewing.

Lightweight fabrics are more suited for machine sewing, while heavy fabrics may require hand sewing.

Stretchy and delicate fabrics should also be handled with care by hand.


Considering the cost is an important factor when deciding between hand sewing and machine sewing.

Machine sewing requires an initial investment in a machine, but over time, the cost per sew is minimal.

Hand sewing has lower startup costs for supplies, but the cost per sew is higher over many projects.

Sewing classes, for either method, provide valuable skills for any budget.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the best hand sewing needles to use for different fabrics and techniques?

For delicate fabrics like silk, use fine sharps.

Heavier fabrics like denim require thicker, stronger needles.

Match the needle size to the thread thickness for best results.

A variety pack with different sizes will allow you to experiment and find what works best for each project.

How do I maintain and care for my sewing machine?

Clean your machine regularly to keep it running smoothly.

Gently brush lint and threads from around the feed dogs, bobbin area, and needle plate.

Oil moving parts with sewing machine oil on intervals recommended by the manufacturer.

A well maintained machine will sew beautifully and last for years.

What are some tips for learning how to use a sewing machine as a beginner?

Start with easy fabrics like cotton.

Practice straight lines and tension.

Don’t get discouraged – it takes time and patience.

Use the manual and online tutorials.

Mark stitch lines first.

Go slow and be mindful.

You’ll get the hang of it with regular practice!

Where can I find sewing patterns for hand sewing projects?

Look in sewing books, magazines, and online for hand sewing patterns.

Etsy and independent designers offer fun, creative patterns for embroidery, cross stitch, quilting, clothing, and more.

Focus on projects you’re passionate about, and build your hand sewing skills stitch by stitch.

Are there any online or in-person hand sewing classes I can take to improve my skills?

My dear, explore online tutorials and local craft shops for hand sewing classes.

Mastering hand stitches unlocks creative freedom in wearable art and textile arts.

Practice liberates intuition to flow through your fingers into each stitch.


You may think machine sewing is always better, but don’t dismiss hand sewing just yet. With practice, hand sewing allows for intricate detail and ultimate control. Slow down, savor the process, and create cherished pieces.

Though machine sewing wins for speed, hand sewing triumphs for portability, affordability, and personal connection. For some projects, nothing beats hand sewing’s versatility, nuance, and the satisfaction of stitching by hand.

So grab a needle and thread, and discover the joy and mindfulness of this timeless technique.

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.