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Learn How To DIY: Sewing Simple Stitches

Are you eager to make yourself that beautiful table cloth that you’ve been dreaming of? Do you need a new bedskirt to give your bedroom a fresh look? Maybe you just need to hem curtains? Well, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by doing the sewing yourself! Sound crazy? Actually, like knitting, sewing is a relatively easy hobby to pick up, and once you’ve mastered a few simple stitches you will find yourself wanting to pick up more and more skills. Here are some of the basics skills that you will need to start sewing!


Sewing Supplies

Before you can even think about hemming curtains or adding a button to that chair back, you will need to gather a few sewing supplies together. Some of the basic tools that you will need include:


  • thread
  • needles
  • scissors
  • fabric (if you are creating a project from scratch)
  • iron and ironing board (to flatten fabric and seams)
  • measuring tape
  • pincushion
  • thimble


Choosing a Needle
Sewing needles come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses, so it is important to find a selection of needles that work for you. Choose your needles based on the type of fabric that you are working with, paying particular attention to the weight and thickness of that fabric. The thicker your fabric, the longer and stronger your needles will need to be; for delicate stitching on fragile materials, use shorter and thinner needles. Needles are organized by number: the larger the number, the thinner and shorter the needle. If you are hand sewing, your needles will be slightly different from those that are used with sewing machines.

Choosing a Thread
There are literally hundreds of different types of sewing threads available on the market. Try to choose a thread that is suited for your type of fabric and the project that you are completing. Certain threads are designed for lightweight fabrics, while others are good for projects that require heavy knits. The most popular types of thread include:


  • Cotton: Cotton thread is perfect for light to medium-weight sewing fabrics, including cotton, linen, and rayon. Avoid using cotton with stretchy fabrics: because cotton stitches do not stretch very well, they may break when you are working with stretchy materials. Cotton thread comes in an assortment of colors making it suitable for many different projects.
  • Silk: Silk thread is perfect for heavier fabrics like wool. Because silk thread is extra strong, it can stand up to the extra weight of knit fabrics and is excellent when it comes to basting hems or working with elastic materials. It tends to cost a little bit more than cotton thread, though.
  • Nylon: Nylon thread is generally used with light and medium-weight fabrics. It is excellent for synthetic materials, such as polyester.
  • Polyester: Polyester thread is a good, all-purpose thread that is suitable for most projects, including those involving wool and woven synthetics.



Getting Started

Now that you have your basic materials, you are ready to start sewing! Here are some basic skills that you will need to get started on those sewing projects.

Threading Your Needle
Most of us are familiar with the frustrating process of needle threading. Sometimes it can seem impossible to get the end of your thread through such a small hole, but with patience, it can be done. Here is an easy way to thread your needle:


  • Hold your thread in your left hand, between your thumb and forefinger. Leave about half an inch of thread free at the top of the string.
  • Hold your needle in your right hand, with the eye of the needle directly below the thread.
  • Bring the needle up beneath the thread, wrapping the free end at the top of the string around the needle.
  • Remove the needle. You will be left with a small loop in your thread. Squeeze this loop until it is small enough to fit through the eye in the needle.
  • Force the loop through the eye and pull the string through.
  • Tie a knot on the other end of your thread.


Mastering the Stitches
In order to complete most simple sewing projects, you only need to become familiar with four different stitches. These stitches can then be used in combination in order to complete more complex projects. The basic sewing stitches include:


  • Running Stitch: The running stitch is used to make seams and gatherings in fabrics. It is easily completed by simply passing your needle in and out of the fabric at equal distances. The stitches on the topside of your fabric should be twice the length of the stitches on the underside of your fabric.
  • Backstitch: The backstitch provides strength and a finished look to any piece. Working from right to left, bring the needle up through the bottom of the material. Next bring the needle down through the material so that you make a stitch of the necessary length. Bring the thread back up through the fabric an equal distance in front of the first stitch. Then, bring the needle back down through the end point of the first stitch. Continue these steps with each stitch.
  • Oversewing Stitch: The oversewing stitch is used to neaten and secure raw edges. It also keeps unfinished fabrics from fraying. Working on a diagonal, come up through the bottom of the fabric. Bring the needle over the side of the fabric and push the needle up through the fabric again. Continue, until your stitching is completed.
  • Slipstitch: The slipstitch is used to hold an edge down flat against a piece of material (such as a skirt hem). It is sewn so that no stitches are visible on the good side of the material. Fold your fabric back against the wrong side of your fabric, creating a hem. Bring your needle through the back side of the fold, so that the knot of the thread is caught between the hem and the good piece of fabric. Push the needle back through the hem and the front piece of fabric, catching just a few threads. Pull the needle back through the hem.


Now that you know the basics, you can get started on all those sewing repairs you have lying around your home.