How do you Sew with a Needle and a Thread?

by Leanna Levine | Last Updated: February 28, 2017

Do you have some cute fabric or felt craft projects in mind?

Are you wishing you could alter the hem of your dress by yourself? Make a few small alterations and repairs right at home?

Well you can! And it’s really simple.

Hand sewing is easy, requires very few tools, and can be done anywhere. It is a very useful skill to know. And can be fun and relaxing.

Hand sewing is sometimes required to finish parts of machine sewn projects. Quilt binding, hemming delicate fabrics, and attaching buttons is often done by hand.

It is also the first step for learning hand embroidery. Once you know the basics, you can do lots of different stitches.

So what are the tools required to get started?

  • A hand sewing needle
  • A pair of small sewing scissors
  • Thread
  • And the fabric you want to sew on

We are going to learn the simplest hand sewing stitch called the Running Stitch. Let’s start!


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  1. Unravel and cut the desired length of threadfrom the spool. Don’t keep the thread longer than approximately 18 inches, because then it tends to get tangled.
  2. Thread the needlethrough the needle eye.


  1. Keep one side of the thread long and one side short. (The shorter side should be at least 4 inches.)
  2. Make a knot at the end of the longer side of the thread. A knot can be made in two ways –
  • Make a loop near the end of the thread, put the end of the thread through the loop and pull.

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  • Wrap the end of the thread around your forefinger, roll it off your finger with your thumb, and pull. This articleexplains the technique with step by step instructions.
  1. Decide from what point you want to start sewing.
  2. At that point, from the back of your fabric, push the needle upwards.
  3. Now pull the needle from the front, and continue pulling till all the thread is on the top side. The knot should be touching the back of the fabric.
  4. Half a centimetre ahead from the first point, push the needle back downthrough the fabric. Pull all the thread down.
  5. Now pull it up again a further half centimetre ahead.
  6. Continue up and down like thistill the point at which you want to finish sewing.
  7. Half a centimetre is just an approximate measure. You can take longer or shorter stitches; just make sure all the stitches are alike.
  8. How to finish?
  • You need to make a knot at the end to prevent the stitches from coming undone.
  • Take the needle to the back of the fabric.
  • Now take the needle through the last stitch, making a loop.
  • Pull the needle through the loop once and then once more.
  • Pull tight and trim the leftover thread.

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A few tips to keep in mind –

  • A hand sewing needle is different from a sewing machine needle. The eye of the needle is on the opposite end from the sharp end.
  • Use a thin needle for delicate and light-weight fabricslike silk and chiffon. You don’t want big holes showing through the fabric.
  • Use a thicker needle heavier fabrics like canvas and denim, so that the needle goes through easily.
  • If you use amatching thread, the sewing will look neater. (Unless you want a contrasting thread as design element.)
  • Trim the edge of the threadat a slant with your scissors to make it easier to thread.
  • Start sewing at least half a centimetre away from the edge of the fabric. If the fabric edge frays, your knot won’t go off the fabric.
  • When hand sewing, pull the thread just enough to make the stitches firm. Pulling the thread too much can result in puckering.
  • Leave a little bit of thread after knots to keep them from opening

How to sew with double thread?

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You can sew with two strands of thread for increased strength. After threading, keep both sides equal, and knot them together at the end.

Now that you can do a simple running stitch, you can get started on whichever projects you have in mind. Maybe some cute felt finger puppets? Or an embroidered wall hoop for your room.

You can also try out some other hand embroidery stitches like back stitch, chain stitch, satin stitch and blanket stitch. Back stitch is one of the most commonly used stitches because it strong and durable.

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