How to Hand Sew and Why You Need to Learn

Posted In: Design | Fashion

Hand-sewing is a skill I think everyone should be able to do. It is SO easy, and yet most people don’t know how to do it! Once you do learn to hand sew though, you’d be surprised how often it comes in handy. Like the time I went to a wedding with friends and re-sewed a strap on a friend’s jumpsuit. Or the time tightened a button on my sister’s wedding dress just minutes before she walked down the aisle!


Once you know how to hand sew, you get to be the person who swoops in and saves the day.


Although once you’ve learned, maybe don’t tell your friends! I’m sort of the go-to person in my group of friends for fixing clothes with holes or tears in them. That means, at least in my case, that all of a sudden tons of people are handing over things for me to fix. Or family members and friends come to me with big complicated projects they expect me to take care of.


So maybe keep this new skill to yourself… 


Here’s why you should learn to Hand Sew:

Aside from the random quick fixes like sewing a tear in your favorite pair of leggings or putting that button back on your shirt, there are plenty of bigger projects you can do with just a needle and thread. 

Something I like to do is go through my closet and find clothes I never wear anymore. Then, I re-make them into a new garment that I’ll actually wear. For example, I made this backless tank top that started as a dress using only my scissors, needle and thread. It’s a great way to spice up your wardrobe without spending any money!

I recommend looking through your closet and doing the same. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it! But first you’ve got to learn the basics.

So before I keep blabbing on, I’m going to teach you to hand sew.



  1. A needle
  2. Scissors
  3. Fabric or item of clothing you want to sew
  4. Thread with a color similar to your fabric 

**I just wanted to note that your thread really doesn’t have to be the same color as your fabric. The thread I use in the example below is definitely a different shade of green than the fabric, but to be completely honest, no one will ever notice.

That’s it! I recommend buying a little sewing kit like this one that you can take with you wherever you go. It may end up being more useful than you think.

You can find one at your local Joann Fabrics or buy an inexpensive kit from Amazon like this one

As an example, I decided to fix a small hole in an old skirt of mine. Here are 10 super easy step-by-step instructions and photos, showing you exactly how to hand sew. Let’s get started!

10 Easy Steps to Hand Sew:

Start by cutting a piece of your thread. If you're just fixing a small hole, you won't need much. I'd start with about a foot of thread.
Next, pull the thread through the hole in your needle.
Tie the ends of the strings together in a knot. Be sure to knot it 3 or 4 times to keep it from slipping through your fabric.
Flip your garment inside out and get ready to sew along the seamline, where the stitching comes together.
Starting about a centimeter above where the tear is, pull your needle through the fabric.
Keep pulling until the thread catches on your garment. Don't pull too hard, because you might pull the thread right through your fabric.
Now pull your needle through from the other side just below where you began. Try to sew in as straight a line as possible and pull the thread until it catches again. Keep repeating this process until you've sewed past the bottom of the hole or tear.
Once you've finished, cut your thread, leaving enough length that you'll be able to tie the strings together.
Tie the thread together. Don't be afraid to knot it a few times again to keep everything in place.
Now that you're done sewing, don't forget to cut off extra strings. Then you'll be ready to flip your garment back to normal and, Voila! It's fixed and good as new.

That wasn’t too bad, right?! 

Now you’re ready to fix up your wardrobe or even re-make old clothes into fabulous new ones! Also, here’s something to keep in mind: your clothes don’t have to look perfect. And, you don’t need the skills of a professional to customize your own wardrobe. People generally don’t notice loose threads or whether or not something was sewn perfectly straight.

For example, take the pink top up there that I converted from a dress to a backless tank. I actually got the dress at an H&M while living in Portugal. And I didn’t have much with me to do alterations, other than my little sewing kit. The scissors aren’t very sharp and the bottom edge of that shirt is so jagged! But, it doesn’t matter and I actually never fixed it because you can just tuck into your pants and no one will ever know. So, don’t let those little imperfections keep you from making your own creations, and especially from wearing them once you’re done!

I really hope this has inspired you to make or alter your own clothes. 

It really is one of the best feelings in the world when people compliment clothes you made yourself. 

So please, give it a try!

If there’s anything I missed or that you didn’t understand, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d also like to know how you plan on using this new skill!

If you’re ready to take on bigger projects on a sewing machine, check out my design page for tips and inspiration!

Lastly, if you liked this post, don’t forget to share it on Pinterest so we can all learn to hand sew!

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