This tutorial for our NEPP Hand Sewing Kits, but can work for any running stitch application.
*Note: I am self taught. I tend to over-do things with hand sewing because I want it to last. I am always learning – if I learn something new to make this process better, I will update as necessary!
To start, I use these tools:
Thimble – Dritz Soft Comfort Thimble size M – it’s inexpensive and works pretty well.
Needle – John James Sharps 12
Thread – Superior Kimono Silk Thread #100
For our kits, I would recommend laying out all the pieces before sewing – it’s easier to check placement that way, but it’s not necessary.
Get ready for some photos and sorry for the few blurry ones…
Start by taking some thread from the spool, and threading your needle (don’t cut the thread – making sure it’s the right end to use), then tie a knot in the thread directly to the needle:
I use a very fine silk thread, so I tie it twice – really tight and it still has no problem going through the fabric with the needle:
Now, pull about 12-18″ of thread from the needle to the spool and cut. You don’t want it too long, just enough to go from your hand to your elbow – to make a nice one-pull stitch. Make a quilters knot at the other end. There is a tutorial here by Amanda Lipscomb on how to do that. Again, since I’m using fine thread, I “wrap” the thread about 6 times instead of 2.
Time to pick the two pieces you want to sew together. From your layout, start at the center and flip one piece over another at your chosen seam, to make sure you are sewing the seam in the right direction. I’m right-handed, so I pin the left side, then stick my needle in the right side, connecting the two points on both fabrics:I always check the backside to make sure the points are lining up before starting:Then run your needle from the back to the front a stitch away from the point:This is where I go a little overboard and tie another knot here – I like to knot at every corner just in case I sew a wrong piece in, or the wrong side… I can take out any one stitch without any other stitches coming out:From here I take a backstitch to the first point:Then it’s time for the actual running stitch:I take about 3-5 stitches, then check the back before pulling it through:Adjust as necessary to make the stitch lines line up as much as possible – this will give you very accurate seams. Pull the thread through and take a backstitch before your next running stitch:Continue on to the end point – bring the needle to the top:Always check your backside (*giggle*):Take a backstitch:Tie a knot:YAY!! You made your first Y-seam!
Every seam is done the same way… to get to the next seam, put your needle from the back to the front, right on the point. Be very careful not to catch any other fabric:Check your placement and put the next piece on by connecting it at the point:Pin the other end in place:Pull needle to the back then back to the front about a stitch away from the point. I also use a wonder clip here to make sure the seam allowance of the first piece does not interfere with the stitching. The most important thing: Only sew two pieces of fabric together at a time, do not catch any other fabric, especially when knotting at the ends!!:Tie a knot, backstitch to the point:Check the backside:Start your running stitch and continue:Keep going until you get close to the end of your thread. Get to the end of a seam and tie a knot as usual, then tie another knot into the seam allowance of the top fabric (only one piece of fabric) – do not tie the ending knot into both fabrics in the seam allowance.
I really hope this is helpful in getting someone new to feel comfortable in starting a hand sewing project like this. Happy Sewing!