Hand Sewing Mastery - Topic Overview


Hi Everyone! Welcome to the topic, Hand Sewing Mastery. This is such an important skill to master so that you have the confidence to finish your garments and project well every time! 

For this topic, I'm excited to announce that Shari Fuller, the designer of the Thimbles and Acorns brand, will be my co-host! She has spent years perfecting the art of hand sewing and includes many different uses in her pattern collection. We are both really excited to present this topic to you and hope that this course will provide you with the skill set and motivation to sew the hand-sewn seams beautifully!

The topic will be divided into four sessions:

  • Part 1: Topic Overview, Hand Sewing Sampler Project
  • Part 2: How To Apply Sew-On Snaps, and Sewing Snaps under Buttons
  • Part 3: Hand Sewn Buttons and Buttonholes
  • Part 4: Hand Sewing as an Embellishment

We'll be demonstrating these methods as basic tutorial exercises on small scraps of fabric as well as showing examples on both Liberty Jane and Thimbles and Acorns designs to help illustrate how the basic techniques and methods are used at a smaller scale. Follow along to understand the process, hopefully watching us in action will clarify any concerns or issues you may have with these types of techniques.

It's going to be a fun course! Are you ready? Let's go...


Suggested Patterns For this Topic: 

  • LJ Abbey Road - hem, armscye bindings
  • LJ Opening Night - lining, thread loop for hook
  • LJ Starlight Gala - lining, hand embroidered embellishments
  • LJ Hello Oscar -  lining, hem, hand embroidered embellishments
  • LJ Sheath Dress - lining hemline
  • LJ Roebuck Bay Top - snaps under buttons
  • TA Martha - snaps, hem
  • TA Underpinnings - hems, hand sewn eyelets, hand sewn buttonholes
  • TA Fancy Shift - hems
  • TA EnForreau - hems, snaps
  • TA First Impressions - snaps
  • TA Saque Back Gown - hems, snaps
  • TA Bib Front Regency - hems, buttonholes
  • TA Sarah Hale - hems, buttonholes
  • TA 1850s Day Dress - hems, snaps
  • TA 1860 Day Dress - hems
  • TA Bustle Dress - hems, snaps
  • TA Prairie Rose - hems, buttonholes
  • TA Town Girl - hems, buttonholes
  • TA Country Girl - hems, buttonholes
  • TA Mary and Laura - hems
  • TA Carrie - hems, snaps
  • TA Waterfall Bustle - snaps
  • TA Sweet Sashay - snaps
  • TA Hunting Frock - Thread Button Loop
  • TA Charlotte - hand sewn buttonholes 




    Part 1 - Hand Sewing Overview:

    Hand stitching is an integral part of sewing. However, with the rise of machine sewing and the stunning array of stitches and techniques available by these machines, it's important to establish the continued relevance of hand sewing.

    Hand sewing provides precision and control. Even the most careful pinning or basting can't always keep the fabric from moving; just getting the fabric into a sewing machine can sometimes distort it slightly especially when working in tight corners and with small pieces! In addition, the feed dogs can easily pull layers at different rates, and sometimes dull needles or an incorrect tension setting can cause puckering. Hand sewing allows you to precisely oversee the construction process, giving you ultimate control as you shape the seam.

    Some of the most common stitches used include running, backstitch, slip/fell stitch, catch stitch, and overcasting.

    • The running stitch is usually used to baste material together along a seamline; it is the workhorse of basting stitches.
    • Strong yet flexible, and permanent, the backstitch provides a continuous line of thread on both sides of the seam (unlike the running stitch).
    • The slip stitch and the fell stitch are closely related; both join a folded edge to a flat edge. The biggest difference between the two is the angle they are worked at, and where the thread travels the distance of the stitch.
    • The catch stitch is often used to hold a hem in place securely and invisibly, but can also secure a facing edge.

    Hand Sewing Supplies: When hand sewing, use a good quality thread, treated with beeswax; silk thread is best for basting since it pulls out easily and leaves no marks when pressed.

    Hand Stitching Sampler Exercise: For this week, we have a fun little project for you to work on to practice the different hand stitches while making a beautiful resource at the same time! Follow along in the video below to make your own Hand Stitching Sampler. Then post it in a notebook or frame it as a wall decoration and use it as a quick resource for years to come!


     Here are the specifics for the Hand Stitching Sampler:

    • Refer to the video for any questions about how to work the stitches.

    • Cut a rectangle of fabric 7" x 12".

    • Mark a line 1 1/4" down from the top edge, along the short direction of the piece. Press a fold along this line.

    • Mark 1/2" down from the fold. Work a running stitch on this marked line, forming a 1/2" tuck. Press tuck towards bottom of sampler.

    • Mark a second fold line, 1/14" from the base of the first tuck. Press; then, mark 1/2" from the fold, and work a backstitch to make a second 1/2" deep tuck. Press tuck towards bottom of sampler.

    • Make two more tucks in the same way (marking fold line 1 1/4" from folded edge of previous tuck, and stitching 1/2" away from fold). Sew these tucks with either a running stitch or a backstitch (your choice). Press both tucks down towards bottom of sampler.

    • Work a running stitch to hold down the first tuck.

    • Work a pick stitch to hold down the second tuck.

    • Work a slipstitch to hold down the third tuck.

    • Work a fell stitch to hold down the fourth tuck.

    • On the lower edge of the sampler, press up 1". Catch stitch this into place.

    • Hand-overcast along the upper edge of the sampler.

    • Mount completed sampler in your notebook. Label each stitch for easy reference.


    Week One task:

    • Watch the Topic Overview and the Hand Sewing Sampler videos.
    • Create your own Hand Stitching Sampler. Post it in the facebook group when complete. We'd love to see the variety of styles and creative ways these can be made! 
    • Check out the Ultimate Resource Guide for fabric and supply sources. (Find this in the SWC Bonuses section)
    • Jump over the SWC Facebook Group for conversation and project sharing.




    July 31, 2019

    Absolutely LOVED the hand sewing subject! THANK YOU!!


    July 09, 2019

    Thank you so much for choosing this topic. I used to sew everything by hand but have come to realize that I wasn’t doing it correctly. I really enjoyed making my sampler and plan to continue practicing my new stitches until I get them just right. I have learned so many useful and fun stitches that I didn’t even know existed! Perfect topic for me right now also because I am having to be away from my machine for a while.


    July 03, 2019

    Thank you Cinnamon for bringing Shari in on the course I am loving it already.


    July 03, 2019

    This is so exciting!

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