simple stitches

Threading your needle

Take out about one yard length of thread.  This is an easy amount to work with.  A little tidbit…with your arm extended straight out to your side the length from the tip of your finger to your nose is about one yard.   This will help you know about how long a yard is.  Thread the end of the thread through the eye of the needle.  You can put the end of the thread in your mouth to help make the ends “stick” together by moistening it.  Once through, make the two ends of the thread meet and tie a knot.  This will allow the thread to be double thickness and a bit stronger.


Running stitch

This is one of the most basic stitches. When you are finished, you will have the same appearance on both sides of the joined fabric.

Start on the wrong side of the hem and pull your knotted thread through to the right side.  Continue going up and then back down in a straight line through the material until you get to the end of your broken hem. Move in even spaces while going through the material.

It will have the appearance of dashes

___  ____ ___ ___  ___ ___ ___


Back stitch

If you need a stronger stitch, this is an advanced variation of the simple running stitch where you constantly take one step back and two steps forward along your stitch line.  When you are finished one side will look like a simple running stitch but the other side will have a line of overlapping stitches.



If you were to imagine what it looks like, think of a spiral bound notebook.  It just whips around and around.  This works good to repair a pillow, busted seams on clothing, pockets that have split open, or hems that have split on the bottom not at the hemline.  This works great for cushions on your couch as well.  Make sure to choose thread that matches what you are repairing as you will see it.

  • Fold the ends of the material inward and pinch shut.  If you need to hold it together, use some pins.
  • Hide your thread knot and bring the thread from the inside through the outside of the hem fold.
  • Moving from right to left (or left to right if you’re left-handed), cross over diagonally and pick up a few threads of the fabric above the fold. Keep the needle pointed in the direction in which you’re working.
  • Bring the needle back out through the fold and repeat.
  • When you have sewn all the way to the end of your repair, go back a few diagonals to make the stitch stronger and then tie the knot.  After you bring up the thread, go through the hole and tie it off.  Cut off any loose threads.


Button repairs

At some point in your life, a button is going to need to be sewn on.  I have found that for heavy duty items like coat buttons, use dental floss instead of regular thread.  It is near impossible for the button to fall off.

  • Use a double strand of thread for this.
  • Secure beginning thread with a knot underneath the button and piece of fabric.
  • Bring the thread up to the right side of the fabric and through a hole in the button. Thread it back through an adjacent hole.
  • Pull the thread.
  • Go into the first layer of fabric. Slant needle toward the same general location where the thread came up through the fabric to the right side.
  • Continue stitching in the same place for approximately 6-8 stitches.
  • When you have made your stitches around the button holes, end up underneath the button and wind the thread around the underside of the button.
  • Make a loop and tie off your thread.
  • Test to see if your button feels secure, if not, repeat these steps.


You can practice these procedures on a small scrap piece of material.

If you need a visual, look online at some videos to view how to do these simple sewing practices.