Hand Sewing Tips


As promised, here are two video tutorials to hopefully¬†help your hand sewing get better. I don’t hand sew too incredibly often, but when I do, I always use these methods. After attending Gertie’s tailoring class at Sewing Summit, I’m convinced I need to do more hand sewing in my garment construction. Also, I’m convinced that Gretchen should take up bookbinding.

This first method is for keeping your tails in place when you’re hand sewing with one thread. I’m not entirely sure what to call it, so for lack of a better phrase, it’s the stay-put tail. It keeps the thread from slipping out the eye of the needle! I don’t bother to do this if I’m doubling up the thread.

This second technique is about adding thread if you run out. I like it because it’s low profile (doesn’t create giant bumps or lumps), incredibly fast and sturdy. It also allows me to sew with smaller lengths of thread to avoid tangles. Do you hear Felix’s cooing?

Hope these video tutorials are helpful! I hope to make more video tutorials in the future. Is there anything you’d like to see specifically? Feel free to leave it in the comments or email me.

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    1. Emily says:

      Thank you for these videos! I’m getting ready to hand sew the binding to my second quilt, so that second video is especially timely. It’s so funny to hear your voice after reading your blog for the last year or so! :)

    2. Melissa says:

      @EMILY, I’m so glad you find them useful! Gosh, it’s even funny to hear my own voice.

    3. Michaela B. says:

      Thank you for sharing – these tips are great!

      Greetings from Germany

    4. Erin says:

      Melissa, These videos were great! I will definitely add both of the techniques to my arsenal.

    5. Melissa, where have you been all my life?!? Seriously, these are AMAZING tips!! THANKS! And did you see you won a Delish prize?! xx

    6. Evelyn says:

      Absolutely genius tips! That stay put thread end tip is going to save me a lot of swearing when sewing lol :) love it, thanks do much!

    7. Anne says:

      Thank you Melissa! I just started an embroidery class at my after school program. I was having to help re-thread needles every five minutes! Ugh. I will definitely try out the stay put tail.

    8. Jeanene says:

      Thank you so much. I have been sewing since I was 6 but never heard of these time-saving tricks. You have been so helpful! Especially the stay-put tail. As my eyesight is getting a little worse with age, it is so annoying when you are down to that last little bit of thread and need more….and it comes out of the needle! This is going to take a lot of frustration out of my handsewing. Thanks again!

    9. Emily,

      That was a great tip. My only regret was that a portion of the film at the top was blocked with some writing and I couldn’t see what you did with the loop and your thumb. Could this writing be eliminated?



    10. […] it looks so cute! When it came time to attach it, I used this trusty tutorial, and conveniently,¬†Melissa Esplin posted a helpful video about adding thread seamlessly, which is a technique I didn’t know existed. So much less […]

    11. Wendy says:

      I love your tip for adding thread while sewing! I will definitely try that during my next hand sew project. So much easier then what I’ve been doing!

    12. Kathy says:

      Great tutorials! I love the trick to push your needle through your thread so your needle doesn’t come out. Genius!
      Thank you!!

    13. Nancy says:

      Your tutorials are great! Your “Stay Put Tail” trick is the best! I have been sewing since I was 5 years old (now 60!) and I have to say, this is the most valuable time saver ever!

    14. carriebake says:

      i had trouble seeing the vidio didnt load well for me :( i love your blog!

    15. Diane says:

      I would think that your trick about adding additional thread during sewing would also work with knitting and crocheting. Great tip!!

    16. Angela says:

      I have a question, does the knot connecting the two threads go through the fabric without problems?

      • Melissa says:

        It doesn’t go through the thread. You’ll want to make sure the knot is close enough to your fabric that you won’t have to pull it through the layers of fabric.

    17. Pam says:

      Both means of controlling thread and making it work for you was fabulous. I will most definitely be using them both in the future. Thanks so much for sharing.

    18. Carol says:

      On joining the new thread….. You might try sliding the slip knot down to the fabric surface before popping it into a stable knot. Then it doesn’t need to be pulled through any stitches. I’ve been using a clove hitch for this but your slip knot is definitely better. Thanks so much for sharing this and your other hints

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