Learning to sew is a worthwhile and practical skill. Being able to thread a needle and operate a sewing machine is a necessary skill whether you are making a new item of clothing, mending a damaged one, or simply adding a button to a shirt. However, a 2017 study revealed that an astonishing 59% of people don’t know how to sew, or sew confidently, and almost a third of us were never taught to sew at all. We’ve certainly made strides since then, mostly thanks to the pandemic, where a reported 1 in 5 people now make their own clothes. Although it’s clear there’s a long way to go until we’re all more adept at sewing. If you’re in this camp, this is an article for you. We’re going back to basics and here we’ll show you how to get started. First up, how to thread a needle. Here’s how:

To thread a needle, you’ll need:

  • A spool of thread
  • A needle
  • A pair of scissors

A note about needle sizes

Select the appropriate needle size for your project. An identification number on the package designates the different diameters of needles. The needle gets fatter the higher the number. Size 8 or 9 needles are suitable for most stitching jobs. A size 10 or 11 needle is suggested for thicker textiles like denim or leather. The best needle to use for delicate fabrics like silk or chiffon is a size 7 or 6.

Threading your needle

Take a piece of thread that has been cut from the spool and place the end firmly between your thumb and forefinger. Thread this through the eye of the needle, joining it to the other end of the thread. Once the thread is evenly spaced on both sides of the needle, tie a knot in the end to provide a grip for your sewing project.

How to use a needle threader

It can be quite tricky to see the eye of the needle, especially on the smaller sizes and, dare we say it, as you get older. As such, you may find it easier to use a needle threader. If so, this very good guide by Treasurie on YouTube is very helpful in illustrating how these work:

Get stitching

You are prepared to start sewing once you have threaded your needle and selected the appropriate size. Holding the thread taut with one hand while piercing the fabric with the other hand to start a stitch. After that, pull the needle through the material once again to create your first stitch. Follow this process over and over (up, across, down and out) to create a series of stitches. These kind of stitches and sewing are ideal for mending falling hems, repairing holes, and even the basic premise for sewing a button. However, to sew a button that stays, there is a knack to it, which we’ll show you in a later article (keep your eyes peeled for that one).

It’s crucial to maintain straight, even stitches while you sew. Your project will look clean and polished as a result. If you’re free-hand stitching, it can be helpful to use the seam as your guide. As you build confidence you may look to achieve various effects and you can experiment with various stitch kinds, such as a running stitch, a backstitch, or a whipstitch (you can look these up for inspiration on YouTube).

You may quickly develop your sewing skills and confidence with practise and perseverance. You’ll certainly become popular as word spreads of your new skill with others who can’t do it. Perhaps a gentle side hustle of an evening? Enjoy your sewing!

You may also like...