When you were a little girl, did your mother or grandmother sit you down and sew alongside you? That’s how I learned how to hand sew. My mom would sit and hand sew any number of paper piecing quilt projects or finish pillows. Of course, her mother taught her how to sew a quilt by hand and, naturally, when I got old enough, she wanted to pass along her skills to me. My first hand sewn project was a t-shirt pillow and I still have it to this day. I was so proud! Because hand sewing was the first exposure for a lot of us, we’ve developed some handy tricks. Below are some hand sewing tips other quilters have developed.
Tip #1: A Slick Idea
To help keep metallic threads from separating and breaking when hand quilting, draw a length of thread over beeswax.
Tip #2: 35mm Thread Dispenser
Use empty 35mm film canisters to dispense thread for hand sewing. Wind 4 to 5 bobbins with the threads you need, and place them in the canister. Puncture the lid several times, and pull a different thread color through each hole. You can thread needles without the threads tangling.
Tip #3: Get Through It
Use a leftover party balloon as a gripper to help pull your needle through a tough spot when hand quilting.
Tip #4: Bobby Pin Binding
Old-fashioned, cushioned bobby pins make great clips to hold your binding while hand stitching it to the back of your quilt.
Tip #5: Car Kit
Put together an emergency kit of hand piecing that you always have in the car. If you get stuck somewhere, you can work on this special project. You may be amazed how soon you complete the take-along project!
Tip #6: Inside Out
If you use a rubber finger stall to help pull stubborn stitches through when hand quilting, turn it inside out. The bumpy surface reduces finger perspiration, and the needle will pull through more easily.
Tip #7: Maintain the Tension
If you are interrupted while hand stitching, wrap the thread around the needle in a figure eight to maintain tension on the thread until you get back to the work.
I know some of you haven’t gotten into quilting until later in your lives. That’s perfectly fine! Catch up on all those hand stitching techniques, or should I say slow down, with Mark Lipinski’s Slow Stitching Movement web seminar. In this hour-long webinar, you’ll slow down your busy life in favor of learning to enjoy the process of sewing and delving into fiber art creation.
As always, feel free to contribute tips of your own in the comments. They don’t have to be only about hand sewing, they can be anything!