3 top tips for better hand sewing

Many stitchers love sewing with the machine, and hate hand sewing. I love both, but hand-sewing is all about the tricks!
Here’s my top three tricks for better hand -sewing

Sewing with beeswax
Use some tailor’s beeswax(or any hard beeswax) Mine is well used as you can see on the left. All you do is run the thread across the wax with a little tension. It coats the thread, and smooth down the fibres, a bit like hair serum. Using wax stops your thread getting too knotty as you sew.

thread length
Don’t cut your thread any longer than an arm span plus half your chest. Longer thread picks up more fabric lint as it sews, so instead of sewing quicker, you’ll spend more time undoing knots and getting frustrated

Sylko the king of Threads
Mercerised sylko cotton was the holy grail of hand sewing threads! It’s a dream to sew with, and I’m working my way through my vintage stash. If you have a stash of  sylko, check that it’s still viable, as these threads deteriorate. Try snapping the thread over your hands, If it snaps easily then it will probably break when sewn. A great quality alternative is Gutterman cotton. Avoid using cheap polyester like moon or swan threads though, as they get really knotty

Hand sewing, do you love it or hate it? I’d love to know!
Happy Stitching


  • Brooks Ann Camper

    27.02.2018 at 16:37

    Great tips! I love hand sewing! A big turning point for me was learning to use a thimble. You might enjoy the blog post I wrote about my thimble journey: http://brooksann.com/how-to-choose-and-use-a-thimble/

  • Malady

    16.04.2013 at 12:42

    I love handsewing… there is something very satisfying about doing those finishing touches on a garment by hand.
    I’m learning to make clothes at the moment, after many years of hand stitching, embroidery, and quilting. I find that some of fiddly techniques difficult to do on the machine (I’m getting better!!) and when I’m feeling disheartened, some handsewing restores my confidence.

    • The Thrifty Stitcher

      18.04.2013 at 14:18


      Thanks for commenting. Yep i’m a big hand sewing fan too. Although not when i’m at work and need to get an actor back into a costume that has had the hem come down!

      best wishes :)