Basic Sewing Skills
This page shows articles about basic skills in the field of sewing.
Basic sewing skills include hand sewing and sewing by machine. Functional sewing holds two or more layers of material together, and woven fabric is the most commonly used of sewing materials.
There are two types of needles used in hand sewing as well as machine sewing. These are the ball needle and the sharp needle. The ball needle is used on fine fabrics such as silks, rayon and knits, and the sharp needle is used on cottons and linens. The ball needle will not tear or break the threads. The sharp needle is for fibers that are stronger and need a point to get through the fabric. Both types of needles are useful for various tasks, and many variants of these two basic types exist.
Hand sewing uses a needle and thread. The needle has a hole through which the thread is passed, and this is called the "eye" of the needle. By passing a thread through the eye, the needle can carry the thread through one or more layers of material with ease. Sometimes, the thread does not want to go through the eye, but moistening the thread solves this easily. The repeated penetrations of the material can serve to fasten two or more layers together: each serves as a tiny nail or thumbtack holding the material in relation to one another.
Temporary Hand Sewing
Temporary hand sewing is called "basting". It serves to hold pieces of material in position to one another until the article can be examined for size or fit. While basting thread is commonly removed from the article before completion, basting that does not show may be left in place. Leaving it may save time or may add strength to the project.
The "running stitch" is a useful basting stitch. It is used to fasten seams together in a garment in order to check the fit. It can also be used to attach decorations before they are permanently fastened.
Choose a hand sewing needle in a size suitable to the materials being basted. A loosely woven fabric might require a large needle, while a fine fabric will need a small size or fine needle to avoid making large holes. A non-woven material such as plastic or suede requires a leather needle to pierce it instead of tearing. Thread appropriate for basting is weak rather than strong.
Embroidery is a form of decorative hand sewing. Embroidery is sewn so that a decorative design shows on the surface of the material. There are many different styles and methods of creating embroidery. This particular form of sewing was a popular ladies pastime in the Victorian era, and designs from this period are often intricate and beautiful, taking months or even years to make the sumptuously decorated fabrics.