Basic sewing skills

Before you get anywhere with sewing, you need to master the basics: how to thread a needle and how to do basic stitches. They are not difficult, but like so many other things, these become much easier with practice. We have gathered together simple, clear, easy-to-follow instructions to get you started.

Once you have managed these, you can already do the most useful simple repairs to your clothes – sew on a button and mend a hem that has come loose.

Threading a needle

Many people find this quite difficult, but this page from Wikihow has diagrams and videos which should help.

Basic stitches

The most useful stitches to begin with are running stitch, back stitch, and slipstitch. This page helpfully explains how to do each stitch and what it is used for.

Sewing on a button

It will make your life much easier if you can sew on a button. There is a very clear explanation of how to do this here; you can either watch a video or download the guide (or do both).

Fixing a hem

If the hem of your skirt, dress or trousers comes down while you’re out, you can do an emergency fix with sellotape. But once you are home, it doesn’t take long to fix  – see this very easy-to-follow guide here. Again, you can either watch the video or download the written instructions, whichever you find easier.

You might also be interested in our pages on:

Basic sewing skills – machine
Learn to sew
Simple sewing ideas