Three Tricks to Make Your Hand-Sewing Easier
1. Struggling with threading that needle? Eyes bugging out trying to get the thread through the eye? I'll bet you're holding that needle up and poking the thread in the direction of the hole. You may even be licking the thread to smooth the ends in the hopes of making your task easier. That's the way my mama taught me to thread a needle. It wasn't until I acquired eyes of a certain age that I found this trick - Hold the thread still and move the eye of the needle over it. That's it! You may find it helpful to hold the thread so just a tiny bit peeks out between your thumb and forefinger. Go give that a try.
2. Tired of those little tags of thread hanging out of your finished stitching? I was always sure all my work would come undone if I didn't leave a long enough thread after my knot. Neaten up the back of your work by hiding your knots. Secure your thread the way you normally would - a figure-8 knot or a couple of backstitches. Now, don't clip the thread. Put the needle in right next to your knot and push through the seam allowance or into an inconspicuous area. Bring the needle out 1/4" to 1/2" away. Tug gently to shorten the thread you're going to leave behind and encourage the knot to sink into the fabric. Clip close to the fabric and smooth away the small pucker. Voila! No loose ends!
3. Tired hands from all that basting and thread tracing? (This is really for the couture geeks, but it does apply to the rest of you.) This trick requires some practice and determination, but the accuracy and relief for tired, cramped hands is well worth the effort. First - Lay the fabric on a solid surface, not your lap. This was a hard habit for me to develop. I've always been a lap person. Now for the crazy part. I'll bet you're holding the fabric still in your left hand and moving the needle up and down with your right as you push through the fabric. Reverse the process. Hold the needle still and control the fabric with your left hand, using the right only to push the needle through the accumulated stitches and pull up the thread. Your control and accuracy will improve dramatically. And your right hand will thank you.