Sewing Machines

Sewing machines like the Janome 7330 make creating all kinds of garments and projects fast and easy, with great results. Still, there are times when a bit of hand stitching to baste fabric pieces or sew an overcast hem may be required. When the tool of choice winds up being a hand needle, let that Janome sewing machine get a rest and consider the steps listed below to achieve the best hand stitched work.

The Needle

Choose the needle size and type just as needles are chosen for use on a machine, taking point and fabric type into consideration. Always start with a sharp, new needle just like when starting new projects on Janome sewing machines. Use the smallest eye possible to reduce fabric damage when pushing the needle through the layers. Thread the needle with a threader or by folding over the end of the thread and pinching it between thumb and forefinger.

Thread

When bypassing sewing machines with hand stitching, the thread is usually taken from the same spool being used on the rest of the project unless a different type of thread is needed. Work with an arm’s length of thread at a time to prevent it from tangling while sewing. Anchor the thread in an inconspicuous area to hide the knot and secure at the end with a few backstitches.

Thimble

It is a good idea to use a metal thimble when hand stitching to protect the fingers and provide a surface to push the needle through thicker fabric. Of course thimbles are not required and are an individual choice for each sewist.

Basic Hand Stitches

There are a variety of hand stitches that can be done using a needle and thread, each suitable for a different purpose. A few of the more commonly used options include the following:

  • Basting Stitch - This is a long and loose temporary stitch used to hold fabric pieces together without shifting or slipping until permanently sewn on machines like the Janome 7330. Basting is usually done with a single or double thread of contrasting color, weaving it in and out of the fabric. The end is left unknotted so the thread can be easily pulled out once a permanent seam is made.
  • Running Stitch - This stitch is a permanent version of the basting stitch and is done using shorter and closer stitches about â…› of an inch in length. A running stitch creates the same effect as the straight stitch does on sewing machines. Since it is typically left in, this sewing should be locked at the beginning and end with a few backstitches.  
  • Whip or Overcast Stitch - Sewing in this fashion brings the thread over the edge of the fabric, pushing the needle in on the opposite side of where it comes out. This technique is used decoratively to create a hem or to secure fabric edges from fraying.
  • Backstitch - Backstitching is used to make strong seams and secure thread ends when hand sewing. It is done by putting the needle through the fabric behind the exit point of the previous stitch. Using this technique, the thread makes a large loop on the back while a shorter stitch is visible on the front.
  • Slip or Ladder Stitch - Slip stitching is used to draw fabric ends together in an invisible seam and weaves the thread back and forth across the opening, pulling the sides tight as the seam is made. It is useful for bindings, applying an applique, closing a pillow, and other projects that require closure from the underside of the fabric.

While the majority of garment and other project sewing will likely be done using sewing machines like the Janome 7330, sometimes a little hand stitching is all that is needed. Using these and many other techniques, a sewist can hand sew where necessary when their Janome sewing machines may not be the best option. Regardless of how it is used, all sewists should familiarize themselves with the basics of hand sewing so they are prepared should it be necessary!

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