While there are many do-it-yourself projects you can make without sewing, knowing basic sewing skills has many benefits.
To show you the only three steps involved in hand sewing, try making this cute buttoned pouch. Use it to carry pens and pencils, change, football tickets or even your new sewing supplies.
The fabric you’re using here is acrylic felt. Soft, loosely woven and clingy, the pocket will stay in place without pins while you stitch the sides. It also cost 39 cents per 8.5 by 11 inch sheet, so your biggest expense will be needles and thread, which will come in at under $5.
You could, of course, use almost any fabric for this if you cut it to the right size and use regular sewing thread and standard needles, also called sharps.
Made a little bigger in thick double-sided quilted cotton fabric, it could make a really cute clutch, or made a little smaller and closed with some self-adhesive Velcro, it could be a cellphone case.
This project is sewn with embroidery thread, a string composed of six thin individual threads. It is sold in little bundles in hundreds of colors including sparkles, tie-dyes and metallic. For easiest sewing on this project, use the basic cotton, which has a nice sheen and softness. Just be sure to give a nice firm tug to pull it through the felt.
Typically, when sewing, you will turn your work inside-out after you’re done so the stitches are invisible.
For this project, though, the bright contrast colored stitches adds to the handcrafted look and forces you to learn to sew neatly and, for the most part, straight lines.
As a bonus, you can stitch free-form motifs like flowers and snowflakes on the case with the thread for an embellished look, just use a pen to lightly draw a design to use as a stitching template.
Use an embroidery needle to stitch this case. A little bigger than regular sewing needles, the wide eye will make it much easier to feed the thick thread through.
One 8.5 by 11 inch piece of felt
Embroidery thread (matching or contrasting color)
Measure up short side of the felt about four inches and cut straight across. Lay this piece on top of the bigger piece to make a pocket. Cut a length of thread about 24 inches long.
Double-knot one end of the thread about two inches from the end.
Now for the weird part: lick the last inch of the non-knotted end of the thread, and then flatten it between your thumb and forefinger. This will make it stiff enough to go through the eye of the needle and be sure all 6 individual threads go through. Pull about a 4 inch tail of thread through the needle.
Starting at the top corner, use an up-and-down in-and-out motion to stitch the pocket around all three sides, leaving the top open.
When you reach the top of the last side, make a double knot as close as you can to the fabric and cut the thread.
Place the button on top of the pocket. Being careful to only sew through the top layer of the pocket, use the same up-and-down stitch, go up through one hole and down through the other.
Repeat three or four times until the button is really secure, then tie the tail from the starting knot to the end thread you were just sewing with. Cut a slit just smaller than the button in the top flap to make a buttonhole.
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