Sewing is a craft that people around the world have widely adopted. There are two approaches to sew- hand sewing and machine sewing. And there is no right way to choose between the two. It all depends on the kind of sewing project you have taken on and the level of difficulty it holds.
So the answer to the question of whether you should use hand sewing and machine sewing will not be exact because a myriad of factors come together to decide. In this comprehensive article, we are delving into the subject and will help you make a better decision.
Is Hand Sewing Better Than A Machine?
Both the options are good; it all depends on the kind of tasks you have taken upon. For instance, if you are fixing tears and patches, hand sewing is sufficient.
However, if you have larger projects to work on, then you should consider machine sewing. So the decision between hand sewing and machine sewing is based on how relevant the technique is for your projects.
Differences Between Hand Sewing And Machine Sewing
There are several differences between hand sewing and machine sewing. If you have any confusion about their functionalities and results, check the following information.
You can find out the critical differences of hand and machine sewing on the basis of several classifications, such as:
1. On The Basis Of Usability
If you’re a beginner, hand sewing would be the best option for you. This process needs only two things: needle and thread. If you want to practice sewing and gradually develop your skills, hand sewing is the best way.
It’s a great way to enhance your skills in sewing. For complicated stitches, you have to run the stitch, thread the needle to tie a knot at the end.
In a sewing machine, you can perform advanced stitches and enhanced skills. If you are sewing by hand for a long time and want to adopt more skills, machine sewing is the best option for you.
You can take orders in bulk and perform the sewing in your machine. It is best in use for people who have achieved excellence in hand sewing and are ready to take on more challenges.
2. On The Basis of Convenience
If you’re sewing by hand, you may not feel comfortable. At first, you will learn many skills about sewing and how to use threads. But what if you start getting orders in bulk? You cannot perform quick and effective service to complete your projects on time. You may feel inconvenience in sewing by hand after a certain point in time.
On the other hand, sewing machines enable great convenience. If you’re acknowledged and adapted to the use of machines and how to use threads and presser foot, you will feel machine sewing is a highly convenient way to finish your sewing projects on time.
3. On The Basis of Spacing
In hand sewing, you will have to keep spaces between each stitch. If you maintain spaces between each stitch, it will act as the empty side of the stitch on the other side of your seam. These skills will help you to sew better.
In machine sewing, you won’t have to keep any spaces between the stitches. You can perform a running stitch with no spacing criteria. This will save you some time compared to hand sewing.
4. On The Basis of Length And Color
If you are used to handling sewing, you will get stitches of uneven length. If you are too excellent in your job, you can perform even length stitches, but that’s very rare. In hand sewing, you can use one colour thread for both sides of the seam.
Compared to hand sewing, if you sew in machines, you will get stitches of even length. This will be a plus point for you to meet market demands. Additionally, you can use multiple colours for stitching the front and back of the seam.
5. On The Basis Of Precision And Professionalism
In hand sewing, you have complete control over small projects and decorative craftworks. You can decide where and how much length of stitches to go and how you want to attach it with the fabric. You have the precision to perform stitches in your wish.
In machine sewing, you have lesser control over your stitches. You cannot perform unique stitch patterns of your wish. This process is best for large and bulk projects, where you won’t have to worry about too much precision.
If you sew by hand, you will face difficulty in maintaining professionalism with stitch length and width. You cannot perform a straight lockstitch with even measurements by hand.
Comparatively, machine sewing is best for the professional outlook of your projects. You can perform running stitches for crucial projects like sports dresses, etc.
Similarities Of Hand Sewing And Machine Sewing
Not only are there differences, but there are several similarities between hand sewing and machine sewing. This next information has been classified and will help you to find out the top similarities.
1. Use For Back Stitching
You can perform back stitches for embroidery and other fabrics by hand sewing and machine sewing. If you choose to backstitch by any of these methods, you will achieve a fine stitch line to outline the shapes of your embroidered project.
This utility stitch can be performed on machine and hand with the same effective, durable and permanent attachment of two or more fabrics. If you want to save time and do lots of embroidery projects in a day, you can choose machine sewing.
2. Use For Basting Stitches
You can perform basting stitches by both hand and machines. You can sew long and easily remove stitches by your hand efficiently. This stitch procedure helps you to temporarily join fabric for multiple reasons, like seaming.
Similarly, you can use your sewing machine for basting stitches in place of pins. It helps you to reduce the cost of ball pins and sew items in bulk, such as zippers.
3. Use For Button And Zipper Sewing
You can sew buttonholes by machine and hand. If you choose to sew buttons by hand, you can give more attention to precise finish work. You can also sew zippers by hand with a less visible seam.
In machine sewing, you can sew the same buttonhole with neatness and great calibration. You may not be as precise as hand sewing, but you can save your time if sewing in bulk. Similarly, zippers can be best stitched on a machine for their running stitch facility and presser foot.
4. Sew Anywhere
Hand sewing projects enable you to bring your simple kit and equipment with you to any place. You can carry your needle and threads in a box while travelling outside. This portable option facilitates you to work on your embroidery projects on holidays too.
Similarly, with the latest and new sewing machines in the market, you can carry them wherever you want. There are several portable sewing machines that can be packed in a box and carried with you. Even press footers can be assembled and disassembled nowadays.
3 Hand Sewing Techniques For Beginners
Beginners may find hand sewing challenging, which may be true. Every new project you embark on can seem difficult. Here are some tips that will help you get the hang of hand sewing:
Technique 1: Choose The Right Needles For Hand Sewing
Needles for hand sewing are available in different forms and shapes. Generally, the bigger the size number, the smaller the needle will be. Additionally, finer needles are used with delicate or thin fabrics. On the other hand, for thicker fabrics, you should use heavier needles.
Technique 2: Threading The Hand Sewing Needle
Threading a needle can turn out to be a frustrating task. However, many tips and tricks can make this process less frustrating. For instance, you can place a white background behind your needle so that you can easily see the thread. Moreover, you can also cut the thread using sharp scissors at a 45-degree angle to protect frayed ends.
Ensure to stiffen the ends of the thread with wax, water, or saliva. If these tricks do not work out, you can use a needle threader tool. The tool sometimes comes with sewing needles set, and they are quite easy to use. Here’s how to use the needle threader:
- Hold the handle of the threader in the dominant hand. Hold it between the forefingers and thumb.
- Put in the wire through the needle’s eye until it reaches the handle of the needle.
- Move the thread through the wire that is shaped like a diamond. Continue to hold the thread in one hand.
- Thereafter draw your needle away from the handle of the threader and back up the wire. Consequently, the thread will pass through the needle’s eye and thread the needle.
Technique 3: Placing A Knot At The End
Tying a knot at the end of the thread is important to get a secure thread. And you just need a bit of practice to get the perfect knot. Here is a way you can create a knot at the end:
- Position the end of the thread on the pointer finger while holding it with the thumb.
- After that, wrap the thread on the pointer finger a few times.
- Using the thumb, move the thread loops to the end of the finger. This way, the loops will enfold each other as they pass through the end of the finger.
- Lastly, tie the loose knot to the thread’s end. After that, tug on the thread to secure the knot.
Tools For Hand Sewing Stitches
Following are the tools that you need for hand stitching:
- Needles: Needles are available in different sizes and types. Some of the types of needles include all-purpose sewing needles, embroidery needles, quilting needles, etc. Depending on the project, you can check what needle is best suited.
- Thread: From cotton, polyester to waxed and nylon thread, there are plenty of options for the thread. The choice of thread will depend on the kind of project you are working on.
- Cutting Tools: Depending on what you are sewing, you will need to choose cutting tools. Some of the basic cutting tools include:
- Fabric shears
- Thread snippers
- Roller cutters
- Pinking shears
- Sewing Pins: These pins come in handy as they hold the fabric together temporarily. It will ensure that you get more precise seams, trims, darts, length, etc.
- Measuring Equipment: You need a ruler and measuring tape to make accurate measurements of the fabric. You will also need fabric markers to trace the patterns.
- Seam Rippers: It will help you to easily undo stitches in the wrong place.
- Tweezers: It is used to loosen the threads from the seam while unpicking.
- Iron: You need iron to open the seams, create folds and creases, and press the hems. The tools enhance the finish of the clothing and reduce the bulk.
Types Of Hand Sewing Stitches
Here are some of the basic stitches that are commonly used in hand sewing projects:
It is the most common form of stitches that sewers use when joining the seams. It is because backstitches provide stronger seams as opposed to
Running Stitches: Sewers use this form of stitches when they have to join the seam fabric together over the seam line. However, it does not offer as strong seam sewn as you would get from backstitches. Additionally, running stitches also work great as decorative stitches in needlework crafts and patchwork.
This form of stitching is very much similar to running stitch. However, the main difference is that basting stitches are longer in length. Moreover, they hold two pieces of fabric together temporarily. Therefore, you can take out the stitches easily later on. Basting stitches are also used to make gathering on the fabric. It is commonly used in quilting and tailoring.
It is also known as invisible stitch or ladder stitch. Sewers use this kind of stitch to close up the holes in the ripped seam or stuffed toys. Furthermore, it is also used to stitch the hem of a garment. Make sure you use thread in a similar color to the fabric. It will allow the seam to blend perfectly into the fabric.
It is a quick stitch to sew in comparison to the slip stitch. However, the workmanship in this form of stitching is compromised. It leaves a line of tiny diagonal stitches over the right side of your fabric.
It is among the stronger stitches to secure the gem and keep the side invisible. Rather than creating a row of plain diagonal hem stitches, catch stitches design a row of zigzag patterns.
Hemstitch creates a row of diagonal stitches to hold the folded edge of the fabric. This type of stitch is invisible on the right side of your fabric. It makes hem stitch excellent for the blind hem.
Sewers use this stitch to sew the fabric’s edges. It not only gives the edges a nice look but also makes them stronger. Blanket stitches are among the most popular stitches that people prefer for edging.
What Personality Traits Do Hand Sewers Have?
Hand sewers have two most important personality traits within them. These traits help them to succeed with their sewing projects with efficiency and precision. These traits are:
Most of the hand sewers are artistic individuals with a keen interest and passion for design and patterns. This trait helps sewers to use their creative, unique and original skills in work. Their self-expression enhances the quality of their work.
A hand sewer with an artistic approach and traits will surely flourish well in this field. You can expect a lot for sewers with this trait.
Realistic And Hardworking
Hand sewers tend to be realistic, which helps to give the best input in their projects. They love to work outside and follow the latest trends and designs to portray innovative yet realistic projects.
Sewing is no easy task. Every hand sewer has a hardworking personality trait. This helps them to complete bulk projects in time. This trait also helps them to give dedication to your work.
Is Hand Sewing As Strong As Machine Sewing?
Many people prefer to sew by hand. Sewing by hand is crucial for you to master in this field. Obviously, you have to keep patience and practice, but if done right, you will become more comfortable with hand sewing.
Yes, machine stitches are more substantial, but if you’re well-experienced with hand sewing, results will be almost the same. If you’re confident with your hand sewing skills, you can handle any projects with stronger stitches and sharpened skills.
Hand sewing is an artistic skill that can be upgraded with your daily practice to reach excellence. You won’t have to worry about stronger stitch performance, as hand sewing can give better results too.
The best solution is the combination of hand sewing and machine sewing. You can use machines for straight-line stitches and hand sewing for complicated yet unique stitch patterns.
Projects for Hand Sewing and Sewing Machines
With a sewing machine, you can do practically anything, but hand sewing ensures that you dont leave out any crucial detail in your stitch.
There are various projects that both techniques offer more compatibility:
For Hand Sewing
- Minor repairs: Hand sewing gives puts you in charge of your stitching, so if you’re trying to patch a tiny tear or re-attach a button, hand sewing is the way to get there.
- If you want to make embroidery or a cross-stitch, then hand stitching is the way to go. Even though sewing machines come with embroidery functions, there is a kind of imperfection that comes with hand-embroidered pieces, which makes it stand out from the ones made using sewing machines.
- If you want a new patch on your backpack or jeans, or you’re adding a decorative appliqué, the best choice here is hand stitching, because you have the most flexibility to add the item as you want.
- Attaching a lining, sewing a quilt, or even stitching a hem, all of this project is better carried out using invisible stitch as it gives you the best seamless and invisible stitches.
- It is more convenient to attach buttons and zippers by hand. This ensures that the zipper is placed on the right spot.
For Sewing machines
- The most common project suitable for a sewing machine is making long garments. Even though you can stitch a garment by hand, but this can be quite time consuming, and the end product is usually unprofessional, unlike using machines. Sewing machines allow you to finish off seams with a zigzag stitch, and this prevents them from fraying with a clean straight stitch to give the best look to your piece.
- Seam allowances, the width between the seam and the raw edge of the fabric, are essential when quilting, since a precise seam allowance will ensure that all the patchwork squares and triangles are correctly matched. Sewing machine lets you measure the seam allowance to perfection.
All the points I have highlighted above differentiates hand sewing from using sewing machines. The type of work, level of professionalism, and time-frame play a more prominent role when you want to decide as it concerns choosing between the two.
Can Your Hand Stitch Be Similar to a Sewing Machine?
If you want to look completely good at your hand sewing, I will advise you to learn two stitching techniques: the basting and backstitching technique. Basting resembles a line of dashes with gaps in between. They are typically temporary stitches that show you where material should be sewn or trimmed. Backstitching is a full line, and you can do a row of stitches. A stitch should start exactly where you just finished. These two techniques, when mastered to perfection, makes your hand sewing works similar to you using a sewing machine.
What is a topstitched seam?
Topstitching is a sewing method in which the stitching line is positioned to be seen either decorative or functional from the outside of the garment. This technique is most widely used on the edges of garments such as necklines and hems, where it helps to hold facings in place and also provides a smooth finish.
Can you stay stitch by hand?
Yes, you can, but you should ensure that you sew with a small tight stitch. You stitch on each side from the edge to the middle so that you keep the sides equally balanced and do not pull the fabric at all. Stay stitches remains on the fabric after stitching.