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In Praise of Needle and Thread

Being a short person, I learned early how to put a hem in clothes. Such a simple and useful task; I didn’t know how deeply it’s rooted in being human.

Hand sewing is one of the most ancient human technologies. It literally joins us to our stone-age ancestors.

As a craft activity, hand sewing has a lot going for it. It’s easy, inexpensive, and accessible; low stress and immensely variable. Extending the life of our clothing is good for the budget and for the planet. Stitching is quiet, meditative, useful, and productive. It can range from mending a hem to creating world-class haut couture, or to making something that will be treasured by a family for generations. And for centuries, it’s provided an opportunity for hard working, busy, tired women to sit quietly for a while.

Basic hand-sewing skills – like almost anything else we can imagine these days – can be learned on the internet. For example:

More advanced skills, like darning, can also be learned online:

And finally, here are some wonderful examples of simple mending and stitching skills taken to artistic levels…

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