Try These 6 Simple Hand-Sewing Projects You Can Do Without a Machine

Contrary to what you might believe about sewing, you don't need a machine to create your crafty projects. A needle and thread are useful tools that, along with some time and patience, will have you doing everything from mending your clothes to completing fun DIY projects.

Whether you are re-attaching a button, darning a hole, or setting out on your first sewing project, learning the basics of stitching by hand is essential. You'll want to learn several stitches (it's easy to do on YouTube) and then grab some thread or embroidery floss and practice on an old t-shirt.

Once you feel you've mastered the essentials, you are ready to get creative. Scroll down for some hand-sewing inspiration.

Scroll down for simple hand-sewing projects you will actually use.


Cookie Keychain

Follow along with this handy video by Chelsey DIY to create your own fluffy cookie keychain. With a running stitch and simple embroidered “chips,” this project will come together quickly. Gather some stuffing material and prepare yourself for all the compliments on your new accessory.


Flannel Handwarmers

Do you have an old flannel sitting in your closet? If not, grab a cheap one at a local thrift store. You will want to craft these soft hand warmers to keep you snug as the temperature drops in the fall. Make them in pairs of two with these instructions from Sadie Seasongoods.

The filling is standard white rice. While the instructions say to use a machine, hand sewing the edges with a tight running stitch is just as simple along these short seems. These sustainable, up-cycled hand warmers also make awesome gifts for family come the holidays.


Drawstring Pouch

One of the best starter projects for beginner sewers is the simple drawstring pouch. Whether you use a machine or hand sew, these bags can range in size from tiny to enormous. Use them to hold everything from earrings to your delicate laundry. All you will need is two rectangular pieces of fabric of the same size or one large, long piece you will fold in half (this saves you sewing the bottom seam). With thread, a needle, and a cord, your bag will be complete. Follow along with this video by Din Life. Although there is no narration, the steps are intuitive and well-illustrated.


Notebook Covers


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A post shared by Kelly Hill (@threelittlepickles3)

Felt is great for hand sewing. It's strong, comes in bold colors, and is more compatible with large, spaced stitches. Plus, it doesn't fray.

Pick a sheet of felt and wrap it around your favorite notebook to gauge the size. Fabric covers often fit better on notebooks with cardboard or other rigid material as the base. The felt should wrap around the vertical edges of the cover and extend two to three inches inside the book. Vertically, give yourself about a half-inch extra felt above and below the cover. Take your needle and thread, preferably in a nice accent color. Use the blanket stitch to sew the flaps of felt together above and below the cover, creating two pockets into which the cover will slip. The result is an entirely new look for your notebook, like the ones crafted by Instagram user Kelly Hill.


Felt Ornaments

Another felt hand-sewing project is ornaments. These Christmas-themed crafts are approachable. While hand sewing is more labor-intensive, it allows one to add beaded embellishments, sequins, or other embroidered flourishes. This video from the National Sewing Circle is an ideal introduction to this project. From reindeer to mittens, your tree will be festive in felt.


Easy Scrunchies

The scrunchie is yet another '90s necessity making a comeback. For your fabric, choose brilliant patterns or subtle tones—whatever matches your personal style. With fabric, elastic hair ties, needles, and thread, work alongside YouTuber Sophie Li in her easy-to-follow video. Your scrunchie will join the roster of useful, and stylish items you have learned to hand sew.


Hand Sewing Easy DIY

Photo: LACIATEK/DepositPhotos

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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