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Historical Information on Sewing

Tools and Equipment

How To Thread a Needle

How to Tie a Knot

How to Make A Basting Stitch

How to Make a Running Stitch

How to Make a Seam

How to Sew on A Button

Casting on

Knitting On

Basic Knitting




Casting off

Round Knitting

Historical Information

Tools and Equipment

Make a Loop

Chain Stitch

Single Crochet


Vintage Stitches Learn How To

This section provides you with the basics of how to do the beginning stages of sewing, knitting and crocheting. Once you have mastered the basics there are countless ways to use your new information to create beautiful items for your family, friends and home.

Step back in time with Timeless Treasure Trunk and explore the many sewing, knitting and crochet patterns in our pattern sections and create your own stitches in time.

Historical Information Sewing Machine

The first functional sewing machine was invented by a French tailor, Barthelemy Thimonnier, in 1830. His machine used only one thread and a hooked needle that made the same chain stitch as used in embroidery. An enraged group of French tailors burnt down his garment factory and almost killed him because they feared unemployment as a result of his invention.

Isaac Singer built the first commercially successful machine in 1850. His machine used a lockstitch that Elias Howe had patented so after a legal battle Howe got to share in the profits of Singers company.

In 1857 James Gibbs patented the first chain-stitch single-thread sewing machine, Helen Augusta Blanchard of Portland, Maine (1840-1922) patented the first zig-zag stitch machine in 1873.

Tools & Equipment

Everyone needs to learn how to sew a little. Whether it is making clothing, items for your home , or the simple basics of sewing a button, threading a needle or doing a simple hem.

In my grandmother's time it was necessary for a girl to learn to sew at an early age for most of the clothing for the family and home was homemade.

Nowadays this has changed, a great many varieties of crafts use sewing as a form of creative talents that gives a sense of pride and accomplishment for everyone.

Here are the basics that one should have in a sewing basket. You will need small scissors for clipping threads. A good pair of sewing shears for cutting material. Always use separate scissors for cutting paper. Cutting paper dulls your good scissors and they need to be very sharp. A good pair of pinking shears if you are going to be doing a lot of sewing. Pinking shears are time savers and finish the seams as you cut, preventing the material from fraying. You will need assorted needles for all kinds of materials. You will need hand sewing needles and machine needles for your sewing machine. Straight pins for holding material and patterns in place. A thimble that you should wear off your third finger of your right hand to prevent poking yourself with sharp needles while sewing. A nice assortment of sewing thread including; black, white , brown, and some of the basic colors. A ruler, a pencil, and a tape measure if you making clothing or hemming pants. A tracing wheel with tracing paper to mark seam lines, notches etc. A pin cushion will make it easy to store needles and pins safely. A seam ripper to take the thread out of any mistakes you might make. An Iron and Ironing Board are a must for Sewing. Finally a nice basket or sewing box to store all your small sewing tools.

Thread a Needle

1. Cut a piece of thread about 12 inches long . Cut the thread at a 45 degree angle to facilitate easier threading. Hold your needle with the left hand holding it against the light or a white background so that the eye of the needle is visible to you.

2. Hold the thread in the right hand and push it through the eye of the needle.

3. Make a knot in the thread at the bottom.

How To Make a Sewing Knot

1. Hold the thread about 1/2" from end between thumb and forefinger, left hand.

2. Pull long end backward around finger...now pull forward.

3. Continue Rolling end through loop and off forefinger.

4. Pull end of thread down into a knot.

The Basting Stitch

Hold the needle between thumb and forefinger, eye of needle near third finger , brace needle against your finger and you are ready to sew.

Sew on the right side of the material. Keep a straight a line as possible. It is wise to use plaid or material like gingham to practice sewing on. These materials have a line to follow.

The basting stitch is mostly used to sew pieces together on a temporary basis. A Basting Stitch are usually long stitches meant to be pulled out after the item is sewen by machine. This is a great stitch to learn to hand sew with as the length of the stitch does not have to be perfect and it gives you practice in learning how to manipulate the thread, needle and material.

The Running Stitch

The Running Stitch is similar to the basting stitch but the running stitches are much smaller.

Thread a fine needle with thread and tie a knot at the end of the thread.

Sew even small stitches with little space between the stitches.

The running stitches are used for quite a few things such as making a seam, gathering material, quilting and tucking.

Practice sewing running stitches on plaid gingham material so you have a line to follow.


1. Cut 2 pieces of material.

2. Pin and baste together matching the edges of one side of both pieces of material.

3. Sew a running stitch about 1/2" from the edge of the material. Remove the pins and iron the seam open and flat.

Different Ways Of Sewing On Buttons

1. Thread a needle with strong thread and make a knot in the end. Pick a color of thread that matches the button or the material you are sewing the button on with. If you are sewing a heavy metal button or a coat button that is very heavy you can use dental floss as thread for a very firm strong hold .

2. Pick a button that matches your garment or if you have lost a button off a shirt try to find one that matches the one you have lost. Place the button on the garment and bring your needle up through the back of the material and up through one hole of the button.

3. Continue to bring your needle over the button and down through a corresponding button hole through the material. Continue to do this in any pattern you pick. The most common for a four hole button is a cross. Make 2 or 3 layers of thread in this manner until the button feels secure and not wobbly on the garment.

4. To finish take your needle between the button and the material (do not go completely through ) and wrap the thread 3 or 4 times around the button. Cut your thread.

Casting On

This term is used for placing the first row or round of knitting stitches on the needles. Hold the yarn between the first and second finger of the left hand, throw it over the thumb and first finger so as to form a loop, and pass the needle in the loop. Throw the yarn lightly round the needle, passing it through the loop, and draw up the yarn, this forms the first stitch.

Knitting On

Take the needle on which the stitches are cast in the left hand, and another needle in the right hand. Hold the left-hand needle between the thumb and third finger, leaving the first finger free to move the points of the needles. Insert the point of the right-hand needle in the loop or stitch formed on the left-hand needle, bring the yarn once round, turning the point of the needle in front under the stitch, bringing up the yarn thrown over, which in its turn becomes a stitch, and is placed on the left-hand needle.

Basic Knitting

Pass the right-hand needle into the 1st stitch of the left-hand needle, at the back throw the yarn forward, and with the first finger pass the point of the needle under the stitch to form a fresh stitch with the yarn already thrown over, as in "knitting on," but, instead of placing the newly-formed stitch on the left-hand needle, leave it on the right-hand needle, and let the stitch drop off the point of the left-hand needle. Continue until all the stitches are taken from the left to the right-hand needle, and the row is then complete.


Purling a stitch is done by taking up the stitch in front instead of at the back, throwing the yarn over and knitting the stitch as in plain knitting. Before beginning to purl, the thread must be brought in front of the needle, and if a plain stitch follows, the thread is passed back after the purl stitch is made.


Increasing or making a stitch is done by throwing the thread once round the needle and in the next row knitting it as an ordinary stitch.


Method 1: Taking up two stitches and knit them together as one.

Method 2: Take up a stitch without knitting it, called slipping, then by knitting the following stitch in the usual way, and then slipping the 1st (unknitted) over the 2nd (knitted). When it is necessary to decrease two stitches at once, slip one, knit two stitches together, then slip the unknitted stitch over the two knitted together.

Casting Off

Knit two stitches, and with the left-hand needle slip the first stitch over the second, continue this to the end of the row. The last knitted row, before casting off, should be knitted loosely.

Round Knitting

Four or five needles are used, socks, cuffs, and other tubular shapes are made this way. To knit with four needles, cast on, say, 22 stitches upon one needle, insert a second needle in the last stitch of the first, and cast on 20 stitches; proceed in a similar way with a third needle, but casting on 18 only. When this is done, knit the two extra stitches on the first needle on to the last, this makes 20 stitches upon each needle, and completes the round.

Though most of the world knows it as crochet, it is known as haken in Holland, haekling in Denmark, hekling in Norway, virkning in Sweden.

Crochet began turning up in Europe in the early 1800s and was given a tremendous boost by Mlle. Riego de la Branchardiere, who published many pattern books.

Knitting, embroidery and weaving can be dated far back in time, thanks to archeological finds, written sources and pictorial representations. No one is quite sure when and where crochet got its start, the word comes from croc, or croche, the Middle French word for hook.

Tools & Equipment

Here are the basics that one should have to begin to crochet. You will need small scissors for cutting wool. A selection of crochet hooks, depending on your project. You can buy crochet hooks in nice kits that contain all sizes and you will not be searching for a correct size each time you start a new project. Depending on the type of thread or yarn you are going to be using will determine the size of your crochet hook. If you are making things from fine crochet thread you will need smaller steel crochet hooks but if you are working with yarn you will need the larger crochet hooks. You will also need a tape measure. You will need a pattern and a yarn needle. The tools are pretty simple for crochet. There are speciality crochet hooks that are used for making different types of patterns. For example; the afghan hook . Lastly you will need something to store your project in, a basket or a yarn caddy.

Make a Loop

Practice Pieces

For each stitch that you learn directions are given for a small practice piece or swatch consisting of a foundation chain of 20 stitches and 4 rows of the stitch which you are learning.

Begin by making a loop.

1. Grasp thread near end between thumb and forefinger of left hand.

2. Make a loop by lapping long thread over short thread.

3. Hold loop in place between thumb and forefinger (first picture)

4. Hold the crochet hook as you would a pencil.

5. Put your hook through loop, catch long end of the thread and draw it through (picture 2)

6. Do not remove hook from the thread.

7. Pull short end and ball thread in opposite directions to bring loop close around the end of the hook but make sure you don't pull too tight. (Picture 3)


1.Pass your hook under thread and catch thread with hook. Look at picture .

2. Draw thread through loop on hook. This makes one chain. Do not work too tightly.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have as many chain stitches as you need. One loop should always remain on the hook.

4. Always keep thumb and forefinger of your left hand near the stitch on which you are working.

5. Practice making these chain stitches until all the stitches are even in size.


Make a foundation row of 20 chains.

1. To begin row, insert hook from the front under the two top threads of second chain. Top left picture.

2. Catch the thread with hook and draw through stitch. There are now two loops on the hook. Middle left picture.

3. Thread over and draw through two loops. One loop remains on the hook. One single (sc) is now completed. Bottom picture left side.

4. For the next single crochet, insert hook under two top threads of next stitch and proceed as before. Repeat step 2 and 3. Picture top right side.

5. Repeat until you have made a single crochet in each chain across. Middle picture Right side.

6. At the end of the row of single crochets, chain 1.

7. Turn your work so that the reverse side is facing you. Bottom picture right side.

Second Row

1. Insert hook from the front under the two top threads of second stitch from hook. First stitch on previous row.

2. Repeat steps 2,3,4,5,6 and 7 in directions for first row.

Third Row

1. Repeat second row.

Fourth Row

1. At end of fourth row, do not make a turning chain.

2. Clip thread about 3 inches from work, bring loose end through the one loop remaining on hook and pull tightly.

3. Now you have completed your practice piece in single crochet.

NOTE: In all crochet it is customary to pick up the two top threads of every stitch as you work, unless otherwise specified. When only the back stitch is picked up, a different effect is produced know as the Rib Stitch.


In crochet a certain number of chain stitches is added a the end of every row to bring work in position for the next row. Then the work is turned so that the reverse side is facing the worker. You have noticed that in single crochet, one chain only is used for turning. The number of turning chains depends upon the stitch with which you intend to begin the next row. The exact number will be indicated in the directions. The turning chain always counts as the first stitch, except in single crochet where the ch 1 only raises the work to position and does not count as the first stitch.

This is just the basics of how to crochet. Once you have mastered this, you will move on to more complicated stitches . This tutorial for crocheting was meant only to introduce you to crochet.