Hand Sewing

While we offer a few different techniques below, there are excellent tutorials focused on sewing circuits. For instance, Spark Fun offers a great intro to Sewing to a Lilypad Arduino. Below, we offer a more generalized introduction with a focus on the different stitches you might choose to use and how they can be useful within e-textiles. If you are interested in a broader set of techniques, such as pleating or sewing patterns, I enjoyed the resources provided by Colleen G Lea on the Fashion Sewing YouTube Channel.

Thread your Needle(s)

Thread through the eye of your needle. Your needle is the thing that will pull your thread through the fabric. You want to make sure to select a needle that matches the material you are sewing. For example, make sure the eye is thin or fat enough for your yarn, and make sure the needle is thin enough to pass through any other elements you might be adding (buttons, etc). Knit fabrics can generally be sewn together with a ball tip needle, as their structure opens up in little holes quite easily.

This WikiHow page has detailed instructions of how you can tie your thread.

Anchor Thread to Fabric

Knot your you thread to the fabric where you would like the stitch to start.

Select Stitch and Stitch

Select the kind of stitch you want and begin stitching.

Running Stitch

The running stitch is the most basic kind of stitch and is used often in e-textiles to run a conductive thread between components. You can run a running stitch through a single fabric, as a trace or layer two fabrics on top of eachother and bind them together with a running stitch.

How to hand stitch a running stitch by Colleen G. Lea:

Basting Stitch

The basting or tacking stitch is very similar to a running stitch but it is often uneven, pulling longer threads on one side and shorter sections on another. This is often used on hems, where you want to fold and bind a fabric to itself but not have very visible seams on the front.

How to do a Basting Stitch by Colleen G. Lea:

Back Stitch

Back stitching is a strong and common stitch for binding fabrics together, and most closely resembles a sewing machine stitch.

How to do a back stitch by Colleen G. Lea

Whip Stitch

A whip stitch is used to attach two pieces of fabric together, particularly as they are arranged side-by-side.

How to do a whip stitch by Colleen G. Lea


Couching is a technique that many e-textiles folks use to add a conductive thread to the surface of a fabric. It is an embroidery technique and is relative simple to do by hand:

Couching by hand video:


Blanket Stitch

A blanket stitch is used to decorate the edges of your fabric, and is often used on the edges of blankets.

How to do a blanket stitch by Colleen G. Lea

Anchor and Tie Off Thread

sew a second anchor stitch, as you did in the beginning, and then cut off your excess materials.

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