Monday, July 04, 2011

Cut the Right Amount of Thread... Every Time!

Did you know you can cut the right amount of thread every time? Not so long that your arm has to stretch a mile just to pull it through the fabric. And not so short that you barely have enough to sew a few stitches before it's time to make a lock stitch.

Here's the trick.

No matter how big or small your child is, if she holds a spool of thread in one hand and pulls the tail end of the thread with the opposite hand until her arms reach from side to side, it will always be exactly the correct length for her to sew! 

No arching the belly though, or the thread will be too long and the tickle monster might get her!

Isn't that nifty, though? And, no matter how much she grows, if she measures thread this way it will always be right.

This trick works for sewing with a double thread, which you do as a beginner. And by double thread I mean that the thread is passed through the needle's eye and both tail ends are knotted together with one knot.

Thread knotted double is easier for beginners to sew with than having a knot in just one tail because it can't slip out of the needle.

Here are the 5 steps to teach your child so that she can cut her own thread.

1) Hold the SPOOL of thread loosely, but securely in one hand.
2) Hold the TAIL END of the thread in the other.
3) Pull your hands away from each other until both arms are comfortably outstretched, side to side.
4) Carefully place both the tail end of the thread and the spool on the work surface.
5) Cut thread close to the spool with thread snips. Not too close to the spool, though, or you may accidentally cut the thread on the spool.

A word about choosing thread for kids.

In the beginning, I always use DMC brand Cebelia thread, size 30 with kids. Sometimes the store calls it crochet cotton. The name doesn't matter, it's the size 30 that's important. 

This thread is so smooth that it passes easily through felt, my fabric of choice for kids. 

And because it is stiffer than regular thread, threading a needle is easier.

Also, it doesn't tangle and knot as much as regular thread, but when it does, the knot is usually easier to pick out.

If you know of another good thread for beginners, please share in the comments. 

Happy stitching!


  1. sue, I am so glad to have found you. My little granddaughter who is 4 just gets starry eyed at the thought of sewing. Though my daughters never really found much enjoyment in sewing, she loves to sit on my lap and sew with me. Thanks so much for leaving a comment after the one thing one week challenge.I look forward to all the tips that you will be sharing. so nice to be cyber friends. I love the tip for today. sorry to be so slow to respond after your comment, my computer on some days has a mind of it's own. Janita

  2. Hi, Janita!
    I hear you about the computer.

    I hope that you and your granddaughter spend many contented hours stitching together.

    Thank you for leaving a comment!

  3. YAY! I am so happy to find this website. I have been teaching hand sewing to our homeschool children for the last year and the tips you give are fantastic. I wish I had found your website before, but I am going to dig through my crochet thread before next week and incorporate that. I can't wait to browse through your website and find more tips!

    1. I'm so glad you found the blog helpful, arandolph! Good luck implementing the tips in your homeschool enrichment program. :)

  4. Hi,
    I am currently in charge of stitch craft at school. There are 44 children all aged 6 -7 years old. I tried french knitting but they dont get it so easily and they land up being frustrated. Im going to try sewing buttons for a while. Do you have any super amazing ideas that I can do and doesnt cost so much money? This is quite a challenge for me!

  5. This is such a useful tip Sue! I'm going to try it myself! So far none of my grand babies will sit still long enough to sew, but I am hoping!

    1. I'm happy it will be useful to you, Wendy. Some kids are more sporty and active than others, and I say power to them! I do hope that you will be able to sew with one of them some day though. xo


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