Velcro strips are definitely irreplaceable for their functionality. The proper name for this kind of closure is actually a hook-and-loop fastener. Velcro is the name of the company that made them first (in 1950s!) and still makes them today. When they were first introduced by Velcro, hook-and-loop fasteners were hailed as somewhat of a revolution. Like a zipper, only easier!
Velcro strips can make your sewing project look professional and be easy to use, if sewn right. Hook-and-loop fasteners are great for pillows as well as all kinds of clothing or utility items. However, sewing Velcro pieces onto fabric can be a bit of a challenge. With some persistence, however, everyone should be able to do it. Today, we’ll guide you through the process of sewing velcro onto fabric by hand.
Table of Contents
What You’ll Need
- Velcro strips or some other hook-and-loop fastener
- Appropriate thread
- Sewing pins or adhesive tape
- Thimble (optional)
- Needle lubricant/beeswax (optional)
Preparing the Velcro
When you want to add a hook-and-loop fastener to your project; the first step is, of course, to get the right supplies. First, you’ll want to get the right Velcro fastener (or a similar product from some other manufacturer). For a neat look, you’ll want to get the Velcro in a color that matches the color of the garment you are sewing it onto. If the Velcro closure will be out of sight, it’s not really necessary for the colors to match, but the overall look will be more professional if they do (unless it’s a contrast color on purpose).
Hook-and-loop fasteners come in different sizes and in different versions. For a light garment, choose a softer strip since it will be much easier to sew it on; and it will look more natural. If you want the closure to be really strong, choose a heavy-duty hook-and-loop fastener. These can be really stiff, though, so keep them in mind too.
The good news is that Velcro strips can be cut anyway you want, so you don’t have to get the exact size you will need. If you need to cut the strips, try to do it gently going in between the tiny loops and hooks. In case you have some Velcro strips lying around that are not wide enough for your project, you can also use a simple trick and sew two strips one above another. The effect will be the same as using one wider strip!
Bonus Tip: The trick many professional tailors use is cutting the corners of the Velcro piece. All you need to do is cut a small piece off each corner at a 120-degree angle. This is done to prevent the tiny hooks and sharp edges from catching onto the fabric. The result is aesthetically pleasing and more durable.
Needle and Thread
Besides the Velcro (obviously), you’ll need a good hand-sewing needle. The needle should be sharp, but not too thin. Velcro can be pretty thick and rough, so using a very thin needle could prove to be quite difficult. The needle can brea, bend, and cause all sorts of problems. It’s easiest to buy a heavy-duty needle; or one that’s made for denim. However, any hand-sewing needle can work in a pinch. It helps if it’s very sharp!
When it comes to thread; you can choose anything you like (it’s nice if the color is matching), but polyester thread tends to work best due to its strength.
Bonus Tip: Even if you have never tried it before; you might want to use a thimble. Pushing the needle through the Velcro piece can be difficult, but using a thimble makes it easier and saves your fingers.
Sewing Velcro on By Hand
Before you start sewing; you’ll want to pin the Velcro piece in place. If it’s a small piece, two sewing pins will do, but if it’s larger you might need more. Instead of pins, you can also use masking tape or any kind of adhesive tape. Once the piece is in place, make sure to test the closure to see if the placement is right on both sides.
To start sewing, first thread the needle, and tie a small knot at the end of the thread. If you want to use double thread (not a bad idea); just tie the two ends of the thread together. Your thread should be around 50cm long, but could be shorter if the Velcro piece is very small. Don’t make the thread much longer than that because it can cause tangles.
To start sewing, simply push the needle from the back of the fabric and through the Velcro piece. You can start at any place you like, since you will make a complete circle with your thread. Sew close to the edge, but leave a millimeter or two of allowance on the edges, to prevent the Velcro piece from easily getting ripped out.
All you need to do after this is sew a simple straight stitch around the Velcro. A straight stitch means simply weaving the needle from front to back and then from back to front in a straight line. For best results, try to make the stitches as small as possible and uniform in length. Gently pull the needle after each stitch to even out the tension.
Once you get to the spot where you started, all you need to do is make a simple tie-off knot. You can do this by pushing the needle through, as if to make a stitch, but leaving a small loop. Then, you’ll pull the needle through this loop and create a second loop. Pull the needle through the loop again, pull thread to tighten, and cut off the excess thread. All done. All that is left to do is repeat the same process with the other side of the Velcro strip.
Bonus Tip: Use beeswax or some other needle lubricant to make the needle slide more easily. If you are using a stiff Velcro piece and/or a dense fabric, you might find this really helpful