There’s nothing worse than going to sew and realizing you don’t have a needle. Whether you are almost finished with your newest creation or out in public with a ripped shirt, you may feel hopeless without a sewing needle. Never fear, though, because there are some innovative hacks to replace your everyday sewing needle that will make you feel like your neighborhood Macgyver.
Here are 5 creative ways to sew without a needle:
1. Make a Homemade Sewing Needle
One of the most straightforward ways to replace your sewing needle is to make your homemade version.
Sewing needles aren’t that complicated when you think about it. You have one end in which the thread goes through and another end sharp enough to poke through the fabric. All you need to make a homemade sewing needle is an object you can tie one end of the thread through and another side that can penetrate the fabric you are using.
Though you may traditionally put your thread through the hole and tie off the shorter end, your sewing project will still work if you tie the thread directly to the object.
You can make a homemade sewing needle with an object that can poke through the fabric you are using and a way to tie a thread to said object. You can use a bobby pin, paper clip, safety pin, or even a fishing hook in a pinch.
Here are three common items around the house that can be improvised into a sewing needle:
1. Using a Safety Pin as a Homemade Sewing Needle
A safety pin is probably the best household object to use as a sewing needle if you are in a rough spot. This will take a little more effort on your end, but if you cannot get to the store and need something sewn immediately, it may be worth it.
You will need to get a pair of pliers to make this hack work.
Take the head of the safety pin off with the pliers or cut the side with the head off completely. String your thread through the hole at the bottom of the safety pin, where the two sides meet. Then, use the pliers to squeeze the hole at the bottom of the safety pin as close to shutting as possible.
Now, you can use it as a sewing needle, though the hole will rip through the fabric more than a needle would, depending on how small you can get it.
2. Using a Fishing Hook as a Homemade Sewing Needle
Fishing hooks actually make pretty good sewing needles. However, we wouldn’t suggest doing this on your favorite blanket or pair of jeans.
This hack could, however, come in handy when you are camping. If you have a hole in your tent you need to patch or even a hole in a sail that needs fixing immediately, you can use your fishing hook, and possibly even fishing wire, to fix something quick.
Just tie the thread or wire into the little hole on the fishing hook and poke the sharp edge through the fabric you are trying to sew together. You will need to tie the thread off in the first two holes to keep it from just falling straight out.
3. Can I Sew With a Paper-Clip?
There are many great ways to use paper clips in your sewing projects, and though using them as a homemade needle isn’t their best use, you can do it.
You can sew with a paper clip if you bend your paper clip into a straight line. Then, tie the thread to the end and bend the safety pin slightly to protect the thread from falling off. Lastly, you’ll sew it through whatever you are stitching.
This will make larger holes than it would if you had a sewing needle, so make sure to tie the thread accordingly.
Again, this isn’t something you’re going to want to do on Nana’s one-of-a-kind quilt or on a blouse you want to keep forever. But if you’re really in a pinch and need something sewn together quickly, a paper clip will do it.
4. Can I Sew With a Bobby-Pin?
Last on our list for possible homemade sewing needle candidates is the bobby pin. Sewing with it is possible, but not pretty.
Bobby-pins are commonly used in sewing projects to hold two pieces of fabric together, in the same way, a pin or fabric clip would work. But if you can finagle it just right, you can also use a bobby pin as a sewing needle.
You can sew with a bobby pin. Tie the thread to the end of the bobby pin with a little ball on the end. Make sure it’s tied really tight, so the thread doesn’t just fall off the pin. Then, you can bend the bobby pin open to make a straight-ish line and poke the bobby pin through the fabric.
This will make for way bigger holes than you would have gotten with a needle, so you will need to tie off the thread as soon as it makes its way through the first hole.
2. Use an Adhesive
There’s nothing wrong with using an adhesive. Fabric glue or adhesive, which is a special classification of glue in its own right, is made especially for the tiny fibers on fabric.
Sewing adhesive comes in glue, tape, liquid thread, or even tiny dots. They are typically activated with a liquid or by applying intense heat, like iron. The adhesive is a simple way to get two pieces of fabric together without having a sewing needle on hand and usually doesn’t require much.
Many of us feel like we are cheating if we use fabric glue, but this is the furthest thing from the case. Using an adhesive can make sewing ends together easier, ensure our garments maintain their integrity, and more.
How Adhesive Keeps Fabric Together
Fabric adhesive will keep fabric together if the instructions are followed. They may not hold up well to hot wash cycles or strong force. Let’s now look at the best practices when it comes to washing.
Here are 4 good products, all available on Amazon, that can take the place of sewing:
Tear Mender works nearly instantly, and only takes three minutes between application and wear. You can also wash anything with Tear Mender on it within 15 minutes of applying the liquid adhesive.
The Tear Mender goes on almost like nail polish and is so powerful it can connect leather and fabric. This product creates a permanent bond, with no sewing, needles, or ironing required.
The VELCRO brand sticky back fabrics are just as great as you’d expect from the company that made velcro. These sticky back strips come on a roll, so you can extend the roll and cut it to as long or as short as you want.
You don’t even need an iron for this product, as all you need to do is set it where you’d like the fabrics to stick and press it down. Since it’s velcro, you can easily stick and un-stick. Just make sure to cold wash and tumble dry on low.
Liquid thread is the OG in the no-needle sewing game and was seen on TV in one of those late-night infomercials.
The thing about Liquid Thread, though, is that those who saw it and started using it on TV saw its potential immediately. Now, it’s a commonly used sewing product. It’s received rave reviews on Amazon, and the process seems easy enough.
Gorilla is a top-notch adhesive in any category. Their products bond woods, metals, you name it. Their spray adhesive is equally as effective on fabrics and not just clothing or garment fabrics.
You can use gorilla spray adhesive to reupholster your furniture or glue fabric to wood.
The downside to using this product or making this your on-hand fixer is that it won’t stitch clothes the way a velcro adhesive might. This will work best if you are going to use a patch or need to put two pieces of fabric together in a pinch.
3. Use Clips, Twist-Ties, or Safety Pins
Though this tip doesn’t necessarily “sew” your clothes or projects together, it’s a good fix in a rush.
Using clips, twist ties, or safety pins can turn a fashion emergency into an easily solvable problem quickly. That way, when you’ve made your way to the store to get a needle, you have two pieces of unaltered fabric that are ready to be sewn.
Safety pins aren’t a permanent solution, but they were invented for a reason. If you are in a pickle and need to get two pieces of fabric together, safety pins will do the truck.
To make it less noticeable, you can clip the safety pin from the inside so that only a sliver of the needle is sticking out. And if you do have some thread, see above for a way to turn your safety pin into a sewing needle.
Using Twist Ties
If you just so happen to have twist ties on hand but very little else, this may be your best bet to getting two pieces of fabric together without a needle. Rachel Ray hosted Marie Claire Fashion Editor Zanna Roberts Rassi as a guest on her show who shared some fabric hacks, including getting a button on a sweater with just a zip tie.
You can watch the video here:
If you have a knitted sweater or other porous fabric, twist ties or even bobby pins can help hold the fabric together as a temporary fix.
Using clips might be the best way to get fabric together if you have no homemade sewing needle, no safety pins, and no adhesive.
You can simply find whatever clips you have in your house, whether tiny butterfly clips for a child or a large claw clip for an adult, and clip the two pieces of fabric together. This won’t hold forever, but it will get you out of whatever sticky situation you’re in.
4. Tie The Fabric
Instead of sewing, have you considered tying?
Tying garments has been a long-kept tradition, especially in different cultures. In fact, women have been using fabric and different knotting methods to wear their clothing for centuries. Using your creativity to take a piece of fabric and make it into a dozen different garments will work as a creative alternative to sewing, though it may take a little more critical thinking on your end.
This video shows 44 ways to take one scarf and make it into dresses, shirts, and more:
Though the video highlights a scarf, this can all also work with a large piece of fabric.
If you have a piece of clothing ripped in half or in need of stitching, and find yourself in a compromising position, you might think about how you can make that clothing into something else by just typing or moving some of the fabric around.
5. Use Fusible Webbing
Fusible webbing is also a viable solution if you don’t have a needle or don’t want to attempt sewing with one.
Fusible webbing is typically activated by heat, but each pack has its own instructions. You’ll want to follow the directions thoroughly, as this video describes:
This means making sure you are using the right temperature, not sliding your iron, but rather picking it up, and making sure that you are not putting your glue on the sticky side.
There are many ways you can sew without a needle. If you are in a tough situation and need pieces of fabric sewn together quickly, there are household objects you can use or ways to fuse your fabric together, but it won’t get you as great of a result as your regular sewing needle.
Additionally, if you are interested in making clothes but not in learning how to sew, you might consider finding a good adhesive that works for you.
For more, don’t miss What Is the Strongest Sewing Thread?
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