Pinning is another one of those things, like cutting, that should be done as precisely as possible. Luckily, it’s a pretty simple skill to master. I like to use sharp, thin Clover patchwork pins for this kind of cotton because they are precise and leave no mark.
First I pin the corners of two of my squares right sides together. I always make sure that my pins are going right into the corners of my drawn seam lines on both pieces of fabric.
Next I pulled my seam line fairly taut and pinned the middle of it. For a longer piece I would have kept adding pins in this manner. You can’t have too many pins! Don't hesitate to secure your seam with as many pins as you need.
Now it's time to sew. Hand piecing uses a simple running stitch, just in and out, in and out, in a straight line. I used 100% cotton thread, and hand-sewing needles known as sharps.
To start I took out my first pin and inserted my needle in it’s place in the corner of my drawn line. Then I back-stitched on top of my first stitch, so there was no need to tie a knot. If you look closely you can see that I did tie a knot in the photographed pieces below and have since learned that I don’t need to. I’m definitely still learning...blush!
Then I started my running stitch; in order to make the sewing faster, I kept my needle stationary and moved my fabric along it. I like to imagine my hand as a little sewing machine. I held my needle upward with my left hand. With my right hand I folded my fabric back and forth onto the needle as shown above. I made sure that every time I pierced my fabric I was going into the drawn seam line on both pieces of the fabric. I tried to keep my stitches uniformly small and even. I didn’t always succeed but they got better as I went along.
After about 5 stitches were on on my needle I pulled my needle through, making sure that I didn’t pull it too tight and pucker my fabric. I continued doing the same thing, starting with a back stitch, filling up my needle with running stitches, and pulling my needle through, until I reached the end of my drawn line. At the end of the seam I back-stitched a few times and cut my thread.
I continued piecing in this way, making strips and then sewing the strips together.
Here is the front of my finished top. It only took about two hours, which was much shorter than I’d expected!