How to Use a Sewing Awl to Repair Outdoor Gear

First, I bought myself a Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl ($14.) This is a very sharp sewing needle that is tough enough to punch through heavy material. It locks into a handle containing a spool of waxed polyester thread, although other thread types and thicknesses can be used.

Speedy StitcherSpeedy Stitcher

To use the awl, you thread the needle with about 6-8 inches of thread and push it slowly and carefully through both layers of cloth or material you want to sew together. Take care, the needle is very sharp and you want to avoid self-inflicted damage by pushing it through your finger or hand.

One through, you pull the thread through the fabric, pull the entire needle out and then push it back through again a little farther along the area you want to sew. To make your first lock stitch retract the needle slightly so that a loop of thread forms along side it (and running back down to the spool.) Pass the free end of the thread you pulled through earlier, through the loop and pull tight at both ends. Continue to do this for the length of the repair until the last hole. Pull 3 more inches of thread from the spool through it, cut the thread, tie it to the other end of the string using a square knot, and trim the excess thread.

Final Repair (Interior)Final Repair (Interior)

The stitching gets much better with very little practice.

Final Repair (Exterior)Final Repair (Exterior)

That’s all there is to it. I was able to teach this to myself and repair three loops in less than 90 minutes. This repair saved me at least $150 and I can think of lots of other repair and customization projects where I can use this awl in the future.