Perhaps not the most popular topic for the current sewers and dressmakers, but I have always found it very therapeutic. As I little girl I used to hem hankies [we were always expected to have one with us – if you were posh, two, one to use and one to keep clean – I had one, if I could find it]. Paper hankies were for the future and some teachers had a fascination with seeing how clean our hankies were. Today they would be told to get out more. But the point of this ramble was that although in sewing class I was the bane of Miss Poplett’s life and the frequent recipient of her thimble on the back of my hand, at home I could lose myself in trying to make my stitches as near invisible as possible. I never finished the school apron, or the yellow blouse with yoke and pleats with the fabric donated kindly by Mrs. Rowley but I cobbled together lots of hankies torn from odd pieces of white cotton fabric [probably old sheets or some such – so nothings changed there!].
Once I started making my own clothes on a second hand manual Singer, which sewed like a dream, I found it easier to get into the awkward bits with my needle rather than try and contort it on the machine and once I got interested in tailoring and learned how many stitches to the inch couture hands did – I was hooked again on hand sewing. Added to this is that once I gave my hand Singer away for an electric model, thinking it was time I upgraded [hah!] I have had nothing but fights with the stitch tension of every make and model of machine I’ve owned since, no matter how much or little it cost. Until last year when I bought my basic SD761 [which has Frister Rossman on it but came from Sewing Machines Direct as SD761] – which has automatic tension and I love machine sewing now almost as much as hand-sewing.
BUT, having been in bed for a couple of days with this lurgy thingy, I have been hand sewing again and found it soothing and satisfying once again. I re-did the collars and facings on two of my blouses, and re-set the hem on the camel skirt to a smoother curve. It only needed fractions of adjustment each time, but satisfying none the less. Whilst busy on my new ventures, I’d forgotten how pleasing the marking, pinning, tacking routine could be to make sure everything was in place before machining. I had got into the habit of pinning and then machining – and will probably do so again many times, but on the odd occasion the old routines are much better for the finished garment. These were made by entirely hand;- click to enlarge. – and yes, the check does match exactly at the side seams as does the back – one of the perks of hand-sewing!
First image of girl sewing ‘Lise sewing – 1866’ Wikimedia.