Saturday, May 8, 2010

Simple Sewing Saturdays Chapter 2

(Can you believe how intrinsic our cell phones are woven into every part of our lives? Didn't even notice that I had my phone in the background of this sewing photo shoot! They're just always there, aren't they? Funny culture, this...)

Back on track.
Hand Sewing.
Fundamental. Essential. Tricky. Signature of Sewing.
All the sewing you can do on a machine will not take the place of the much needed hand stitch to any project.
Tiny, invisible, strong, hand stitching skill is something that takes practice. You want to be on top of it before you need to do a hem or a seam repair.
And once upon a time, it was all they had.
Everything from garments to quilts, all were done with the limber, nimble fingers of a practiced seamstress.
My grandmother had a Singer treadle machine. But her forte was her hand sewing. Honestly, you could NOT see where her stitches were, they were that small. My mother, on the other hand, could barely thread a needle. Her hems were great loopy affairs with two strands of thread instead of the customary one thread invisibly doing the job.
I come somewhere in the middle of my heritage.
Gotta admit, I love hand sewing. I love watching the mix of a sharp needle and a single strand of strong thread do their magic; merging fabric into a useful item.

So today on Simple Sewing Saturdays, we shall review the rudimentary skill of Hand Sewing:
1. Pressing is always a huge help when attempting hand stitching. Especially with hems. Always press a quarter inch up, wrong sides together, from the bottom of your hem. Then, take the pressed edge and measure up to your finished length Press up the hem as well, then pin.
You now have a neat pressed edge up against the wrong side of your garment, and the needed width of hem clearly ironed to use as a gauge as you hand sew along...
2. Pick up one thread from the wrong side piece with your needle. Draw through to the other side, the pressed up 1/4 inch side; pull the needle up till tight but not bunchy. One stitch made. 3. About 1/2 inch away from where you pulled the needle through, start again; piercing the fabric on the wrong side, gathering one thread, going to the pressed side and grabbing a thread from it; pull up thread nice and secure but not too tight...

4. Continue around till you meet where you started or reach the end. Take one completed stitch and pull through the loop formed by the thread. Pull. This is your finishing knot. Maybe another knot if security is important for the item worked on.
It all comes down to the basics, doesn't it? If you don't have those, the big projects get stalled out.
Be patient with the process and watch how you improve as you go. Get comfortable with using a needle. And be picky about thread. Nothing worse than having a project irritated by knotty, snarly thread that breaks....
That ends Lesson Two of Simple Sewing Saturdays!
Can't you just wait till next week's lesson?

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