Handsewing skillz

9 Jan

Or, in which we discover a 6-metre hem is longer than the tenuous thread of my patience.

How much handsewing do you do? Sometimes it feels like I spend more time handsewing a garment than I do sewing at the machine. Contrary to my expectations, once I started dedicating more time to improving my sewing, I spent more time handsewing than I ever did before. Some things just look better when sewn by hand:

• sewing down waistband facings on the inside of a garment.

• attaching linings to waistlines, hems or sleeves

• fiddly zips. This is a new one; I realised I could really make a zip go in nicely if I sewed it in by hand, especially on tricky fabric.

• hems. Especially big, circle skirt hems where there is a lot of fabric to gather in. My machined hems never look very flash! It takes a while, but if you sit down with a good (long!) movie, I think the end result is worth it. My sewing machine has an attachment for a rolled hem, I just need to lose my fear of it!

What do you find yourself handsewing, even though there are quicker ways of doing it? I know some sewing machines have a tool that sews on a button for you, but I can’t imagine doing it any other way than with a needle and thread!


9 Responses to “Handsewing skillz”

  1. Susannah January 9, 2010 at 11:26 pm #

    Most of the things I sew by hand I do that way because it’s quicker in the long run than doing it by machine, screwing it up, ripping it out and doing it again (and again, and again…), like tacking zippers, hemming skirts and pants and yes, facing waistbands.

    I don’t mind a bit of hand sewing. Actually, I look forward to the hand sewing part of any project, because it’s an excellent excuse to curl up on the couch with an episode or three of Mad Men. But a 6-metre hem! That’s like all of season 3!

    • whipstitchsewing January 9, 2010 at 11:45 pm #

      Heehee, maybe it only felt like six metres! Some of those circle skirt hems get pretty huge though… or something with lots of ruffles. Mad Men is great for sewing to, isn’t it? All the pretty dresses…

  2. Sandra January 10, 2010 at 3:13 am #

    You’d be amazed at how little you have to hand stitch if you get creative with the machine.

  3. Miss Emmi January 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    I can only do zips by hand! Can’t get one to lie flat when machine sewing for the life of me. I love sitting down in front of the TV with some handsewing though, it’s very relaxing! Has to be one I’ve seen before though, otherwise I won’t be able to look down!

    • whipstitchsewing January 10, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

      Agreed! Also nothing in another language, because you can’t sew and read subtitles at the same time.

  4. Shannon January 12, 2010 at 1:25 am #

    Before I get into my answer, I would like to second WSS thought on foreign/subtitled movies and sewing. Terrible mix. Your fingers will never forgive you for how many times you will stick them.

    Also thought, I am incapable of machine sewing zippers. Every singer time the zipper goes all wonky at the bottom and bubbles out and it looks like a kindergartner did it or could do better. I am not so fantastic at hand-stitching mainly because I get distracted and make a weird stitch. I think I will start hand sewing my hems on circle skirts though because they always shift whilst I machine stitch them. Perhaps I simply need more practice?! haha.

  5. Abi January 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    I mostly don’t mind handsewing, though usually I’m too rushed to do it, I must admit! So far my biggest lot of handsewing was the hems (bottom and sleeve) on my old Jedi robe. I think it would have been about 4-6m by the time I was done, and being a slightly curved hem it was hell to sew! I would take it with me to Uni and sew on the bus, in breaks and sometimes during my lectures (shhh only the boring ones :P).

    The main things I hand sew are hems, facings and linings. Zips I will do by machine, but that’s something we were taught at Tafe and invisible zips are a cinch with the proper foot! When I run out of time to do hems and I don’t want a visible stitching line, I use hemming tape. So far I’ve used it for my Sleeping Beauty skirt and a silk dupion skirt (both HUGE hems!). It’s not terribly noticeable, but you do have to be careful with what fabrics you use it with.

  6. Jodi January 16, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    I usually hand sew most of my hems on dresses – it just looks so much nicer. If I’m in a huge rush and want to wear the dress that night then I will do it by machine.

    I never really thought about putting zips in by hand. I think I will give that a try (I am forever redoing zips.)

  7. Pavlina February 5, 2010 at 7:09 am #

    Same here, sewing waistbands on the inside, I also hand sew blouse facings, I hand sew some long sleeve blouse/dress sleeve hems, I had baste all tricky areas (zips, etc), handsew most hems (except for “casual” looks) 🙂

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