Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Handsewing and Couture Techniques

 This afternoon, I was happily stitching away in the sunshine when it dawned on me that I should do a blog post about hand sewing.  So, here it is!

My plan was to work on the lining today. I was about to start, but was concerned that the seam allowances on this curved seam may move around underneath the lining.  This is a problem because an unsightly bump in the wrong spot would be, umm, not so good.  So I decided to secure the seam allowance with a catch stitch.  This is easily done because I've underlined the bodice with cotton muslin.  So the stitches go through only the underlining, and seam allowance and hence are completely invisible from the right side, and when the lining goes in they won't be visible at all.

Here is a close up.   If you look at the first photo, you can see that once the seam allowance is secured it lies nice and flat.  And this didn't take too long at all.

The skirt is underlined with silk organza; now my favourite underlining for skirts!  I used my lazy method of attaching the organza to the fabric then trimming to match the fabric piece.   I usually draw the grain line on the back of the fabric and align it with the silk organza's grain line. See my Vintage Skirt blog post to see how I did the underlining.  I was in the zone while doing this skirt, so I forgot to take a photo of the underlining process. 

 I used silk thread and a running stitch.

I recently ordered Claire Schaeffer's book "Couture Sewing Techniques" and I've been ravenously devouring the information it contains!  This is a really high-quality sewing book that provides a whole new level of knowledge and information.  I love the attention to detail and the dedication to quality craftsmanship that the couture sewing world strives for.  I also love the fact that all these techniques are low tech and accessible to the everyday home sewer.  All you need is a needle, thread, and fabric.

I remember when I was very young (maybe about 9 or 10 years old),  I found some fabric in the attic and I was determined sew a dress.  I remember my mom telling me that I need to use a sewing machine if I wanted to sew a dress.  But, I didn't know how to use the sewing machine yet. (And I don't think we had one anyways.)  "I'll do it by hand," I told her.  She shook her head.  I didn't care.  I just wanted to do it to see if I could do it.   I also had no pattern. I draped the fabric and imagined what the pieces should be.  I cut the fabric into a skirt and a tank bodice and sewed the pieces together by hand.  I was so excited to see how it would work out.  I'm sure it was not very pretty, but it was a good first experience driven by curiosity. 

So, in a way, going back to hand sewing kind of brings me back to that first memory and experience of sewing as a child.  The excitement of creating something with only my two hands is an amazing feeling.

Now, the dress I'm working on is sewn by machine.  I just used a couple couture techniques so far.  One day I'd like to make perhaps a lace evening gown completely by hand; maybe some beading on the bodice.  Just an idea!

Well, I guess you got a sneak peak of my upcoming dress!  I'm taking my time with it, but it should be done soon.

Thanks for reading my blog and

 Happy Sewing!

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