Dear Gertie,First of all, Anna, your poor thing! I totally understand how you feel. I was unemployed for about five months earlier this year, and my sewing machine was definitely what kept me going through many a day at home alone.
I'm a military wife and just moved from the U.S. to a new base in Norway. I brought my $500 Brother sewing machine (Best. gift. ever!) with me and committed the ultimate sin. All the other Americans here tell me the everyone blows at least one appliance on the different electricity but I hoped I would be smarter than them. (I'm guessing this is my Karma for being a snob) I plugged my machine into the wrong outlet on my transformer and turned my machine on. it made a sickening*Pop* and is dead. Sewing has been my one link to sanity. I'm a career girl who sews my own clothes because I love to, but I'm waiting on a Norwegian work permit (which can take months and months) and now I have nothing to do!
My question after entirely too much back story is, have you ever sewn a dress, or any other substantial project completely by hand? Do you know of any web sites with tips for better hand stitching? I'm hoping the sheer length of stitches to complete a dress will placate all my crazy instead of amplifying it!
Thanks for hearing out my rant,
AirForce wife extraordinaire
The idea of sewing something entirely by hand is an intriguing one. When we're so used to zipping through stitches with our machines, it's hard to remember that people used to sew clothing entirely by hand. And they still do! Last weekend, I watched the documentary Valentino: the Last Emperor. Everything in Valentino's couture workroom is done by hand. My favorite moment in the film was when Valentino's partner tells a story about the time they bought a sewing machine for the workroom, but got rid of it since no one ever used it. 100 seamstresses and everything is done by hand!
I've never completed a garment entirely by hand, but I think it would be an awesome project! Think of it as a challenge, and pretend that you're a seamstress in a couture house, and you can only use the finest hand-sewing methods.
Here's what I think you should do. Take a simple project, like a camisole or blouse with an uncomplicated design. Purchase the very, very best materials you can afford, and focus on enjoying every stitch of your couture project. Just think how treasured that garment will be when you're done!
Here are a few links I found that might help you:
- BurdaStyle's tutorial on making a strong backstitch for seams
- "Create Couture Lingerie" from Threads Magazine
- "A Hand-Picked Zipper Is Worth the Effort" from Threads Magazine
- Hand-Sewn buttonhole tutorial from CraftStylish
Good luck! Please tell us what you decide to do. Readers, do you have any thoughts or links to online resources for Anna?