Tuesday, July 5, 2011
(Wo)man Vs. Machine
I love hearing his tips, but I'm not really budging much from my prior beliefs. After all, if hand sewing and tailoring was good enough for Dior and Balenciaga, it's good enough for me. But this pro-machine attitude must be rubbing off on me a bit because the last dress I made I sewed entirely by machine--not a single hand stitch went into it! I even sewed the buttons on by machine. (Tip from my sample-maker friend: secure the buttons in place with Scotch tape and then zig zag them onto the garment. It works well, I admit.)
It was a good solution for this particular garment, which needed to be made quickly since it was a practice-run of a design that's going in my book. But for the "real" dress, I'm taking my time a bit more: making bound buttonholes and sewing the buttons on by hand with waxed silk thread, for starters.
I know that my penchant for hand sewing wouldn't fly in a sample workroom, and that's fine with me. There are reasons beyond speed and efficiency that people sew for themselves: to enjoy the process of making something by hand, to learn the craft of fine couture garments, and sometimes just to slow down and do something tactile. When I get preoccupied by speed, I tend to lose some of the pleasure of sewing.
But then it's also nice to have the ability to whip up a dress that's sturdy enough to throw in the wash once a week. Like most things, the solution is probably in the balance: using a melange of hand and machine techniques for each project and assessing each technique as you go along. To be a versatile seamstress, you really do need to have an arsenal of skills ready to go at any given moment.
But I would bet that most people lean one way or another--towards hand sewing or toward doing everything by machine. What do you think? Do you have a preference--or do you swing both ways?