Before I had my sewing machine, I had to sew everything by hand. Not just small things like buttons or darning…those are easier by hand anyway…but re-hemming, seams, alterations. But I didn’t mind. I quite liked sewing by hand: making lots of tiny stitches, as neat as possible, and knowing the result was of my hard work. Then I took on bigger projects and it got tiresome. Long lengths of fiddly stitching, usually of thick or shiny fabrics, and I lost interest.
Then I had my sewing machine for my birthday one year. I have to admit I was actually quite scared of it! Learning about tension and pressure and fabric types, that previously hadn’t been so much of an issue. Now I had to make sure the stitching wasn’t too tight or too loose. I had to make sure the fabric didn’t slip under the sewing foot, but it still had space to move as the seam progressed. But once I started sewing, I realised how much time I had been wasting previously sewing by hand. I could make an entire dress in a day, I could do a hem of a full skirt in an hour or so, rather than it taking all evening. I made my costume for Roustabout more or less from scratch, pretty much without a set pattern. It was so easy.
There was the problem, however, that I have nowhere to keep the sewing machine out permanently. This means that if I want to do some sewing, I have to make a major effort to set it all up, sometimes just to do one small seam. I can’t just sit in front of the TV or the fire, gently sewing. The machine is bulky, noisy and needs to be flat. Not suited to a quiet night in on the sofa.
My latest project is different. I am making a dress out of ties! Twenty six ties sewn together, fitted to the waist, with two extended as straps, and one extra as a belt. Mainly picked up fairly cheaply from charity shops and car boots, the ties are loads of styles, colours and patterns. However, I digress. My point is, to fix the ties together, I have to sew them all by hand. I didn’t want to overlay them, rather lay them flat side by side. This means ‘ladder stitch’ is now very familiar to me! It takes about an hour to do one seam, and I have currently done four seams. Only twenty one left to go…:/ Actually, it sounds terrible, but it’s quite nice. I like doing something while watching television in the evening, so a bit of mindless sewing is quite therapeutic! I think the sense of achievement when I finally get them all sewn together will be immense! Well, I hope so anyway 😛
I have another project to work on before Christmas too…a belly dance costume. I cleverly decided to design it from scratch. Now am regretting it slightly…but I’m sure it will be fine 🙂 That should be a mix of machine sewn seams and handsewn embellishments. Also, it only has to look good from a distance…so I can be a bit more ‘rushed’ if necessary 😛
‘Sewing fills my days, not to mention the living room, bedroom, and closets.’ ~ Author Unknown