How to sew

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BraveAnimal
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How to sew

Post by BraveAnimal »

I need some honesty here.. Do you all handsew your costume bits? Or do you use a machine and just do the visible stuff by hand?

Are you so into this that you even use a period needle?

Have you ever been able to tell the difference? And do you comment on it when you spot someone.
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Thomas Hayman
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Post by Thomas Hayman »

i buy my clothes (well, technically i haven't yet, but i won't get into that) and find hidden sewing done by machine and anything visible by hand to be OK.

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sally
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Post by sally »

Typically I machine sew long seams where they don't show and hand sew everything else. Fine steel needles are known in Britain from the 12th (?? can't recall the exact example but its 12th or 13th and is the import of a barrel of steel sewing needles from the east) century and metal needles since way way before that, so the needles arent a big issue, though I enjoy using bone needles on wool. I have in my time completely hand sewn things and enjoy doing it, its purely a time issue for me. If I was being commissioned to make something as accurate as possible given our current understanding then I'd definately hand sew it all, but on machine woven, chemically dyed cloth it seems an academic distinction.

I do however like to see handsewn headgear. Something that close to eyelevel is more likely to have details like handstitching noticed, though any experienced tailor/seamstress will tell you that it can be hard to tell good handsewing and machine stitching apart.

IMHO, there is room in re-enactment for all levels of machine or hand sewing, just as long as you know why you chose the method you did :D

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Post by frances »

One thing that makes me cross is a good costume - but with a deep hem machine-sewn. Such as waste - and it gives such a poor finish to the outfit. A machine leaves a deep, sort of dense line. Hand-stitching leaves a row of tiny pin-pricks.

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Gandi
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Post by Gandi »

Sally said:
IMHO, there is room in re-enactment for all levels of machine or hand sewing, just as long as you know why you chose the method you did
exactly, especially as for most people it's just their hobby.

for my 2d's worth, you need to remember that very rarely are any seams in a fitted garment actually straight (which is what a machine excells at) and originally garments were 'designed' to be hand sewn, taking advantage of the many and varied tricks and methods that hand sewing allows.
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MedicKitten
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Post by MedicKitten »

I started making costumes at...um...13 (i was a weird little kid) and EVERYTHING was machine sewn. Now i'm an old lady of 21 and ONLY my long seams are machine sewn. Then everything gets flat-felled by hand anyway to make the seams pretty on the inside too. Yes, its obsessive, yes, its probably unnecessary for many people, but gosh its pretty!

(plus your seams wont ravel!)
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Post by Tuppence »

I need some honesty here.. Do you all handsew your costume bits? Or do you use a machine and just do the visible stuff by hand?
Depends - for work (costumer) I offer machine sewn, hand finished, or completely hand sewn, each priced accordingly.

For my own kit it tends to be completely hand sewn (cos I hate machining - I really hate machining! I like hand sewing (been doing it since I was tiny - I was a wierd kid too :D ). Plus I can hand sew on the way to an event (or on the train, or whatever).
Are you so into this that you even use a period needle?


At events, yes, unless am sewing a particularly fine silk that would snag - then I cheat and have a preiod needle to hand to say well I should be using this, but...
At home - God no!
Have you ever been able to tell the difference?


Most of the time.
And do you comment on it when you spot someone.
If really well hand sewn perhaps.
If machined, never, ever, ever,ever, (unless am asked to as an authenti hand finished only thing - or unless someone is mean to me first!! :twisted: ).

Debs
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temporary guy
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Post by temporary guy »

I at one point had a whole hand sewn outfit, mostly ok but the shirt was wrong, I had more time then and was more obsessed, but now a mixture of both machine stitched items and hand stitched, eg doublets main seams are machined but hose always hand sewn (I find sewing hose by hand to be easier and if given the time I actually like stitching, it is fitting and cutting I am really rubbish at.

floppy red hats are to be hand sewn at all times

needles, not that dear to get hold of, Gandi has a friend who makes beautiful brass/bronze needles for not a lot of dosh.

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Post by Wim-Jaap »

I started out with Machine sewn.
Now I am replacing stuff with blind machine stitched and other stitches handsewn.
Or i replace stitches... remove the visible machine stitches and replace them by handstitches.
I don't want to bother about the blind stitches (yet) ... they're not visible so no problem

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Shadowcat
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Post by Shadowcat »

Tuppence

I hate machining too!! But my customers, who are mostly not re-enactors, but historical dancers, couldn't afford for me to do everything by hand. Besides which, carpal tunnel won't let me! For museum work, it depends on the use. For MOPS to try and destroy, a mixture of machining and hand sewing is usually the best. Ditto underwear. For children to try on, machining all the way - they are b*ggers for picking at loose threads.

So as said in the rest of the answers - it all depends.

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Post by Drachelis »

I am another one who hates machining, hand sewing gives a far better finish. I only machine main hidden construction seams and do all the rest by hand. I offer hand finished but not completely machined garments and I am happy to make completely hand sewn garments but it is reflected in the price.

I too sit in the passenger seat to events buttonholeing, eyeletting, working loops etc - something to do on a five hour journey.

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Post by Tuppence »

For work I offer machine sewn because there are lots of re-enactors and museums (both) who either aren't bothered about hand finishing, or who can't afford it. (In fact come to think of it, all the museums I've done stuff for recently have gone for machined.)
But I do quite a lot of late stuff when machining is period correct anyway, so authenticity wise it's not an issue.

I offer hand finished because many of the earlier groups whose members buy from me insist on hand finishing as a minimum standard.

And I offer hand sewn because I like hand sewing. Apart from small stuff, I've only ever had one customer go the whole hog and order hand sewn...and that was for kiddie dressy up stuff.

It's not the look of machine sewn, or the authenticity thing I don't like - I just can't stand the doing. I can hand sew anywhere, and that includes on my nice comfy sofa, while watching dvds!! (Plus I'm better at ahnd sewing than machining anyway - been doing it longer).

And much as I hate to say it, if you use the right thread, most people these days can't tell the difference between a machined hem, and a hand stitched hem anyway - even if they can see the back. (Eg., the woman at an event who watched me stitching a seam for ten minutes then insisted it was too neat and had to be machined :cry: )

debs
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Shadowcat
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Post by Shadowcat »

I can't sit and watch TV/DVD's - chair is too soft, and the light is bad. And I can't sew in a car, or I'd throw up. Airplanes are no good - no scissors allowed, and I can't keep my arms that cramped. But trains - I once made a pair of gloves going somewhere and coming back!! (Some very interested passengers walking past!)

All my stuff is hand finished -I do a better job of hand lining a coat than I ever do trying to machine it in. However, I do confess to glueing braid on a Tudor skirt recently (not re-enactor), due to time constraints - they brought the deadline forward by three weeks! (The bodice was hand done though.)

I have never made an entirely hand sewn garments - how on earth do you cost that - I can never judge, after 40 years in the business, how long it will take to hand sew something. (It's always longer than I think, even if I have done it before.)

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Drachelis
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Post by Drachelis »

How long does it take to completely hand sew a garment? It depends on what really for most garments I can get up quite a steam with backstiching the seams - not really timed it but I would say a couple of hours for the seams of a simple kirtle and then a couple of hours for the hem and another couple for neck and sleeves. What takes the time is the working of the eyelets or button loops or buttonholes - also covering buttons. All in all I would reckon that from start to finish on a simple kirtle about 16 hours completely hand made.

I made an absolutely completely hand sewn padded jack for my other half a few years ago - machine I had wouldn't go through all the layers - hand stitched each channel - but went to bed with my hands aching - that one was a labour of love and took a couple of weeks .

As far as completely machined - I don't offer it because I cannot get the finish I wan't with a machine l am far better at hand sewing.

I have to smile at my needlework teacher all those 40 or more years ago and my mother too ,tearing their hair out at trying to teach a left hander when they were both right handed. Still because of the struggles and having to transfer everything back to front for the left hand, all the techniques seem to have sunk in.


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Post by frances »

I'm fascinated by what you are all saying.

I few years ago I did a creative embroidery C&G course. (I did not finish it because they would not let me make bits of costume as my exhibition pieces.) I did a bit of quilting with vermicelli - that is I sewed back stitch in lines wiggleling around the fabric. My teacher, who was a n old-fashioned 1950's stickeler for doing it right, thought I had done it by machine! I too prefer hand sewing. I am better at it and I can control the fabric so much better. I thought it was just because noone has ever taught me to use a machine.

Tell you what, none of us would be any good in a sweat shop making jeans!!

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Post by m300572 »

I hand sew any kit I make (not much in the total household collection) and my other half (who makes most of it) usually hand sews everything (and uses the correct construction method for the garment if the evidence exists).

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Post by Tuppence »

how on earth do you cost that
cos I do enough other stuff (my own) by hand to know how long it takes!
Tell you what, none of us would be any good in a sweat shop making jeans!!
oh god no!!!!!! I'd be useless - now don't get me wrong, my macining is far better than the average amateur, but there's no way I could work in a sweat shop.

which is why although I offer machined, most of the stuff I do is hand finished.

D
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Wiblick
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Post by Wiblick »

I go by the "if it won't be seen, machine" rule of thumb, all hems (even the 12ft ones), cuffs and necklines are hand finished. Not by me of course, I have my sister make all my kit.

Wiblick

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