Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Of Corsetry and Hand-stitching

::clears her throat::

For any guys reading the blog, you all can scoot on out of here as I doubt you'll find this post interesting. For one thing, I think I would find it quite amusing if any gentleman was reading a sewing blog ... but anyway, that's besides the point.

::resumes to original post::

This week I decided to have another go of sewing some Regency stays. I made some about six months ago, and while I was pleased with how they turned out, I didn't really want to keep the stays for myself.

This time around, I only used two layers of fabric, instead of three like the pattern suggests (previously I used 3 layers of twill and I think it was so thick that it wasn't really supporting anything despite using 10 bones) and used some white twill for the lining, and some white-stripe cotton shirting left over from a Regency gown, for the outer layer. I sort of cheated and used store-bought bias rather than making my own out of my dress material; instead of using eyelets I did button-holes, and as last time, I used plastic boning from JoAnn's instead of the recommended steel boning that I'd have to order off line.

Needless to say, the stays turned out really well, and they fit wonderfully! =) I couldn't ask for anything better. I then was looking forward to start working on a Regency dress (maybe for myself this time?) that requires proper undergarments. After being inspired by Rachel's lovely hand-stitching on her beautiful Colonial ensemble, I decided to try hand stitching the fabric casing down around the neckline. I must confess that it took me a couple of hours (partly because I was watching Pride & Prejudice and partly because I've never done hand stitching on a garment before) this afternoon to go around the neckline. ...I wondered many times why I chose to do it by hand, but it turned out in the end and it did the job. =) I'll use my machine and serger for the inside seams, and do hand stitching for the rest. We'll see how the rest of the dress turns out!

Who else sews by hand? Do you find yourself getting faster?


Leah said...

*chokes on her water & cracks up* Ahaha! That paragraph you wrote about any "lurking" guys scooting outa' here, was too funny. :D

*grabs a broom to help Cheri chase off any unwanted male visitors* ;) Just kidding..

neuropoet3 said...

So far I only "sew by hand" - which means I don't sew very often, or tackle any huge projects - but it's because I have a fear of electric sewing machines - isn't that the craziest thing!! *blushing sheepishly* I really want to get over it, because I want to start sewing clothes for myself and my family, but I just can't get past it yet. When I was a young teen I actually did sew an entire dress by hand - but since I was growing so much it didn't fit very long. :( I suppose it would be worth the time and energy now since it would fit until the fabric gave out :) - but it would be more logical to just "get over" my sewing machine fear! :)

Rachel said...

I sew by hand. :) Usually when I'm doing a nice dress/skirt I'll do the hem by hand (blind stitch), and of course I did the outside stitching on my colonial outfit by hand. I think you do get faster as you go, though and in-and-out running stitch will always take me longer than a blind hem. :)

Cheri said...

neuropoet3, I don't think it's crazy to be leery of a sewing machine. I myself am often afraid to sewing through my hand with the needle, (which happened to my aunt many years ago...)

Perhaps you could look into a vintage sewing machine; the kind with the peddles? =) Every now and I then I hear stories of them in working order. Those would be fun to try out!

Rachel, when you say blind stitch, would it be the same as doing a slip stitch? If so, slip stitching is MUCH faster than the unning stitch. I had no idea how long it would take me (many hours!) to do simple things like the drawstring casings in the neckline and waistline and sleeve hems of this Regency dress.

I was going to do the skirt hem with the machine (it would take nearly FOREVER to do by hand at the rate I'm doing now) but I didn't even then of doing a slip stitch, so maybe I'll do the hem by hand afterall. =)

Rachel said...

Yes, my blind hem would be a slip stitch. I find it lots faster because you stay on the same side of the fabric. :)

Cheri said...

Oh good. I began wondering if maybe they'd be two different stitches and I'd botch it up doing the slip stitch. Now perhaps I'll do the hem this evening. =)

Gillian said...

I sew by hand sometimes... most finishing, especially hems, and most of my historical sewing. I have definitely gotten faster as I did more of it! This spring I started a project to make an authentic Edwardian outfit, which has meant doing almost all of the sewing, especially the underclothes, by hand. It was really slow in the beginning but I'm quite fast now.

(And so that you don't think I'm a stalker or something... I'm "tonks21" on the S&S sewing forum)