True Confessions – I Sometimes Sew Deshabille

For about a micro-second, I considered snapping a Christine Keeler style photograph of me behind my sewing machine – but then realised that would be one of the most stupid decisions of my life, putting such a thing on the Internet. (But wouldn’t it have been fun? Perhaps I should do it anyway, for my own amusement.)

Anyway, today’s True Confession is possibly the most shocking of the three so far. Or maybe not. Maybe I’m not alone in this…

Sometimes, when I’m sewing an outfit, I get fed up of climbing out of one outfit to climb into a dress-in-progress to check fit and tweak, to climb back out of it, to climb back into my original clothes, to go back to the sewing machine, to make an adjustment, to climb out of… You get the picture. It’s so much effort!

So sometimes I just throw caution to the wind and sew in my underwear. You think that’s bad? My sewing machine is at a sash window and I don’t bother closing the blind. Too. Much. Effort.

Oh, sod it! I think. If some damn fool wants to gawp at my raddled old body, that’s their look out. 

I know my attitude divides people. I’ve had boyfriends yelp with shock more than once when I wander naked past a bedroom window. I just can’t be arsed. Really, who’s looking? (Though I did once get caught out in a New York hotel room, when I tried to jiggle the window open in my undies. Jiggle being the operative word. I don’t know who was more shocked when I finally looked up and saw the builder in the block opposite, talking on his cell phone and casually watching me. Never has a person flung themselves back on a bed so quickly as I.)

So should I cover up now I’ve got that off my chest? Or are there others out there who sew semi-naked? I mean, on a hot summer day… Isn’t it the sensible choice? Confess all, my friends – or show me the light!

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96 Responses to True Confessions – I Sometimes Sew Deshabille

  1. ooobop! says:

    Ha ha… yes! Hands up! I would be devastated if anyone else clocked me though!

  2. Hehe of too! You’re only saving time to get your project finished faster ;) In my sewing space (formerly known as the spare bedroom) I applied translucentcut frosting film to the bottom 2 3rd’s of the window. It lets in the daylight, but prevents any animals or children from going into medical shock from the right of my disrobed figure. At nighttime you cannot see into the house through it either – so in summer I can keep the window open for the cool air still win-win!

  3. Tamsin says:

    Me too, too much faffing about, but generally only in the summer months. Husband doesn’t mind, although my daughters generally don’t approve!

  4. Yup, I’ve done that. Many a time. You’re not alone. :)

  5. Rachel says:

    I don’t think it’s all that uncommon! I frequently don’t end up getting dressed again after trying stuff on if i’m sewing in my room. Much more efficient! Less so in Winter than in Summer though…

  6. Lucy says:

    Yeah no, me too. Ditto to the casual nudity in the mornings. Yes we live in a main road with traffic outside – but honestly, how many of those drivers are peering up at our window with enough light and focus to see me nip past to the chest of drawers on the other side of the room?

  7. Almond Rock says:

    I’m vaguely modest in that I keep my trousers on but definitely no need for a top. Most of my fit issues are for my top half.
    Then if I get cold I put a cardi on over my bra cos it’s still pretty easy to take off!

  8. Kerry says:

    I do this quite often too – who can be bothered getting fully dresed again after getting undressed to try on a half finished item?

  9. MrsC says:

    Guilty! LOL! In fact I was mentioning on someone else’s blog recently – MPB maybe? Anyway, I did smile to see my friend Kelly sewing in her slip in our late night sewing group recently. It was black and she still had all her top half clothes on so hardly anyone noticed!

  10. Not ALL the time but it has been known! Having my sewing room in the loft used to be a real advantage, but then every house opposite started having their lofts converted one by one and the builders on the roof had a direct view! I did actually answer the door just wearing tights on my bottom half recently, a la Roxy Hart! I just couldn’t be arsed taking my skirt on and off…. x

  11. Rehanon says:

    Absolutely! In March when we had the heatwave I took my machine outside and sewed in my bikini. The neighbour lent over whilst fixing the fence and wobbled back haha. Not sure if it was me in very little or the fact I was sewing.

    I’m also thinking of sewing up a 60s style babydoll to do my sewing in for a touch of glamour.

  12. Melizza says:

    I can relate to this so much. I often iron (stupid, huh?) in my undies in front of my curtain-less window, pretty convinced no one can see me.

  13. Vicki Kate says:

    Me too. Thankfully my sewing room window is over the back of the house which is overlooked by nothing but fields, so I’m probably only scaring the living daylights out of the pheasant etc! I have been known to flit past the front bedroom window starkers though to put something in the wash, and that overlooks quite a busy road, but then they should be concentrating on their driving and not trying to look in the window! The dressing gown does get used quite a bit though in the winter for warmth rather than modesty… Hey, it’s efficient use of limited sewing time, so deshabile is just prudent time management :)

  14. Jenny says:

    But don’t you get cold? You could always use a dressing gown for warmth. I live 5 levels up in my block and therefore never bother to close the curtains – who can see me. Of course I can see into the windows off the flats directly across the river. Um…. If I can see them….
    Once woke up (curtains open as above) to find a man hanging outside my 5th floor beedroom window cleaning it (I have a feeling he may have tapped on the window to alert me to his presence) I just rolled under the cover and closed by eyes until he was finished.

  15. Roobeedoo says:

    You have got to be kidding?! Despite the fact that I live in a remote field, I guarantee that if I so much as take a SOCK off in daylight hours, the gamekeeper will appear at the door clutching a brace of pheasants. I wouldn’t mind if he KNOCKED, but he just WALKS IN! No, no, no, no, NO! :O

  16. Steph says:

    I do the same!!! I do live in a houseshare, so my flatmates do sometimes wonder why it takes me so long to answer my door while sewing. At least they knock…

  17. Liz says:

    So glad to know I am not the only one who does this! I seem to always be sewing in some state of undress when sewing, so much easier than changing back and forth when I am trying to fit something!

  18. Stevie says:

    I do this most of the time, Surely we’d be wasting valuable sewing time by getting re-dressed everytime! Hooray for the disrobed sewists!

  19. Alison says:

    De-lurking to admit that I too sew half naked. However, no one can see in my sewing room and if they could, more power to them.

    In an aside, I used to work in a high rise office block opposite a hotel. There was always a cry of “naked man at the window” when some unsuspecting person would fling the curtains open in the morning not realising 8 floors of government workers could see everything!

  20. Tina says:

    me. gets really hot in my sewing room and as you say, it’s too much hassle to keep changing! nice to know I’m not the only one.

  21. piakdy says:

    LOL. You’re most definitely not alone in this. In fact, Palmer/Pletsch’s Pants For Real People recommend sewing in your underwear. (See Quick Tip on p.36.) And if the Masters say so… ;-) My sewing space is near a window too. What I’ve done is put window frosting film on the window. That way, they only get a blob of flesh, not full HD! You can get these quite affordably on eBay. And they are suppose to be easily removable if you change your mind.

    BTW it’s the pervs who look who should be ashamed. As someone who grew up with fashion and fine art, I find this over-sexualisation of the body quite bizarre. Next thing you know we’ll be covered up head to toe like women under Taliban rule.

  22. Sandy P says:

    All the time! Mine is usually to fit my pencil skirts (I have 1 “flat” hip so I have to adjust, try on, adjust etc etc) fortunately my house appears to be higher up than everyone elses so no one should be able to see in…altho I’m sure the woman I sort of know who lives in the bungalow behind my house is always gawping up!

    Roobeedoos post made me giggle hysterically! LOL!

  23. Jinty says:

    Sewing semi-naked is one of the perks of home sewing,No? :P
    I think that due to how labour intensive and time consuming making a garment is means we have to save time where we can. Liberation at the sewing station!
    I do have a fear of pins though… eek!

  24. Dorine says:

    Oh yes, I do it all the time! Otherwise you just end up spending most of your time taking your clothes off and putting them back on, when you could be sewing!

  25. marianna says:

    I read your post on email, wondering if there’d be accompanying pictures….

    Some years ago, there was a comedy series with a sketch of a ladies naked sewing circle. It was funny, though not as funny as Monty Python’s naked organ player.

  26. Nyssa Jayne says:

    i can’t believe I’m not alone! this is amazing.

  27. Not related but a headsup that the apronalong link on your button isn’t working..

  28. Yep, that’s me too. Admittedly only my neighbours at the back could see me but I think they’ve probably become bored with looking after 6 yrs. And I too iron in undies.

  29. Shelly says:

    Oh how I blush! To admit that I too have done this, what can I say :D

  30. Wow, there’s so many of us willing to admit to this! Though I usually bother to close the shades at some point. Weird neighbors and such. :)

  31. liza jane says:

    I do it all the time. And my sewing room is in a sunroom full of windows. The only neighbor high enough to see in is next door. It’s an old man and his wife, who also sews so I figure she understands.

  32. tinygoldenpins says:

    I love this! I always do it and now when I’m sewing away in my bra I’ll think of all my fellow sewists out there in DESHABILLE (best word in the world)!

  33. Katrina says:

    Never done it! Am always looking for an excuse to wear PJs and a dressing gown, so normally wrap myself up in one of them while sewing…still pretty quick to change in/out of. However, I have been known to cook in various states of deshabillement…is that weird? Does anyone else do that?

  34. Tez says:

    all the time. to the point that my children (girls) walk in and just roll their eyes knowing it is futile to say anything. The poor Fed-EX man got an eyefull of boobage during a delivery, one day….and once, being so comfy sewing with just my t shirt on, I got entirely ready to go for errands and began walking OUTSIDE to my vehicle only to realize I still only had a t shirt on. WHOOOOOOHOOO! No shame, baby!

  35. Steph A says:

    Me too, in fact last night while finishing up my Ruby Slip. It just seems so natural and common sense, and now it turns out everybody else is doing it too! LOL! One commenter I read somewhere last year said she wears an old silk dressing gown while sewing, so her teenage boys and their friends don’t catch her in dishabille! I liked the silk part!

  36. Melody says:

    SEMI-NAKED SEWERS UNITE!

    • LinB says:

      SNSU, indeed! Let’s design a logo, and make something upon which to emblazon it! For all of the reasons that others have already listed, plus the dreaded Hot Flashes of Doom, I am as likely to be seen naked in the sewing room as clothed in the sewing room. (Less sexy for my husband to gaze upon now than 30 years ago, when we were both of us young and beautiful, I am thinking. But we promised never to leave one another, so he just has to deal with it. As I have had to learn to deal with his odd habits, lol.)

  37. Yellow Mae says:

    I have! I was working on this strapless dress a last summer … I couldn’t get the boning and fit right and the on and off thing was driving me crazy. So, yeah I sewed in my black lace strapless fancy pant undies. I wod do it more often if given time to see more for myself ;-)

  38. lol.. dont we all do something like this.. I sew in my dressing gown and when i am in Brasil I sew in my bikini

  39. Emily says:

    Yup! Same here, underwear is the way to go. I do keep a robe in the room in case I need to get out quickly of if I hear someone coming in (I live with roomates!)

  40. Yeah, I’m guilty too. The vast majority of the time I am sewing in a bra and panties. Maybe pants if I’m sewing a top or bra. What also happens is that I take off those clothes in my sewing room and then a month later think, you know I haven’t worn X in a while and hunt through my closet and laundry only to realize that it was what I started wearing last time I was in my sewing room.
    No one could see into my bedroom windows when I was growing up so I often forget to think about windows while undressed. It just doesn’t cross my mind.

  41. Shams says:

    Oh, me too!

  42. LLADYBIRD says:

    I pretty much always sew in my underwear. No shame! It really cramps my style when we have people over, though – the living room is right off the sewing room, and there is no door to separate them. Boo! But yes… my machine window looks directly out onto the street, where the neighbors sit on the their porch & the kids play in the front yard. And here I am in my undies, stitching away. IDGAF. How else am I supposed to fit my stuff??

  43. Erin Cumming says:

    I believe the Selfish Seamstress wrote something about this in a post once—something about ending up sewing in her underwear at 2:00 in the morning. I laughed so hard when I read that only because I’ve done it a million times too. But have you ever vacuumed naked? I got distracted on the way to the shower—I can take multitasking to a whole new level!

  44. K-Line says:

    Sometimes I sew entirely naked and just put on my bra when I need to try the garment on. It’s just comfortable. And I don’t care if anyone is watching. Then again, I’m a bit exhibitionist :-)

  45. AndiSocial says:

    I do this ALL. THE. TIME. Eventually, people will get bored of peeking in the windows, right?

  46. Karen says:

    Well, I am laughing! Can you just picture all the sewing women of the world sitting around in their undies?? Yes, I’ve done it on occasion – it makes sense to me, but only in the summer!!

  47. Both my daughter and husband are quite used to my underdressed sewing habit. But if my daughter is working in the sewing room and she hears my husband coming she yells “No Pants! No pants!”

  48. Allison says:

    I’m so glad to hear I’m not a undies-only sewing weirdo. I love it.

  49. symondezyn says:

    Lmao! Yes, I wander around au natural, in front of windows & everything. I have been caught too, and I know the panic-dive of which you speak, but generally I can’t be bothered to care; I’m of the same attitude as you: if they’ve got nothing better to do, that’s their problem lol

  50. PoldaPop says:

    Yes! And has anyone else been sorely tempted to wander out from the dressing room and into a woman’s clothing store in her underwear? I guess you could just wear the ill-fitting, can’t-button-the-waistband-pants that you just rejected, but I think I’d actually feel more comfortable in my own undies. It’s a good thing I learned to sew because I think if I had to face one more session of taking things off and putting them on in a tiny cubicle, I’d go through with it.

  51. Carolyn says:

    I usually start off clothed, but as the fitting progresses, it does tend to turn into a “can’t be bothered to put things back on” situation. But I sew in the basement and there are no windows down there. So long as the kids are in bed and the heater is on, undressed sewing just kind of happens.

  52. Jamie says:

    I’m all for convenience! But I do keep the blinds closed. Usually. :)

  53. Helen Made says:

    Haha, I totally sew in my underwear! It’s just so annoying having to get undressed and dressed again every time you want to fit something you’re making – it’s just easier to sew in your undies instead!

  54. Jacq C says:

    Ha ha – this thread is brilliant! I can’t stop laughing at the gamekeeper scenario – The Seamstress and The Gamekeeper sounds like an upmarket top shelf magazine!

    I’m so glad I’m in such good company, for me there’s a direct correlation between sewing my own clothes and time spent in my undies, the irony. I cannot be bothered to keep getting dressed. And our only full length mirror is in the hallway – huge bay window, no shame. My grown children roll their eyes but it’s no different to a bikini I say!

    I tend to use my machine at the dining table, our neighbour is very nosey (seriously she replicated our dining room almost entirely having volunteered the information that she stood on a ladder to better see our wallpaper over the garden fence!) if she’s offended by the sight of me in a bra and knickers it’s her own fault! :)

  55. Stephanie says:

    Why do you think my blog is called “The Naked Seamstress”?! because that’s exactly how I sew too :) :)

  56. Far says:

    Lol.. i totally can relate! :)

  57. soisewedthis says:

    i have been known to sew in my bra, so i don’t have to keep getting dressed and undressed to check the fit! glad i’m not the only one! (my husband thinks i should always sew while topless… men.)

  58. gingermakes says:

    I’m always dashing around in my undies when I’m sewing or getting ready in the morning and often forget to clothes the blinds. I’m practically the youngest person on my block– it’s all older Greek immigrants– and they must find me pretty shocking!

  59. Clio says:

    I spent an entire week sewing in a boned bustier last year when I was sewing a more formal dress for a wedding. It was just too much to change not only clothing, but my bra too. So, yeah, I am down with sewing au natural.

  60. Best comments ever. The Seamstress and The Gamekeeper sounds like a historical novel with elements of bodice-ripper. Can’t wait to read it! I am quite laissez faire about curtains and semi clothedness, but only sew in my underthings on the warmest of days. I agree it’s faster but I hate getting cold.

  61. I thought it was just me!!! But pressing the seams (with a steam generator, no less!) becomes quite risky…

    Do you think this secret we share may be the way for Miss P to get sewing on TV…?!
    (I’m not volunteering!)

  62. susew says:

    Oh yes, I’ve done it many times on hot summer evenings!. I have learned the hard way it’s not a good idea to iron that day’s outfit while wearing only a bra and panties.

  63. kaitui_kiwi says:

    Me too! Haha, well, I sit in my underwear, in fact that’s why I had to recover my old scratchy Ikea chair because the cheap fabric made my naked bare thighs itch – I posted in on BurdaStyle with my confession and got a lot of “me too” comments as well so I’m not even embarrassed anymore ;)

  64. Tanya says:

    Hmm. My first thought on reading your confession is that you are probably free-spirited and your sewing habits (sans vetements) reflect that, which sounds like illicit fun!! However, dosen’t the idea of a needle potentially breaking and flying to places that where it ‘doesn’t need a passport’, seem a little risky? I say this as l sewing in just my pyjamas, the needle broke into bits. One piece flew in my face and the other down the open neck of my top.

  65. photosarah says:

    Love the conversation that you’ve got going on here! I definitely have done this many times, especially during refashions or hacks, though with blinds closed. I usually start off wearing something and gradually get tired of going back and forth. My roommate got a bit of a shock one time, but she should have knocked and not just busted in to the sewing room! (She didn’t do it again after that incident.)

  66. Carol Urban says:

    Most of the time we’re nude here. We live in a remote area with no neighbors close enough to see into our house unless they were using super high powered telescopes and if they want to bother that much to see in they can get an eye full. I tell my kids to call before coming to the house. Dogs alert us to anyone driving up the lane. Good to know most of us ladies aren’t prudish about nudity.

  67. ZoSews says:

    Bahaha, I’ve just been doing that tonight! It’s way too annoying to be climbing in and out of outfits every two seconds. I was paranoid my other half was going to stroll on in with his kids and I’d be sitting there sewing in my underwear, but I got through it :)

  68. I sew semi-naked every time I make a garment. Every single time! I live in a high rise, but we keep the shades down for the most part since it turns into a greenhouse if we let them up. There are French doors leading into the office where I sew, but Rob has gotten rather used to seeing me running around in various states of undress and is no longer fazed at all! Perhaps we should form a club ;)

    • LinB says:

      I think that the red-white-blue houndstooth dress you recently posted is amazingly wonderful. I’d rather imagine you wearing that dress when you sew, than in the SNSU (Semi-Naked Sewers Unite) uniform, lol.

  69. ShanniLoves says:

    I was wondering this same thing the other day as I sat in my underwear sewing!!!! Too funny! Luckily my sewing room is in the basement so noone could see me in the window but I do have to be careful for visitors coming over because if I don’t have the sewing room door shut whomever comes in from the outside has a direct view of my behind as they walk in the house. It doesn’t even faze my husband anymore.

  70. Yes, I’m not the only one!! I was thinking that myself the other day when I was making a dress and kept trying it on for fit. I said screw it, I’m sewing this in my bra and panties!

  71. aleah says:

    I love that so many of us are with you on this! I was just thinking the other day as I sat at the machine in my undies: “hmmm, I wonder if I’m the only person who does this?” Clearly not!

  72. Brenda says:

    I have sewn for 33 years and I also sew (for myself) in my undies. Not necessary when I sew for others ;)

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  74. Sewing princess says:

    My sewing area is now in the attic… But I do sew in my undies too. What’s wrong with that? ;) need to be practical!

  75. makeitgiveit says:

    yup was sewing in my undies the other day and thinking ‘I do hope I don’t have a knock on the door’. Getting in and out of an outfit and changed and unchanged – too much work. I try not to wander about in my undies though the family over the fence have teenagers.

  76. alibobs says:

    Wow, I didn’t expect there would be so many replies! If I’m making a top I will sew in underwear but usually throw a skirt on for sitting comfort. I live on my own and often get distracted after a shower and wander around in a towel. I assume that if I can’t see my neighbours then they can’t see me (I can see windows but not in them due to angles of the buildings)

    Someone said they see naked hotel guests at work – well on Friday sitting in the staffroom at school we could see everything a naked man was doing in his house (he definitely wasn’t sewing…) The headteacher had to work out which house it was and send someone round to tell him we could see him, but he didn’t answer the door…

  77. Marie says:

    Just thought I’d add my name to the semi-naked sewing gang! It’s quicker and it’s easier…although not much fun in the winter! And like many others who have commented above, I also prance around in my undies whilst doing other things, especially whilst applying make-up and getting ready to leave the flat. It drives my boyfriend mad that I don’t ever bother shutting the curtains and I don’t understand why I don’t do it either! I’m actually quite shy about my body, but the thought of a stranger looking in our flat doesn’t even cross my mind…haha!

  78. Pingback: Apron-o-rama « The Perfect Nose

  79. Amy says:

    I live on the third floor of an old Edinburgh tenement building and I constantly stand naked in the window when I’m brushing my hair or choosing my undies. I’m with you,who’s looking? I’d like to think if anyone ever caught me I’d have the presence of mind to wave cheekily before gracefully retiring but I’d probably throw myself on the bed just like you!

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