I Have A Guilty Secret…

I can’t hide it any more. I must confess. My name is Karen and I like hand sewing!

For me, this activity fulfils the same needs as knitting. It’s slow, meditative work that I can do in comfort on the sofa, watching something trashy on the TV. Right now, I’m hand sewing the neckline and armhole linings to the main shell of my vintage Simplicity 4934 make.

This hand sewing brings me deep, deep pleasure. What about you? Are you a fan of hand sewing or is it the work of the devil?

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72 Responses to I Have A Guilty Secret…

  1. Stephanie says:

    Hand sewing is a wonderful thing so long as my hands aren’t sore when I am trying to do it! I love machine work but do enjoy hand sewing, especially fine fiddly work such as fine hand applique or sewing invisible hems.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Oh and I forgot to add, the pattern you are sewing is totally chic and gorgeous. LOVE it!

  3. erin says:

    I like hand sewing too. Making tiny invisible stitches that only I can see is just so satisfying. It’s nice to know that it’s a pleasure enjoyed by others too.

  4. I would naturally respond that I try to do as much by machine as possible….however recently I have taken pleasure in making the time to get a nice neat finish on sewing facings down – waistbands, bias arm holes & even neck facins under a collar that wouldnt even show on the outside. I blame the rain. Everything else seems to be the fault of our weird summer, there’s another totally random disconnected effect that can be added to the list! Look forward to more reveals on this delightful blue outfit ….

  5. Sam says:

    Add me to the list of those who enjoy hand sewing! It definitely fills the same needs as knitting does, it’s such a peaceful and quiet way to occupy your hands, and your mind.

  6. Claude binns says:

    Ooh Karen we had sooo much in common! Till now! I hate it with a passion undenied and avoid it at all costs. Not only is it fiddly but mine always looks so bad – maybe that’s why I hate it, possibly just need to get better at it ;(

  7. I will go a long way to avoid hand-sewing. I’m not good at it and find it fiddly and slow. But then I’m a very slow knitter too. Just naturally clumsy!

  8. charlotte says:

    I love a little hand sewing away from the noise of the machine. I find my on going patchwork quilt helps me with my fix.

  9. Helen Made says:

    I can’t say I love the type of neat fiddly hand sewing you’re doing on your neckline… mainly because my hand sewing just isn’t the neatest, but for some reason I really love catch-stitching hems / facings down by hand. I find it very theraputic (unlike knitting which has a tendancy to stress me out because I’m pretty rubbish), so I know what you mean!

  10. Anne says:

    Add me to the list of those who like to hand sew. But only when I have time to do it. It can’t be rushed or my stitches don’t look good and I end up taking them all out again.

  11. little betty says:

    Work. Of. The. Devil.

  12. Anne W says:

    I have to confess to using the machine as much as possible, but I do hand-hem on occasion! My main problem is major pins and needles in my hands, so I can only hand sew for a little while before I cannot feel what I’m supposed to be holding. So it’s just little bits for me. I do like a good ladder stitch on a mitred corner though.

  13. I do like it for sewing in linings, actually, and fiddly corners that the sewing machine would chew up. And by ‘like’, I mean ‘tolerate’. Heh.

    I do it if it’s the best choice for the job, and it’s worth it for the finished effect, but I certainly don’t enjoy it while I’m doing it!

  14. sewbusylizzy says:

    I love it too. I find it relaxing and I find it stops me rushing through a project and making a hash of it. I hand basted my gathered Cambie skirt, the lining and more. At the moment I’m away on holidays do I’m hand stitching some beads to my fl

  15. Jane says:

    I’m with Scruffy Badger, normally I’d avoid it like the plague and will machine sew everything to within an inch of its life, but recently I’ve been doing more of it of my own free will to get that nice neat finish. I also blame the rain! I should do more of it though, because I’m actually quite a neat, precise hand sewer. I think it’s more the idea of doing it rather than the reality – once I’ve forced myself into it I quite like it.
    BUT, I draw the line at sewing on hooks and eyes, these really are the work of the devil. Whenever I do them I feel like I have sausage fingers from hell and I inevitably put them on back to front and have to start again. I HATE, HATE, HATE them – in fact I’d rather have a gaping hole at the top of my dress than have to sew one of those blighters on! x

  16. Neeno says:

    I am slowly starting to enjoy hand sewing. The only thing is I’m paranoid that my hand sewing is dodgy and my clothes will fall apart haha

  17. Steph says:

    I didn’t think I did until I learnt tailoring. Spending hours padstitching in enough to turn the most angry of seamstresses into a zen kitten. I’m in the middle of hand sewing my lining of my new coat at the moment, it’s turning into a very enjoyable task – plus I know that the results are going to make the coat last a long time.

  18. Dibs says:

    I hand sew. My first skirt I made at home ec. was done by hand, machines were not available. Then when I started sewing, I did all my hems by hand, then I got lazy, and started using the machine. I’m slowly going back to hand sewing. The last dress I made, the blue simplicity 2444 involved alot of hand sewing. I did the zip and sleeves by hand. I loved it. It gives you so much control.

  19. annabelvita says:

    Im very new to sewing but did love love love the handstitching I did on two quilts I made – like you say it’s meditative and especially as those were gifts it was nice to feel the handmade love going into them. I also hand embroidered a face on a toy kitten, that was fun!

  20. PendleStitches says:

    Love, love, love hand sewing. Love the fiddly bits on clothing and the calm meditation of the repetitive motion of creating the stitch. I also love sewing quilts by hand…either North Country or English Paper Pieced. Really don’t enjoy quilting on the sewing machine.

  21. Roobeedoo says:

    I have to be in the mood. Too often, projects sit around for weeks waiting for the hand-stitching to happen – it feels like a bit of a slap in the face after zooming through an entire garment in a few hours, only to find there is another week’s worth of hand-finishing to do!

  22. MrsC says:

    Love it. Not just construction sewing but also embroidery, smocking, beading and all of that decorative stuff. πŸ™‚

  23. Rachel says:

    I love it too – I’ve started embroidery for that exact purpose!

  24. Melizza says:

    I am usually in a rush to get that stitching or hem done and almost always opt for a machine finish rather than hand sewing it. I am going to start putting aside projects when it’s time to hand sew so I can be refreshed when I attempt it. I do love how a hem looks hand sewn.

  25. Meg says:

    I used to avoid hand sewing, but I just finished a Sorbetto in a flimsy chiffon for which I decided to use a narrow hand-rolled hem round all the openings and the two flappy ruffles I’d caught into the front seam (formerly pleat). I have to say that I really got into all this hand sewing. What’s more I actually like the tiny β€˜stich-shows’ on the right side. Some-how it seems to make the finished garment more luxurious and couture (if that makes sense). I’m looking forward to getting stuck into some more.

  26. Er, my name is Felicity and I also love handsewing. I’ve been known to prefer it to using the machine (but only, honestly forces me to confess, because I was too lazy/it was too difficult or time consuming to clear the table, get the machine out and set everything up for easy use).

  27. Vicki Kate says:

    I like it, but only on certain areas! So hems I like to do by hand, and zips (I’m in love with how a hand picked zip looks – I’m going to do a beaded one when I have a dress that’ll suit it). The second set of stitching on bias binding (like scruffy badger). Like you I appreciate the meditative effect, but also the social. I can sew on the sofa whilst Husband watches whatever on the TV. On the flip side, if it’s a quick and dirty make then I’ll machine it as far as possible. I do like taking the time with my ‘project’ makes though!

  28. Shams says:

    I love it. In fact, right now I am making an unlined jacket and am completely hand sewing it, including felling all of the seams. I wouldn’t normally go to such an extreme, but it gives me more control of the fabric, which is highly pleated.

  29. Dilly says:

    I LOVE hand-stitching! As long as there’s no rush for what I’m doing, I find it so therapeutic and relaxing, and I like the control you have. I love sewing hems by hand, and I’d also much rather put in a lining by hand than by machine.

  30. shivani says:

    oo I love a bit of hand sewing. I feel it gives me much more control over what I’m doing and I think it gives a much neater finish. I’ve recently started hand-basting setting in sleeves. I really enjoy it. I would not, however, do buttonholes by hand… I am very grateful for my sewing machine’s automatic buttonhole feature!

  31. Jacqueline says:

    I love hand sewing, but I’m not sure I would make a whole garment by hand.

    • Sewist from across the Pond. says:

      I once made an underlined shift dress entirely by hand, except for the stay stitching. I even hand overcast the raw edges. I wanted to see what it was like. I understand why the sewing machine was invented.

  32. Katie says:

    I also am a hopeless hand sewing addict, it’s a problem, I may need help! Hand sewing gives me a deep sense of inner peace that I never get whilst sewing on the machine, although I still love doing that of course! Actually using your hands to create something is just so satisfying, it truly is the crack cocaine of the sewing world. Or at least it is for me anyways πŸ™‚

  33. alice says:

    To me, hand sewing is like ironing: I don’t like the thought of it, but whenever I do it, I realise I really actually like it.

    Your half completed garment looks delightful! Such a beautiful colour.

  34. I like a bit of hand sewing too, Karen – I usually prefer to hem by hand and the same with catchstitching down facings. The yellow dress I made earlier this year with a vintage pattern had loads of hand sewing – I finished all the seams by hand. I’d been stuttering a bit with my sewing and doing those tasks by hand reignited my love of sewing!

  35. ooobop! says:

    I love it when I have the time, and can take my time but hate it when I’m in a rush. This looks like such a beautiful ensemble Karen. So very stylish and beautiful colour too x

  36. This is so interesting! As a beginning sewer, hand stitching scares me! I’ve never really learned how to do it and the simple projects I’ve tried to date haven’t required it. The few times I did try it looked like I was drunk or did it with with one hand. Maybe you could share some of your wisdom? Can’t wait to see that jacket, by the way. The color is gorgeous!

  37. stitchparade says:

    I’m with you! Have you ever tried Natalie Chanin’s hand stitching designs? Her books (“Alabama Stitch Book” and others) are filled with beautiful projects for hand stitched garments. Like knitting, they are portable and highly addictive!

    • Sewist from across the Pond. says:

      I’ve read the books. Some of the projects are interesting, but most look rough-hewn and craftsy to me. To me, the best hand sewing is artful, beautiful and discreet, often invisible.

  38. Bold Sewist says:

    I never used to enjoy it, until I learneda few stitches for ‘ couture sewing’ during the wedding dress make – I loved it! So meditative and peaceful. I hope you’re working on the flat! πŸ˜‰

  39. stitchparade says:

    I’m with you! Have you ever tried Natalie Chanin’s hand stitching designs? Her books (“Alabama Stitch Book” and others) are filled with projects for entirely hand stitched garments. Like knitting, they are portable and highly addictive!

  40. Sewist from across the Pond. says:

    I love it, too, Karen. I’m always trying to get better at it. The odd thing is that some people think it’s easier than machine sewing when it isn’t. it’s portable, you can watch (in my case, listen) to TV, and you don’t have to worry about mechanical problems, but it requires control and patience.

  41. LinB says:

    I like to sew. Period. Sometimes the machine is the preferred treatment — particularly for garments that will see hard use. Sometimes hand-stitching is the only way to access certain areas in a garment. I do enjoy hemming by hand, when the fabric cooperates. I enjoy sewing on buttons by hand. I like to do buttonholes by hand, but they look wonky when I finish, so I don’t often resort to that. I don’t mind tacking down facings. I like to hand-quilt. I like some embroidery.

  42. Heather Lou says:

    I’m growing to like it… unfortunately I always feel very rushed. I rarely have the free time to just veg out and handsew so when I do do it it tends to be rushed. I can’t believe I;m saying this but wintertime will be welcome if I have a little more time to relax and enjoy the process. TOO MANY BBQS.

  43. I love projects that require hand sewing. Usually my favorite part of the project.

  44. Siga says:

    Wow, who knew there’d be so many replies to such a question. This morning there was none, but it got me thinking through the day. I love hand stitching quilts. I use the machine to sew everything in place, but the quilting itself has to be by hand. Otherwise it is not a real quilt. I am weird like that.

  45. Natasha says:

    Put me in the category that hates hand-sewing! I think it’s because I don’t know how/don’t have a good technique but I avoid it like the plague and use my machine nearly every time a pattern says to hand sew. The only thing I will hand-sew is pant cuffs but that might be because I haven’t figured out how to do it on my machine yet πŸ™‚

  46. sewforward says:

    Yes! Hand Sewing is something I do enjoy. Many of my tailored garments that I have made I am reluctant to part with all because of all the hand sewing that I did on them. Also I enjoy embroidery, too. I have a crazy quilt, which will probably take me a life time to finish, but I am enjoying hand stitching along the way πŸ™‚

  47. Debby says:

    I love hand sewing. I hand sew, hems, not only on trousers and skirts but on blouses etc as well. I also hand sew the hems on facings. I like to take hand sewing out in the garden on a warm sunny day and totally relax.

  48. symondezyn says:

    I love hand sewing too, for the same reason as you πŸ™‚ It forces me to slow down and appreciate the work I’m doing. I spent two hours hand basting the pleats on my Pastille dress, and the result was so beautiful it was worth it all πŸ™‚ It sure does take patience and focus to get it right though. I’d like to think I’m getting better at it so that I can someday say my hand sewing is as pretty and neat as my machine stitches are… or better! πŸ™‚

    Your outfit is so lovely; I can’t wait to see what it looks like! The fabric and colour look really pretty so far! πŸ™‚

  49. grenouille78 says:

    Wow, who knew there were so many avid hand-sewers out there! I, however, am not one of them. Hand-sewing makes me fidgety and jumpy. I hate it with a passion and avoid it at all costs. Of course, there are times when there’s no way around it and during those times, all I can think about is how I’d rather be doing anything else. I’ve had nearly complete garments sit around for a month because I couldn’t make myself sit and hand-tack the facings down. Makes me crazy!

  50. Janet says:

    I love it – but, like many others, need to be in the right mood. Patient, that is (not my normal characteristic) And when I have finished, I normally end up feeling most proud of the thing I have hand sewn.
    I have just made a little silk clutch, and hand sewn a band onto it with some flowers, and really love the detailing you can get from hand sewing. I think it makes the finished thing ooze loveliness.

  51. Karen says:

    Yes, I so enjoy hand-sewing – with good light and cooperative fabric!! Your ensemble looks beautiful (the periwinkle color is a favorite of mine). I’ll look forward to seeing it finished!

  52. Fiona says:

    I love hand sewing! My favourite relaxing thing to do is settle down infront of the telly with some cross stitch!

  53. I avoid it like crazy……but when I’m forced to do it, I find it very nice and relaxing……ps…. I love the control hand sewing offers.

  54. adaisygarden says:

    I, too, enjoy hand sewing. I am currently working on a hand-pieced quilt I started while on vacation last week. It was so much fun! I will be posting on it soon. Your vintage pattern is so chic! I think the tailoring in vintage patterns is one of the things that make them special. They are fun to sew!… And part of the “adventure” is looking for just the right fabric!

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  56. Yep, I’m with you. Sometimes I feel a bit lost if I don’t have any handsewing to do but I find pinning good too. That vintage outfit is going to look super on you.

  57. molly says:

    I’m right with you. I hand sew more than I care to divulge! and lots of which could be done on the machine. However, I find it very peaceful πŸ™‚

  58. I don’t mind hand sewing at all. I hand sew to avoid visible stitches around an armhole or sleeve cap that was bound with bias tape, and almost always hand sew hems. I often using hand sewing in tight little places where I am just not adept enough to maneuver my machine the way I want. Though I hate tying off knots in hand sewing. Is that strange?

    (Now if you’d asked me 2 years ago about hand sewing up knitting pieces, I was strongly in the knit-everything-in-the-round-under-penalty-of-death camp, whereas nowadays I quite like seaming up my pieces and setting in sleeves!)

  59. Marie says:

    Hand sewing is all I’ve been doing. I’ve made a vest, cardigan and a number of tops with hand sewing. I enjoy the portability especially when I’m at at sports practice or game (I’m at these activities constantly). I find I really enjoy the meditative quality of the sewing. Also, the seams don’t feel as stiff as they do with machine sewing and I have a lot of control over the seams.

  60. Rehanon says:

    I didn’t think I was a lover of hand sewing until I sat down and patiently over 3 hour slip stitched the never hem of my the Ripe Ones Are More Juicy dress even though the pattern suggested machine hemming. I thought baby you’re worth more than that and it helped that I was aided and abetted by a good merlot and Johnny Depp in Chocolat. Every time I look down at any of my blind hems I feel a little swell of joy so I think I’m a hand sewing lover.

  61. Emma says:

    I think hand sewing must feel for you how beading feels for me. I’ve just spent an hour or so adding tiny vintage freshwater pearl after tiny vintage…(well you get the picture) to a fine silver chain. It’s meditative, incredibly satisfying and there’s something beautiful to see in a relatively short time. You must feel that way about a hand sewed seam. I’m so chilled right now I’m practically horizontal. Ahhhhh

  62. Sharon says:

    I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. Whew, that feels good to admit it publicly. That doesn’t mean I don’t do it when necessary, it’s just not my favorite part of sewing. Now, can we talk ironing? I absolutely *adore* ironing!

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  64. Elaray says:

    I like hand sewing too and for the same reasons. I felt very important when I learned how much had sewing is in real couture garments.

  65. sandy says:

    I adore handsewing..getting ready to sew a quilt all by hand..hope i havent waited to long..my hands or my eyesight isnt what it used to be…i amso inmy elliment when im using myhands ina consytuctive way..sometimes i think im in the wrong time zone..good on you for loving it also!!!!!

  66. sandy says:

    Koodoos for you..i love handsewing too. Getting ready for a quilt..hope eyes and hand dont give out….some of us live in a differnt time..thats ok. Cause there has to be a few of us special people.,.nostelgic is good.keep handsewing

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