Hand Sewing

Yesterday we gave the studio a much needed clean — there are no longer any resident piles of fabric on the worktable!After that I started working on some hand stitches, which Melody and I thought you might like to see. This first one is the ‘catchstitch’. It’s useful for hems or for attaching skirts to bodices, since it’s elastic, but strong.



Next up: the ‘overcasting stitch’, which is primarily used for finishing raw edges. It’s stitched about 1/16″ of an inch away from the raw edge. While it can be time-consuming (each stitch must be made separately), it’s the preferred edge finish for couture since, to quote Claire Shaeffer, it’s the “flattest, softest, and least likely to show on the right side of the garment”.



Here are two different, but related stitches. The ‘fellstitch’ is on the left; the ‘slipstitch’ is on the right. Can you tell where I switched from one to the other? (I marked it with two small cross-stitches.) On the right side, the slip- and fellstitches are nearly identical.



But on the back, the fellstitch and slipstitch are instantly distinguishable! The slipstitch (left) hides extra thread within the fold of the fabric on the right side, whereas the fellstitch (right) lets the thread show on the back of the work. Because the slipstitch requires an extra step to hide the thread, it takes a little longer to make. The fellstitch is one of my favorites, especially when the back won’t show! But the slipstitch is better for hems or other applications where you need the stitch to be almost invisible on the front and the back.


–Melinda and Melody


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