Hand sewing isn’t easy: it challenges your ability to judge proportion, it tests your patience, and makes you question your endurance as well as your eyesight. It makes your hands hurt. But its rewards are uniqueness and a precision that the sewing machine can’t achieve in difficult areas. At its finest hand sewing is art as well as a detailed document of the moment of the sewing hand’s relationship with the fabric.
I’m working on my hand sewing, growing its scale slowly from small repairs through hand-picked zippers to careful almost invisible hems. I’m trying to build up my skill to one day dare to sew up a whole garment by hand.
It became an aspiration when I first saw Marilla Walker’s completely hand sewn jeans (read about the project on Marilla’s blog and see more images here). I keep coming back to these jeans, admiring all the details that set them apart from… all the other jeans in the world.
There’s also Natalie Chanin’s Alabama Studio Sewing + Design calling to me from the bookshelf. I’ve seen lots of great outfits from this one and the other books pop up online. And the embroidery is incredible.
Finally, writing about these sources of inspiration, I have to mention the Machineless Sewist, whose blog I discovered just a few days ago and quickly read through all the posts. Her machineless sewing is motivated in large part by necessity but looking at the garments she’s made by hand I kept thinking that once she’s reunited with her machine she might be tempted to still come back to completely hand sewing the odd piece now and then. The wardrobe she’s blogged about makes for a unique journal of her time in Angola.
I will continue looking for the right candidate for a completely hand-sewn garment.