Thanks to a relaxing weekend at home, my blueberry crush dress is moving right along. I wanted to highlight a few of the hand-sewn finishing details in this post, mainly for two reasons: (1) I think details like this are a nice touch for a handmade garment; and (2) I have a lot of room for improvement in my hand-sewing skills! Perhaps we can all learn from each other. : )
First up, hand-sewing the lining to the zipper tape. In the photo above, I’ve pressed under the 5/8″ seam allowance on each edge of the cream lining fabric, and I’ve carefully pinned the lining to the zipper tape. (Note that I had already inserted the invisible zipper into the fashion fabric in a previous step.) To avoid any stitching lines on the outside of the garment (and to keep the zipper as invisible as possible), the pattern (Butterick 5602) calls for hand stitching the lining to the tape. Ugh, what a task!
Begrudgingly, I did it. Ah, how hand-stitching drives me crazy! On the left you can see the “before” shot with the lining pinned in place, and on the right is the finished, sewn-in lining. I have to admit that it looks pretty neat and professional once it’s all said and done, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed doing it. : ) Note that the top edge still needs to be finished… more hand-sewing, but I just didn’t have it in me today!
And how exactly did I do the hand-sewing? You can see my stitches and needle position above. I took small bites out of the lining edge and the zipper tape (being careful not to grab the fashion fabric underneath), and the bites line up with each other. This technique produces a diagonal stitch on the outside of the lining (and you can see on the right side of the photo). While not ideal, I found that taking diagonal bites (to produce a straight stitch) was just too awkward for my hands. Any tips on how to do this properly?
I stopped stitching at approximately the position of the zipper stop, leaving a bit of a hole to be closed beneath it. Here, I simply used a mattress stitch to close the gap. It didn’t come out perfect, but it’ll hold together. Close enough. : )
Next up, hand-sewing the interior neckband facing to the lining — again, to avoid a stitching line on the exterior of the neckband. Above you can see that my usual army of pins is out in full force. I just love the security of pins! Unlike with the lining and the zipper, however, here I *did* take diagonal bites so that the finish product would be a straight stitch. For some reason it was much less awkward here, so I went for it.
And behold, the finished interior facing with tiny little straight stitches holding it all together. I admit that it looks pretty polished, but MAN did all this hand-sewing give me a brutal hand cramp! Ouch!! Perhaps I need to handle hand-sewing in small bits, a little each day, as opposed to the marathon I did today. Then again, it’s kind of like wearing heels, right? Sometimes one must sacrifice for the sake of fashion. : )
Anyway, I do like the idea of hand-finishing garments, if only for the couture look and feel of it. Granted, my garments are a long way from couture, but little bits here and there don’t hurt, right?
What do you think of finishing garments by hand? Worth it, or too fussy? Does it depend on the garment?