auroraceleste: (Default)
[personal profile] auroraceleste
Essential information - I am right handed. Keep in mind that when I say I work right to left, you may want to reverse that if you handsew with your left hand. Also, keep in mind that stitch lengths are general, no one I know keeps a guage out to measure each one, but the lengths listed are lengths to strive for.

Basting Stitch:
A long stitch, usually with the stitches even (length of thread showing on top is same as space in between lengths). Stitches should be about 1/4" long. I usually work right to left.

Back Stitch:
A short, strong sewing stitch. Take a long stitch about 1/4" long. Then, instead of going forward, insert your needle close to where the thread goes into the fabric. Take another stitch about that comes out 1/4" from where the thread last shows. Insert your needle close to where the first stich ends, and continue on in that fashion. On the front there should be an even row of stitches; on the back there should be a single thread showing in some places and two overlapping threads showing in most places. I usually work right to left.

Slip Stitch:
A stitch that is used to join two pieces together without the stitches showing on the outside I use this a lot for items that have been lined, then turned, to finish of the hole that's been left open, or to finish the bottom edge of a corset that's not bound. Turn both seam allowances to the inside and press. Take your first stitch from the inside out, so that the knot is hidden inside. Then take a stitch on one side of the fabric, going through the fold of the fabric only so that no thread is viewable from the outside. Then take a stitch on the opposite fold, starting the stitch at the same place as where you came out of the opposite fold. Continue in this manner, pulling tight enough that no thread shows but not tight enough that the fabric puckers behind you. At the end try to tie the knot as close to the fold as possible, then cut the end and use the point of your needle to tuck the knot into the fold so it doesn't show. I usually work right to left.

Prick Stitch:
This seam is used when you have to sew to the outside of the fabric but don't want the seam to show. It is often used to insert zippers (often called a hand-picked zipper) or to hold facings and linings to the inside of the fabric. It is essentially a very short backstitch. Start your knot on the inside of the garment, but work on the outside. As the thread comes out on the front side take a tiny backstitch, leaving a stitch only a few threads long, then a long length is left on the back side of the fabric before coming out on the front again for another tiny stitch. I usually work right to left.

Vertical Hemming Stitch:
My favorite of the 50-million-different-hand-hemming techniques. I like it because all the thread is on the inside, so there's less places to catch a heel on and break, undoing all that work. Fold the hem and press. Start the knot on the inside of the hem flap, coming up about 1/8" from the top of the hem. Go straight up to the outside fabric and take a tiny forward stitch. I try to catch only a few threads. Then slide your needle between the outside fabric and the flap for about 1/4-1/2", coming up about 1/8" from the top of the hem. Repeat, pulling tight enough to keep the flap flat against the outside but not enough to pucker the fabric (yeah, this sounds easy, but it can be a real pain). Work right to left.

My Vertical Hemming Stitch:
I usually work this with a backstitch instead of the forward stitch, and I work left to right, or, even better, I hold the fabric so I can sew from bottom to top.

Catch Stitch:
A hemstitch I use on especially thick fabrics or in places where I might need to take it down and re-do it (like hemming corsets, where you would take down the hem to remove boning for washing, then re-insert and re-sew). Fold the hem and press. Start the knot on the inside of the hem flap, coming up about 1/4" from the top of the hem. Laying the thread at about a 45 degree angle, take a short backstitch in the outside fabric, catching only a few threads. Then, laying the thread again at a 45 degree angle, take a tiny backstitch on the flap fabric. The resulting seam looks kinda like a backstitched zig-zag, with the fold caught between the zigs and zags. This seam is a lot less awkward if you work it opposite from other seams you sew. I work left to right.

Blind Catch Stitch:
A cross between the Catch Stitch and the Vertical Hemming Stitch. Fold the hem and press. Start your knot on the inside, taking a tiny backstitch on the inside of the flap. Make the stitch only a few threads long. Go about 1/4", then take a tiny backstitch on the outside fabric where it is hidden under the fold. Repeat, doing all the stitches in the fold so that they are hidden on both sides. Best worked left to right.
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December 2010

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