musings · sewing

doing things well

Since I mentioned in my last post that I like things to be done well, not just adequately, I’ve been thinking about how that applies to my dressmaking and other sewing and crochet. I like what I make to be properly constructed, and definitely to be fit for purpose, but I don’t feel a need to use couture techniques with everything I sew. With much of what I sew, actually! There is also an element of cost/benefit analysis that needs to go into how I make each item. How much time should I spend on it considering how it is going to be used? And is there a simpler or faster method – for example using the overlocker rather than a hong kong finish on seams – that would be equally as appropriate for this garment? There are so many alternate techniques of ultimately achieving the same or a similar end in dressmaking, and it really just depends on which one you decide would be best for the result you are after.

Much of what I sew seems fairly straightforward, but it suits our lifestyle. I’ve sewn ballgowns with fitted bodices and boning in the past, I’ve sewn tailored suits with revere collars and have inserted zippers in a myriad of ways. I haven’t made a chanel-style jacket using traditional techniques, but that is something on my “bucket list”. I have no issues with my techniques – but fitting, ah, that is another story! Fitting yourself well must be the holy grail of sewing, I think. So many variables! I know the theory, but putting it all into practice is a never-ending journey. (Oh no, I used the word “journey”, the most overused of words on Australian reality television….) And there is always more to learn, in terms of techniques and the quirks of individual fabrics. Yes, a journey it definitely is…

And then I remember that I do this for fun.  I’m not a professional, and I’ve never claimed to be one.  I don’t claim to know everything, but I know a fair amount.  I’m a good home dressmaker, taught by my Mum, at school, and then by myself with the assistance of plenty of books and magazines and a huge amount of trial, error and practice.  Not everything that I make needs to be perfect.  But it still needs to be done well!

I assume that the same message is being passed on from mother to daughter again.

"She looks like me!"

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4 thoughts on “doing things well

  1. I am at a point with my sewing where I like to enjoy the process and not just the product, so I enjoy using techniques of my choice. That may mean it is the quickest one or it may be a little more time consuming. I am learning more through each garment and often set a goal to improve when I make the next similar thing.

    Love the photo. My daughter is currently checking out my pile of Burda magazines as I type this up.

  2. I think you’ve summed it up beautifully here Lara. I’ve got to that stage of wanting a bit more than a “quick hit” from the things I sew so I like to take a bit more time and make them well. At the same time you do have to consider that not everything needs to be perfect. Sometimes with a quick outfit for the kids which will only be worn for one season it’s OK to take shortcuts….

  3. My sewing is very much “fit for purpose” as well. I have done boning in the past and recently Hong Kong seaming but no one would know the amount of work that went into that top unless I wore it inside out, which I have no intention of doing. Maybe one day when I am not so busy being a Mum and my clothes do not have to withstand the rigours of family life, I may use more of these techniques but for now, my sewing is very much fit for purpose.

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