I bought a vintage slip and knickers in July 2018, for less than $8! Quite a bargain, when I consider that the silk jacquard they are made of is probably worth $30/yard! And when I examined the seams, I found that the things were constructed with a mix of very tiny machine stitches, and equally tiny hand stitches. The front and back panels were machine stitched, then hand embroidered. The side seams were hand stitched in French seams, then the bottom hem hand-embroidered. I believe this would have been called "hand-finished" back in the day. (Perhaps by French nuns?) As I gushed to the shopkeeper (she knows me as a regular at that shop, since it's enticingly close to my bus stop), I realized that she didn't know how I could tell that it was hand-sewn, and I thought I should post some pictures to show the difference between hand stitching and machine stitching.
The silk slip and knickers make poor pictures, because the stitching is very fine and the exact color of the fabric, so here are some other hand-sewing close-ups that display the stitches better. They are all from projects I have done.
Now, since I'm the kind of person who delights in a proliferation of terms, I'll point out very briefly that the dotted line you see from a running stitch can be made in two different ways, by sewing or by stabbing. Look at the pictures above left: the top one shows the sewing method, with the needle scooping down and up to make a series of stitches, the needle entering the fabric at a slant; the bottom one shows a single stab stitch, with the needle entering the fabric at a right angle, and each stitch pulled all the way through before making the next. In appearance, stab stitches are smaller, with smaller spaces between them. In use, they are slower to do. Running stitches are longer, with bigger spaces between them, and they can be done quickly. If you're pulling stitches out, running stitches slide out more easily than stab stitches because the thread isn't turning sharp corners at each stitch.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
1/13/2020 12:14:50 pm
It amuses me that you gush to the shopkeeper. :) Love you!
2/11/2021 11:06:35 pm
After reading your article I was amazed. I know that you explain it very well. And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article.
Leave a Reply.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
Blogs I Read