Thursday, October 25, 2007

Instant Replay

This is one of my favorite posts and since Toya has highlighted it in the podcast...I decided to do an "Instant Replay." So for those of you who have just started to read my blog or if you have been reading it for is an Instant Replay...enjoy!

Quality Sewing
January 10, 2006

I have just come in from my day job - you know the time I spend away from my sewing machine so that I can support the upkeep of my machine, my fabric collection, notions stash, etc! And for the last few days I have been musing on something my daughter kept saying to me ~ quality sewing.

Now, how did the daughter I taught to sew say "quality sewing" back to me.....well, I was working on my Pinstripe Magic Collection (otherwise known as SWAP sewing) and I was debating whether or not to add rayon seam binding to the bottom of a hem on my skirt. Now in my head I knew that this would give the garment a more finished look but I wanted to wear the skirt the next day. It was getting late in the evening and every extra step meant more time that I didn't necessarily have.

Having my daughter say "quality sewing" became like a mantra in my head. Of course, I added the rayon seam binding to the bottom hem, not just sewn on and hemmed down but folded in half, ironed, sewn by machine and then hand stitched. Lots of extra time but definitely worth it when I wore the skirt.

But the term quality sewing hasn't left my head since. So like Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex in the City" I want to ask a question. How long can you keep sewing without wanting to do quality sewing? And exactly what is quality sewing?

Well, to me, it is the fine little details that insure that your garment is made with the best construction techniques. You know all of those details that cause a garment's completion date to be pushed back!!!! *LOL* Underlining, putting more than one row of stitching in a hem, Hong Kong finishing seams and not just serger finishing them, hand stitching a lining instead of bagging it. Anything that takes time and shows a respect for the construction of the garment ~ quality sewing.

Now how many of us engage in quality sewing? How many of us take the time to enjoy the process? How many of us enjoy knowing that the garments we are wearing have those quality details in them that others can't sew or begin to guess at? And is it truly worth our time and effort?

I remember this article that was written in Threads. It showed a dress made straight out of the pattern following the pattern instructions and another version made that added all of those extra details (quality sewing). You could definitely tell that there was a difference in those two dresses. One just looked finer than the other.

So I guess that is what I am going for....the finer looking garment and why I will continue to succumb to the mantra of "quality sewing!"


  1. I have just finished listening to the podcast while handstitching and cutting out the next project. It was great to listen to you and Toya. Thanks for taking the time to share! It was really interesting.

  2. Hi Carolyn, This is a great post and you created a fabulous collection. The Danville Sewing Dairy posted Quality vs. Quantity. I totally agree. Thank you,

  3. I couldn't agree with you more. All that time and all those little details really make a garment special. For me, this is what sewing is about, because sewing is a pleasure and a passion and not a run to finish more clothes (although I wouldn't mind at all having lots of new clothes).
    And thanks for reminding me how gorgeous your Pinstripe Magic wardrobe is..

  4. Ah,, I love that post, when I read it, I felt guilty, in that I want to be better, but I don't know how, I try to find the right methods, but how do you know what to look for,, you know, I believe in quality sewing but its a still a struggle to just focus instead of just getting it done for instant gratification,, you know...

  5. Yes I remember this post. It's the one that had a great impact on me at the time as it opened my mind to a new way of looking at sewing.
    Heather from Nova Scotia

  6. Ditto. I recently had to make a dress to wear to my daughter's wedding, and the fitting (by self to self, without duct tape dummy of self) was going so badly that I ran out of time for making the top. This was silk dupioni with silk habotai lining and I was supposed to use silk organza underlining/interfacing also, but I eliminated the organza from the top, and had to do slapdash finishing elsewhere (till 5am the day of the wedding, no choice). Boy do I regret it. The top has no shape -- the organza that I skipped was really a must. So through bad experience I agree. Those details REALLY matter. I am determined to rip up the top and re-make it just so the outfit can be worn again. Carolyn, it is wonderful to have you as a model and an inspiration!

  7. Oh sure, after years of handstitching linings into my garments I *just* discovered how to bag a lining. Come to find out I've known how to do quality sewing all along and I didn't even realize it. Thanks for the reminder that while it may take longer upfront the end results make it worthwhile. BTW, great interview.

  8. I've just finished listening to the podcast (I'm at work now, so that's a secret, lol), YOU WERE GREAT!!!! Fabulous interview!

    And you know what are my feelings towards quality sewing, LOL!

  9. sorry, I meant " you know what my feelings towards quality sewing are" (in portuguese we say the other way around, that's why I make this mistake sometimes...

  10. Absolutely. This came a pefect time, just when I've been struggling with those stupid flowers for MG. Even my husband said I looked like I was going to burn the whole thing last night. A deep breath, a good night's sleep, your timely post and I'm back on my way! Thanks!

  11. Carolyn,
    You are correct in quality vs quantity! It would depend on several things -- cost of material, final use, type of pattern being made. All things things work into the equation.
    If we want to wear it right away--maybe skip a few details, but be willing to live with the "homemade look." I, too, read the article in Threads. Taking the time to use good technique will always give you good results!

    Now, am I using good technique to finish my 7 year old's Halloween costume???? No. I haven't for any of her costumes and it hasn't mattered one bit. My Grandmother used to say, "Who's going to notice on a galloping giraffe?"

    Perhaps we could ask oursevles (a la Ms Bradshaw), "Do we want to look homemade or like we spent a $1,000 bucks (but didn't)?"

  12. Carolyn, Thank you for your understanding. I am talking about the comment you left on my blog. I hope you know that You are one of the few people I would allow to visit my sewing room.

    I confess to not hearing your interview just yet. I am saving it for Sunday night. I want to hear it then...after my crazy weekend. It will be my way to unwind and get inspired for the following week.

  13. I'm in sync with Toya in that I want to be better, but I'm not too sure about the right methods. I'm constantly looking at RTW construction and going ok - I see the detail and then when I get home and pull out my sewing paraphernalia - I think wow... there's a lot to do.


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