Which came first for me? Learning to sew by hand or by machine? I’m sitting here trying to remember….I think it was by hand first? Maybe? Regardless, when I did learn to sew by hand, I remember as a young girl, sitting as patiently as possible with some old scrap of calico, trying to get my stitches as even and neat as possible. You know, like Laura Ingalls Wilder had to do when she was a child. I remember really struggling with not bunching up the thread on the back side of the fabric, and trying to make sure knots didn’t form on the thread itself….it was a very stressful experience! 🙂 But, like so many things in life, the more practice and time I put in, the easier and better looking my hand sewing became.
This is why when I see any examples of hand sewing so stunning that one questions if a machine did it, it makes me simply giddy with envy and happiness. Whoever that person was who created that magnificent item, valued and understood the importance of practice, practice, practice. A needed skill and character trait that is so important when trying to better oneself. I’ve collected four pictures of such garments that really show the skill and detail of really, I mean really, high quality hand sewing!
Let’s begin with this late 1700’s bodice. I mean, look at all that hand detail! The stitches, the curves, the ruffles….. absolutely gorgeous!!
These stays also show the skill and hand strength needed to create small, identical stitches through very stiff fabric and boning!
The back of this bodice also shows the delicate hand stitching that can really take a garment up to the next level:
And of course, the most amazing of all is this 1820’s bonnet, complete with tatting, that shows not only a person’s skill, but the needed height to accommodate the hairstyle of the period!