Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Couture Hand Stitching

In May, several members taught a workshop on couture hand stitching. The hand stitching techniques included: Catch Stitch, Slip Stitch, Half Back Stitch, Tailor Tacks, Covered Snaps.

Each member completed a sample like this one.
The catch stitch is used to attach the raw edges of facings and interfacing to the wrong side of the garment, hems for stretchy fabrics like knits and secure pleats or tucks in linings. See this YouTube video for instructions .

The slip stitch is used to hem, attach linings and hold pockets in place. Use this stitch when you want a finish that is almost invisible. See this YouTube video for instructions.

The half back stitch is a very strong stitch and can be used for almost any seam. On the right side of the fabric, the half back stitch looks like a running stitch or machine stitch however on the wrong side, the stitches overlap. I couldn't find a video for half back stitch but here's a YouTube video of the BACK stitch. The half back stitch is the back stitch only with a smaller stitch length.

Tailor tacks are used to mark fabric where other marking techniques would permanently mar the fabric like silks, velvets, or tweeds. Use basting thread like this Cotton Basting Thread or this Japanese Basting Thread. The Otis Fashion Senior Studio video on YouTube is excellent. If you don't want to watch the whole video skip ahead to 3:14 minutes to 3:46 minutes to see how to sew tailor tacks then skip ahead to 4:20 minutes to 4:30 to see how to cut tailor tacks. Here's another YouTube video on making tailor tacks. This video doesn't have sound.

Covered snaps are used when you want to minimize the appearance of snaps. Use lining fabric or some other thin fabric to cover snaps. I covered the bottom of the snap only. Sorry, I couldn't find a YouTube video for this. I did find these instructions from New Mexico State University - scroll down the page to figure 9.

This was my first attempt and hand stitching in a long time so my stitches are not perfect. The stitches are not hard and instructions can be found in any good book on sewing. My advice to members who want to learn couture hand stitching...Practice, Practice, Practice.

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