Sewing

Turn of the century sewing in Detroit, Michigan Antique Singer sewing machine

Sewing is an ancient craft involving the stitching of cloth, leather, animal skins, furs, or other materials, using needle and thread. Its use is nearly universal among human populations and dates back to Paleolithic times (30,000 BC). Sewing predates the weaving of cloth.

Sewing is used primarily to produce clothing and household furnishings as curtains, bedclothes, upholstery, and table linens. It is also used for sails, bellows, skin boats, and other items shaped out of flexible materials such as canvas and leather.

Most sewing in the industrial world is done by machines. Pieces of a garment are often firstly tacked together. The machine has a complex set of gears and arms which pierces thread through the layers of the cloth and semi-securely interlocks the thread.

Some people sew clothes for themselves and their families. More often home sewers sew to repair clothes, such as mending a torn seam or replacing a loose button. A person who sews for a living is known as a seamstress, dressmaker, tailor, or garment worker.

"Plain" sewing is done for functional reasons: making or mending clothing or household linens. "Fancy" sewing is primarily decorative, including techniques such as shirring, embroidery, or quilting.

Sewing is the foundation for many needle arts and crafts, such as applique, canvas work, and patchwork.

General sewing methods

Machine sewing is the most popular method. Hand sewing is still done to some extent for finishing and repairing garments. Sergers are becoming more popular for home use, but are not capable of all the functions of a traditional sewing machine. Because of this, people usually purchase a traditional sewing machine first, and purchase a serger at a later date. Sergers prices typically start at two to three times the cost of a traditional sewing machine.

  • Hand-sewing: using a needle and thread with your hands to produce stitches.
  • Machine-sewing: using a machine to produce similar effects to hand-sewing, but at a much quicker speed. Sewing machines can be electrically or mechanically operated. Electric machines are by far more common.
  • Serging: trimming the edge of fabric and overcasting all in one step, sometimes with the option of stitching as well. Also used for creating artistic effects. Serging is ideal for stretchy fabrics or fabrics that should have neat edges. Virutally all commercially-sold clothing is completely made with one or more specialized industrial sergers.

General sewing applications

Almost all of these methods can be done by either hand, sewing machine, or a serger; however, the specific techniques used can be quite different. Some methods are not appropriate for some applications, even though it may be possible to replicate another method. As an extreme, you could technically duplicate serging with hand sewing, but it would take at least several hundred times as long to do the same work. Furthermore, some techniques are not possible with other methods: making an embroidery stitch called a french knot is easy by hand, but impossible by sewing machine or serger.

  • Dressmaking/Tailoring/General: general techniques to create clothing and other textile projects.
  • Mending: using general techniques and specialized methods such as darning to repair textiles.
  • Quilting: sewing together layers of fabric and/or fibrefill to make warm blankets and clothing, or used for effect. Machine quilting is most common, but quilting "purists" and traditionalists do all quilting by hand.
  • Serging: uses multiple threads to produce a stretchy and secure edge finish or seam that keeps raw edges of fabric neat. The term "serging" is commonly used to refer both to the act of sewing with a serger, and the type of effect the serger produces.
  • Embroidery or machine embroidery: artistic embellishment.

Occupations requiring sewing

  • Cobbler
  • Corsetier
  • Draper
  • Dressmaker
  • Glover
  • Hatter
  • Quilting
  • Sailmaker
  • Tailor
  • Upholsterer

Sewing tools and accessories

Sewing box (~1955) with sewing notions
  • awl
  • bobbin
  • bodkin
  • dressmaker's or tailor's shears
  • measuring tape
  • needle
  • pattern
  • pattern weights
  • pin
  • pincushion
  • rotary cutter
  • scissors
  • seam ripper
  • tailor's chalk
  • thimble
  • thread
  • tracing paper
  • tracing wheel
  • wax, often beeswax

Notions (objects sewn into garments or soft goods)

Closures:

  • buckle
  • button (buttons can be sew-through or have shanks.)
    • toggle
  • chinese frog
  • eye
  • hook
  • hook-and-loop tape (often known by brand name Velcro)
  • snap
  • zipper

Finishing and embellishment:

  • bias tape
  • elastic
  • eyelet
  • grommet
  • heading
  • interfacing
  • rivet
  • trims (fringe, beaded fringe, ribbons, lace, sequin tape)

List of stitches

  • back tack
  • backstitch
  • basting stitch (or tacking) - for temporary fixing
  • blanket stitch
  • blind stitch (or hem stitch)
  • buttonhole stitch
  • chain stitch
  • cross-stitch
  • darning stitch
  • feather stitch
  • hemming stitch
  • lockstitch
  • overlock
  • padding stitch
  • running stitch - for seams and gathering
  • sailmakers stitch
  • slip stitch - for fastening a folded edge to a flat piece of fabric, or to another folded edge
  • stretch stitch
  • straight stitch
  • topstitch
  • whipstitch (or oversewing stitch) - for protecting edges
  • zig-zag stitch

References

  • Singer: The New Sewing Essentials by The Editors of Creative Publishing International ISBN 0865733082

This page about Sewing includes information from a Wikipedia article.
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Finishing and embellishment:. Often the result of a sexual attraction is sexual arousal. Closures:. The degree to which such fetishism exists or has existed in different cultures is controversial. Furthermore, some techniques are not possible with other methods: making an embroidery stitch called a french knot is easy by hand, but impossible by sewing machine or serger. Many people exhibit high levels of sexual fetishism, and are sexually aroused by other stimuli not normally associated with sexual arousal. As an extreme, you could technically duplicate serging with hand sewing, but it would take at least several hundred times as long to do the same work. The causal mechanism for this oscillation has not been established but differences in the simultaneous characterisation of body hair attractiveness within a culture between different social classes may indicate that the dynamic force driving the diffusion of differing male body hair social practices is in fact mate selection by females.

Some methods are not appropriate for some applications, even though it may be possible to replicate another method. Cultural development seems to oscillate through multi-generational cycles from one pole to another: extreme hair growth, especially of facial hair accompanied by elaborate grooming rituals is often followed within a couple of generations by a widespread antipathy to body hair and the widespread adoption of depilatory practices. Almost all of these methods can be done by either hand, sewing machine, or a serger; however, the specific techniques used can be quite different. At various times in history and throughout various cultures and sub-cultures the growth, maintenance and display of facial or body hair produced as a by-product of testosterone activity within male bodies has been considered a primary characteristic of sexual attractiveness, and of a display of masculinity in general. Sergers prices typically start at two to three times the cost of a traditional sewing machine. Males who make use of their hormone testosterone through exercise or bodybuilding techniques find themselves attractive as their muscles take shape. Because of this, people usually purchase a traditional sewing machine first, and purchase a serger at a later date. Those who believe that the muscular contour of a male is attractive, will choose other males with well-defined muscles.

Sergers are becoming more popular for home use, but are not capable of all the functions of a traditional sewing machine. Among heterosexuals, the initial attraction usually begins with the physical features of the human form and attire. Hand sewing is still done to some extent for finishing and repairing garments. It would be preferable if the man is at least a little above the average in height in the given population of males. Machine sewing is the most popular method. In European populations the average height of males is about 175 cm whereas the average height of females is about 165 cm - a 6% difference. . For the woman, the man should be at least a few percent taller than her in order to be perceived as handsome.

Sewing is the foundation for many needle arts and crafts, such as applique, canvas work, and patchwork. It is thought that sexual attraction to a man by a woman, is somewhat determined by the height [citation needed] of the man. "Fancy" sewing is primarily decorative, including techniques such as shirring, embroidery, or quilting. It may also merely be that, as it is unhealthy to be too fat, this can be seen as unattractive. "Plain" sewing is done for functional reasons: making or mending clothing or household linens. Therefore weight is at least partially an indicator of social status, which is itself sexually desirable to many. A person who sews for a living is known as a seamstress, dressmaker, tailor, or garment worker. Rather, weight is a visible indicator of social status and wealth; in some societies, only the rich can afford to be fat, while in others, only the rich can afford liposuction and personal trainers, or have meaningful employment that promotes healthy diet and exercise habits.

More often home sewers sew to repair clothes, such as mending a torn seam or replacing a loose button. However, this cannot be solely because fat deposits provide the energy needed for developing a healthy fetus, as in other cultures, women so thin as to stand a high risk of miscarriage are considered attractive. Some people sew clothes for themselves and their families. In some cultures, both historically and in the present day, a female with greater than average weight has been seen as sexually attractive. The machine has a complex set of gears and arms which pierces thread through the layers of the cloth and semi-securely interlocks the thread. Weight, whether tending toward thinner or heavier, has sometimes been considered a physical factor governing attractiveness of both genders (typically women), but there is some debate suggesting that this is actually a social factor indicating desirability. Pieces of a garment are often firstly tacked together. Healthy-looking skin is also considered a beauty trait.

Most sewing in the industrial world is done by machines. Toenails also feature as a component of sexual attractiveness to some degree. It is also used for sails, bellows, skin boats, and other items shaped out of flexible materials such as canvas and leather. The preference for this effect has resulted in the fact that artificial nails and manicures have grown extensively popular for women beginning in the 20th century. Sewing is used primarily to produce clothing and household furnishings as curtains, bedclothes, upholstery, and table linens. Another indication of health of an individual is the ability to grow long, strong, healthy-looking fingernails. Sewing predates the weaving of cloth. Often, women with long hair are thought to appear more beautiful, as the ability to grow long, healthy looking hair is an indication of continuous health of an individual.

Its use is nearly universal among human populations and dates back to Paleolithic times (30,000 BC). The appearance of health also plays a part in physical attraction. Sewing is an ancient craft involving the stitching of cloth, leather, animal skins, furs, or other materials, using needle and thread. The realization to the contrary following the feminist movement and sexual revolution has brought about a new realm of plastic surgery and so-called designer vaginas. Singer: The New Sewing Essentials by The Editors of Creative Publishing International ISBN 0865733082. Vulval aesthetics are relatively new in being observed, as previously the female genitalia was regarded as either repulsive, uninteresting, nonexistent, or taboo in Western culture. zig-zag stitch. In regard to the female genitalia, the aesthetic consensus stresses the roundness and largeness of the labia majora, and the symmetry of the labia minora.

whipstitch (or oversewing stitch) - for protecting edges. Conversely, the shape of the buttocks of an attractive person (male or female) tends to resemble the shape of a cardioid, which is the inverse transform of a parabola. topstitch. One idea of physical beauty regarding the breasts of women is that the best shape approaches the shape of a three dimensional parabola (which is called a Paraboloid of revolution) as opposed to a hyperbola, or a sphere. straight stitch. It is typical for a plastic surgeon to correct a perceived error of proportion, such as making a nose that is too big smaller via rhinoplasty, or making breasts larger via breast implants. stretch stitch. A strong aspect to sexual attraction is proportion.

slip stitch - for fastening a folded edge to a flat piece of fabric, or to another folded edge. These include depilatory practices (acomoclitism: intentional hair removal for visual and other effects) and a preference for light or blonde hair [1]. sailmakers stitch. In Western societies, various cultural features may reflect the preference for neotenic female partners; many are dated to antiquity. running stitch - for seams and gathering. A youthful, or neotenic, appearance is a notable factor governing the degree to which a female individual is regarded as sexually attractive. padding stitch. There may sometimes be a focus on particular features of the body, such as breasts, legs, hair, or musculature.

overlock. However, these factors are complicated by many other factors. lockstitch. A sexually attractive visual appearance in humans generally involves:. hemming stitch. The importance of pheromones in human relationships is probably limited and widely disputed, although it appears to have some scientific basis. feather stitch. Frequently a pleasant smelling perfume is used to encourage the member of the opposite sex to more deeply inhale the air surrounding its wearer, increasing the probability that the pheromones from the individual will also be inhaled.

darning stitch. Theoretically, the "wrong" pheromone smell may cause someone to be disliked, even when they would otherwise appear attractive. cross-stitch. As with other animals, pheromones may also enter into the picture, though less significantly than in the case of other animals. chain stitch. (disputed ). buttonhole stitch. Some studies suggest that one source of physical attraction of a human male to a human female is dependent upon a proportion between the width of the hips and the width of the waist (aka waist-hip ratio) (see Golden ratio).

blind stitch (or hem stitch). This involves the senses, in the beginning especially:. blanket stitch. Much of human sexual attractiveness is governed by physical attractiveness. basting stitch (or tacking) - for temporary fixing. Sexual attractiveness of a person to another person depends on both persons;. backstitch. Certain aspects of what is sexually attractive is universally agreed upon across the human species, or nearly universal among particular cultures or regions, while other factors are determined more locally, among sub-cultures, or simply to the preferences of the individual, which may come about as a result of a variety of genetic and psychological factors.

back tack. Because human social behavior is often highly complex, a sexual relationship may entail one which, at its beginning, has little or no sexual behavior, and only after a period of time, which can be a courtship period, or a threshold such as marriage, does sexual activity enter the interaction patterns. trims (fringe, beaded fringe, ribbons, lace, sequin tape). The concrete meaning of a sexual relationship differs across cultures and history. rivet. Typically, sexual attraction refers to a person being drawn to another in order to have a sexual relationship. interfacing. These signals, known as pheromones, can produce a profound effect upon an animal's behaviour even when present in very minute quantities.

heading. Frequently (especially in insects) chemical signals are used to generate sexual interest and to locate potential mates. grommet. It is possible that these features by the giving or the receiving ends cause major survival problems (see game theory), especially where, as in moose, a direct competitive element is involved. eyelet. Conversely, the receiving sex may be predisposed to perceive these features as sexual attraction. elastic. Some of these attributes seem to exist solely to demonstrate fitness and health, for example by demonstrating the ability to sustain an "expensive" feature with no other apparent survival function.

bias tape. In many species, there are behaviours which appear to be sexual display. zipper. Often, there is some element of the animal's body which exists for sexual attraction, like the bright plumage and crests of some species of birds. snap. Sexual attractiveness in non-human animals depends on a wide variety of factors. hook-and-loop tape (often known by brand name Velcro). .

hook. This type of attraction is often important for the survival of sexually reproducing species, while in many species serves no immediate reproductive goal. eye. Sexual attraction, in species which reproduce sexually, is attraction to other members of the same species for sexual or erotic activity. chinese frog. pleasing bodily posture. toggle. a high degree of mirror symmetry between the left and right sides of the body, particularly of the face.

button (buttons can be sew-through or have shanks.)

    . a lack of visible disease or deformity. buckle. a general body shape and appearance sanctioned by the local culture. wax, often beeswax. olfaction (how the other smells, naturally or artificially; the wrong smell may be repulsive). tracing wheel. audition (how the other sounds (in their voice and movements)).

    tracing paper. visual perception (how the other looks). thread. thimble. tailor's chalk.

    seam ripper. scissors. rotary cutter. pincushion.

    pin. pattern weights. pattern. needle.

    measuring tape. dressmaker's or tailor's shears. bodkin. bobbin.

    awl. Upholsterer. Tailor. Sailmaker.

    Quilting. Hatter. Glover. Dressmaker.

    Draper. Corsetier. Cobbler. Embroidery or machine embroidery: artistic embellishment.

    The term "serging" is commonly used to refer both to the act of sewing with a serger, and the type of effect the serger produces. Serging: uses multiple threads to produce a stretchy and secure edge finish or seam that keeps raw edges of fabric neat. Machine quilting is most common, but quilting "purists" and traditionalists do all quilting by hand. Quilting: sewing together layers of fabric and/or fibrefill to make warm blankets and clothing, or used for effect.

    Mending: using general techniques and specialized methods such as darning to repair textiles. Dressmaking/Tailoring/General: general techniques to create clothing and other textile projects. Virutally all commercially-sold clothing is completely made with one or more specialized industrial sergers. Serging is ideal for stretchy fabrics or fabrics that should have neat edges.

    Also used for creating artistic effects. Serging: trimming the edge of fabric and overcasting all in one step, sometimes with the option of stitching as well. Electric machines are by far more common. Sewing machines can be electrically or mechanically operated.

    Machine-sewing: using a machine to produce similar effects to hand-sewing, but at a much quicker speed. Hand-sewing: using a needle and thread with your hands to produce stitches.

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