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:. For example, "football and swimming are my favourite sports" would sound natural to all English speakers, whereas "I enjoy sport" would sound less natural than "I enjoy sports" to many North Americans. Closures:. In all English dialects, "sports" is the term used for more than one specific sport. 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. In American English, "sports" is more common for this usage. 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. In Commonwealth English, sporting activities are commonly denoted by the collective noun "sport".

Some methods are not appropriate for some applications, even though it may be possible to replicate another method. The closeness of art and sport in these times was revealed by the nature of the Olympic Games which, as we have seen, were celebrations of both sporting and artistic achievements, poetry, sculpture and architecture. 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. The modern term 'art' as skill, is related to this ancient Greek term 'arete'. Sergers prices typically start at two to three times the cost of a traditional sewing machine. Art and sport were probably more clearly linked at the time of Ancient Greece, when gymnastics and calisthenics invoked admiration and aesthetic appreciation for the physical build, prowess and 'arete' displayed by participants. Because of this, people usually purchase a traditional sewing machine first, and purchase a serger at a later date. It impresses us because of the ability, skill, and style which is shown.

Sergers are becoming more popular for home use, but are not capable of all the functions of a traditional sewing machine. In the same way, a sporting performance such as jumping doesn't just impress us as being an effective way to avoid obstacles or to get across streams. Hand sewing is still done to some extent for finishing and repairing garments. So an aesthetically pleasing car is one which doesn't just get from A to B, but which impresses us with its grace, poise, and charisma. Machine sewing is the most popular method. This is similar to a common view of aesthetic value, which is seen as something over and above the strictly functional value coming from an object's normal use. . The definition of "sport" above put forward the idea of an activity pursued not just for the usual purposes, for example, running not simply to get places, but running for its own sake, running as well as we can.

Sewing is the foundation for many needle arts and crafts, such as applique, canvas work, and patchwork. The fact that art is so close to sport in some situations is probably related to the nature of sport. "Fancy" sewing is primarily decorative, including techniques such as shirring, embroidery, or quilting. Similarly, there are other activities that have elements of sport and art in their execution, such as performance art, artistic gymnastics, Bodybuilding, Parkour, Yoga, dressage, etc. "Plain" sewing is done for functional reasons: making or mending clothing or household linens. Ice skating and Tai chi, for example, are sports that come close to artistic spectacles in themselves: to watch these activities comes close to the experience of spectating at a ballet. A person who sews for a living is known as a seamstress, dressmaker, tailor, or garment worker. Sport has many affinities with art.

More often home sewers sew to repair clothes, such as mending a torn seam or replacing a loose button. See also: List of countries by national sport. Some people sew clothes for themselves and their families. These trends are seen by some as contrary to the fundamental ethos of sport being carried on for its own sake, for the enjoyment of its participants. 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. Nationalism in general is often evident in the pursuit of sport, or in its reporting: people compete in national teams, or commentators and audiences can adopt a partisan view. Pieces of a garment are often firstly tacked together. Until recently, under Rule 21, the GAA also banned members of the British security forces and members of the RUC, now reconstituted as the PSNI, from playing Gaelic games, but the advent of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 led to the eventual removal of the ban.

Most sewing in the industrial world is done by machines. Until recently the GAA continued to ban the playing of soccer and Rugby union at Gaelic venues under the controversial Rule 42, although Gaelic games are frequently played on soccer and rugby arenas, particularly outside of Ireland. It is also used for sails, bellows, skin boats, and other items shaped out of flexible materials such as canvas and leather. Even until the mid 20th century a person could have been banned from playing Gaelic football, hurling, or other sports administered by the GAA if s/he played or supported Football, or other games seen to be of British origin. Sewing is used primarily to produce clothing and household furnishings as curtains, bedclothes, upholstery, and table linens. In the history of Ireland, Gaelic sports were connected with cultural nationalism. Sewing predates the weaving of cloth. The 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin was an illustration, perhaps best recognised in retrospect, where an ideology was developing which used the event to strengthen its spread through propaganda.

Its use is nearly universal among human populations and dates back to Paleolithic times (30,000 BC). Some feel this was an effective contribution to the eventual demolition of the policy of apartheid, others feel that it may have prolonged and reinforced its worst effects. Sewing is an ancient craft involving the stitching of cloth, leather, animal skins, furs, or other materials, using needle and thread. When apartheid was the official policy in South Africa, many sportspeople adopted the conscientious approach that they should not appear in competitive sports there. Singer: The New Sewing Essentials by The Editors of Creative Publishing International ISBN 0865733082. There have been many dilemmas for sports where a difficult political context is in place. zig-zag stitch. This has led to the control of each sport through a regulatory body to define what methods of competition are acceptable and what are considered cheating.

whipstitch (or oversewing stitch) - for protecting edges. The successful execution of a sport requires the consensus agreement of the participants on a set of rules for fair competition. topstitch. Today the consensus is that David Beckham (England and Real Madrid Footballer) is the most famous sportsman in the world, with a fanatical following particularly in Asia where statues have been erected of his likeness. straight stitch. The entertainment aspect also means that sportsmen and women are often elevated to celebrity status, or in some cases near-god-like. stretch stitch. This has resulted in some conflict, where the paycheck can be seen as more important than recreational aspects: or where the sport is changed simply to make it more profitable and popular therefore losing some of the traditions valued by some.

slip stitch - for fastening a folded edge to a flat piece of fabric, or to another folded edge. The entertainment aspect of sport, together with the spread of mass media and increased leisure time, has led to professionalism in sport. sailmakers stitch. Athletes, coaches, fans, and parents sometimes unleash violent behaviour on people or property, in misguided shows of loyalty, dominance, anger, or celebration. running stitch - for seams and gathering. Violence in sports involves crossing the line between fair competition and intentional aggressive violence. padding stitch. Compare Sportsmanship with Gamesmanship.

overlock. Reciprocally, the other team is expected to return the ball from the throw-in. lockstitch. For example, in football it is considered sportsmanlike to kick the ball out of play to allow treatment for an injured player on the other side. hemming stitch. Not only is it important to have good sportsmanship if one wins, but also if one loses. feather stitch. Sportsmanship, within any given game, is how each competitor acts before, during, and after the competition.

darning stitch. Indeed, the formal regulation of sport is a relatively modern and increasing development. cross-stitch. Some of these activities have been popular but uncodified pursuits in various forms for different lengths of time. chain stitch. In this way sports evolve from leisure activity to more formal sports: relatively recent newcomers are BMX cycling, snowboarding, wrestling, etc. buttonhole stitch. People responsible for leisure activities often seek recognition and respectability as sports by joining sports federations such as the IOC, or by forming their own regulatory body.

blind stitch (or hem stitch). But often the pressures of competition (See the related article, "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." or an obsession with individual achievement - as well as the intrusion of technology - can all work against enjoyment and fair play by participants. blanket stitch. is not winning but taking part” are typical expressions of this sentiment. basting stitch (or tacking) - for temporary fixing. The well-known sentiment by sports journalist Grantland Rice, that it's “not that you won or lost but how you played the game," and the Modern Olympic creed expressed by its founder Pierre de Coubertin: "The most important thing . backstitch. Sportsmanship expresses an aspiration or ethos that the activity will be enjoyed for its own sake.

back tack. However, it often emerges that skills are honed to increase racing performance and achievements in competition, rather than the converse. trims (fringe, beaded fringe, ribbons, lace, sequin tape). For example, beginners in sailing are often told that dinghy racing is a good means to sharpen the learner's sailing skills. rivet. It is interesting that the motivation for sport is often an elusive element. interfacing. Sportsmanship is defined as "conduct and attitude considered as befitting participants, including a sense of fair play, courtesy toward teammates and opponents, a striving spirit, and grace in losing.".

heading. The examples given are intended to be illustrative, rather than comprehensive. grommet. One system for classifying sports is as follows, based more on the sport's aim than on the actual mechanics. eyelet. Main article: List of sports. elastic. Not only has professionalism helped increase the popularity of sports, but additionally the need to have fun and take a break from a hectic workday or to relieve unwanted stress, as with any profession.

bias tape. Professionalism became prevalent, further adding to the increase in sport's popularity. zipper. These trends continued with the advent of mass media and global communication. snap. The Industrial Revolution and mass production brought increased leisure which allowed increases in spectator sports, less elitism in sports, and greater accessibility. hook-and-loop tape (often known by brand name Velcro). Activities necessary for food and survival became regulated activities done for pleasure or competition on an increasing scale, for example hunting, fishing, horticulture.

hook. Sport has been increasingly organised and regulated from the time of the Ancient Olympics up to the present century. eye. The Olympic Games were held every four years in Ancient Greece, at a small village in Pelopponisos called Olympia. chinese frog. This suggests that the military culture of Greece was an influence on the development of its sports and vice versa. toggle. Wrestling, running, boxing, javelin, discus throwing, and chariot racing were prevalent.

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

    . A wide range of sports were already established at the time of the Ancient Greece. buckle. Among other sports which originate in Persia are polo and jousting. wax, often beeswax. Ancient Persian sports such as the traditional Iranian martial art of Zourkhaneh had a close connection to the warfare skills. tracing wheel. Other sports included javelin throwing, high jump, and wrestling.

    tracing paper. Monuments to the Pharaohs indicate that a range of sports were well developed and regulated several thousands of years ago, including swimming and fishing. thread. Gymnastics appears to have been a popular sport in China's past. thimble. There are artifacts and structures which suggest that Chinese people engaged in activities which meet our definition of sport as early as 4000 BC. tailor's chalk. Although there is scant direct evidence of sport from these sources, it is reasonable to extrapolate that there was some activity at these times resembling sport.

    seam ripper. Some of these sources date from over 30,000 years ago, as established by carbon dating. scissors. There are many modern discoveries in France, Africa, and Australia of cave art (see, for example, Lascaux) from prehistory which provide evidence of ritual ceremonial behaviour. rotary cutter. The development of sport throughout history teaches us a great deal about social changes, and about the nature of sport itself. pincushion. Main article: History of sport.

    pin. . pattern weights. The difference of purpose is what characterises sport, combined with the notion of individual (or team) skill or prowess. pattern. A sport has physical activity, side by side competition, self-motivation and a scoring system. needle. A sport consists of a physical and mentally competitive activity carried out with a recreational purpose for competition, for self-enjoyment, to attain excellence, for the development of a skill, or some combination of these.

    measuring tape. The Meaning of Sports by Michael Mandel (PublicAffairs, ISBN 1-58648-252-1). dressmaker's or tailor's shears. Golf. bodkin. Paintball. bobbin. Curling.

    awl. Biathlon. Upholsterer. Strength (Weight-lifting, triple jump, shot put ...). Tailor. Display (Gymnastics, bodybuilding, equestrianism, diving...). Sailmaker. Target (Archery, shooting, darts ...).

    Quilting. Other examples include: Rugby, ice hockey, field hockey, softball, basketball, American Football...). Hatter. Team (cricket, Baseball and football (soccer) are the most popular globally, with baseball being popular in the Americas and in Japan, cricket in the Commonwealth of Nations and football being popular throughout the world. Glover. Court (Tennis, shuttlecock sport, badminton, volleyball, squash, Table tennis...). Dressmaker. Combat (Wrestling, Judo, karate, boxing, fencing, tae kwon do...).

    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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