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:. a tube top cannot have a collar. Closures:. Some combinations are not applicable, of course, e.g. 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. one can disinguish:. 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. For such clothing, including vests, sweaters, jackets, etc.

Some methods are not appropriate for some applications, even though it may be possible to replicate another method. These can be screen printed or embroidered. 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. Recently, (late 20th century) it has become common to use tops to carry messages or advertising. Sergers prices typically start at two to three times the cost of a traditional sewing machine. The smallest differences may have significance to a cultural or occupational group. Because of this, people usually purchase a traditional sewing machine first, and purchase a serger at a later date. Many terms are used to describe and differentiate types of shirts and their construction.

Sergers are becoming more popular for home use, but are not capable of all the functions of a traditional sewing machine. Other tops which are not generally referred to as shirts include vests, sweaters, jackets and coats. Hand sewing is still done to some extent for finishing and repairing garments. Tops which would generally not be called shirts:. Machine sewing is the most popular method. Some common types or synonyms of shirts and tops:. . In the US it tends to have a vaguer meaning, being applied to many types of (mainly men's) tops, leaving the word "top" generally for ladieswear.

Sewing is the foundation for many needle arts and crafts, such as applique, canvas work, and patchwork. In the UK, it refers most often to what Americans call a dress shirt or tailored shirt, i.e., a garment with a collar, cuffs, and a full vertical opening with buttons. "Fancy" sewing is primarily decorative, including techniques such as shirring, embroidery, or quilting. A shirt is a piece of clothing for the trunk of the body. "Plain" sewing is done for functional reasons: making or mending clothing or household linens. With or without hood. A person who sews for a living is known as a seamstress, dressmaker, tailor, or garment worker. With regard to pockets: how many (if any), where, and with regard to closure: not closable, just a flap, or with a button or zipper.

More often home sewers sew to repair clothes, such as mending a torn seam or replacing a loose button. without collar. Some people sew clothes for themselves and their families. turtle neck collar A collar that covers most of the throat. 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. Also casual. Pieces of a garment are often firstly tacked together. Rarely seen in modern fashion.

Most sewing in the industrial world is done by machines. band collar — essentially the lower part of a normal collar, first used as the original collar to which a separate collarpiece was attached. It is also used for sails, bellows, skin boats, and other items shaped out of flexible materials such as canvas and leather. The most casual of collars worn with a tie. Sewing is used primarily to produce clothing and household furnishings as curtains, bedclothes, upholstery, and table linens. button-down collar — A collar with buttons that fasten the points or tips to a shirt. Sewing predates the weaving of cloth. A moderate dress collar.

Its use is nearly universal among human populations and dates back to Paleolithic times (30,000 BC). straight collar — or point collar, a version of the windsor collar that is distinguished by a narrower spread to better accommodate the four-in-hand knot, pratt knot, and the half-windsor knot. Sewing is an ancient craft involving the stitching of cloth, leather, animal skins, furs, or other materials, using needle and thread. wing collar — best suited for the bow tie, often only worn for very formal occaisions. Singer: The New Sewing Essentials by The Editors of Creative Publishing International ISBN 0865733082. tab collar — a collar with two small fabric tabs that fasten together behind a tie to maintain collar spread. zig-zag stitch. The standard business collar.

whipstitch (or oversewing stitch) - for protecting edges. windsor collar— or spread collar, a dressier collar designed with a wide distance between points (the spread) to accommodate the windsor knot tie. topstitch. with collar

    . straight stitch. with open or tassel neck. stretch stitch. with plunging neck.

    slip stitch - for fastening a folded edge to a flat piece of fabric, or to another folded edge. with v-neck. sailmakers stitch. with polo-neck. running stitch - for seams and gathering. With regard to the neck:

      . padding stitch. men's shirts are often buttoned on the right whereas women's are often buttoned on the left.

      overlock. vertical opening on the upper front side with buttons or zipper

        . lockstitch. no opening at the upper front side. hemming stitch. V-shaped permanent opening on the top of the front side. feather stitch. left and right front side not separable, put on over the head; with regard to upper front side opening:
          .

          darning stitch. When fastened with buttons, this opening is often called the placket front. cross-stitch. vertical opening on the front side, all the way down, with buttons or zipper. chain stitch. With regard to opening or front:

            . buttonhole stitch. covering part of the legs (essentially this is a dress; however, a piece of clothing is either perceived as a shirt (worn with trousers) or as a dress (in Western culture mainly worn by women)).

            blind stitch (or hem stitch). covering the crotch. blanket stitch. until the waist. basting stitch (or tacking) - for temporary fixing. See halfshirt. backstitch. leaving the belly button area bare (much more common for women than for men.

            back tack. With regard to level of the lower edge:

              . trims (fringe, beaded fringe, ribbons, lace, sequin tape). A link cuff is fastened like a french cuff, except is not folded over, but instead hemmed, at the edge of the sleeve. rivet. More formally, a link cuff is worn. interfacing. This type of cuff has four buttons and a short placket.

              heading. Typically a french cuff, where the end half of the cuff is folded over the cuff itself and fastened with a cufflink. grommet. buttonholes only for use with cufflinks.

                . eyelet. Multiple buttons aligned perpendicular to the cuff hem, or parallel to the placket constitute a barrel cuff. elastic. A single button or pair aligned parallel with the cuff hem is considered a button cuff.

                bias tape. buttons — single or multiple. zipper. See closed placket cuff. snap. no buttons. hook-and-loop tape (often known by brand name Velcro). with long sleeves, may further be distinguished by the cuffs:

                  .

                  hook. with half-long sleeves. eye. with short sleeves. chinese frog. covering the shoulders, but without sleeves. toggle. with only bands on the shoulders.

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

                    . with no covering of the shoulders or arms — a tube top (not reaching higher than the armpits, staying in place by elasticity, see e.g [3]). buckle. With regard to covering the shoulders and arms:
                      . wax, often beeswax. diaper shirt — a shirt for infants which includes a long tail that is wrapped between the legs and buttoned to the front of the shirt. tracing wheel. It is mechanically analogous to an apron with a string around the back of the neck and across the lower back holding it in place.

                      tracing paper. halter top — a shoulderless, sleeveless, backless garment for women. thread. see e.g [2]). thimble. tube top or boob tube — a shoulderless, sleeveless "tube" that wraps the torso (not reaching higher than the armpits, staying in place by elasticity or by a single strap that is attached to the front of the tube. tailor's chalk. [1].

                      seam ripper. See e.g. scissors. fishnet shirt, transparent, initially popular fashion item of punk culture or goth culture. rotary cutter. baseball shirt — usually distinguished by a three quarters sleeve, team insignia, and flat waistseam. pincushion. halfshirt — a high-hemmed t-shirt.

                      pin. Often worn with a sweater vest. pattern weights. golf shirt — same as polo shirt, typically embroidered with club or designer insignia; maybe be short or long-sleeved. pattern. guayabera — an embroidered dress shirt with four pockets. needle. Actually called an Aloha shirt, but is often also called a "tropical shirt," hawaiian shirts are often not fitted and are woven from very light fabric.

                      measuring tape. Hawaiian shirt — a colourful short-sleeve dress shirt. dressmaker's or tailor's shears. rugby shirt — typically a rugged long-sleeved polo shirt, of thick cotton or wool. bodkin. sweatshirt — cotton or synthetic athletic shirt, with or without hood. bobbin. nightshirt — often oversized, ruined or inexpensive light cloth undergarment shirt for sleeping.

                      awl. blouse — lady's shirt; the term is also used for some men's military uniform shirts. Upholsterer. Initially a men's garment, is normally seen in modern times being worn by women. Tailor. tunic — primitive shirt, distinguished by two-piece construction. Sailmaker. Also referred to as a cami, shelf top, spaghetti straps or strappy top.

                      Quilting. camisole — woman's undershirt with narrow straps, or a similar garment worn alone (often with bra). Hatter. Often worn by construction workers for increased movability. Glover. construction shirt — essentially a sleeveless t-shirt with large armholes. Dressmaker. wife beater — a tank top worn as an outer layer, also called an "A-shirt" or athletic shirt.

                      Draper. tank top — a sleeveless T-shirt.

                        . Corsetier. shirt or dress shirt — a shirt with collar and full vertical opening with buttons; left and right sides of this shirt meet with the placket front. Cobbler. Short or long sleeve. Embroidery or machine embroidery: artistic embellishment. polo shirt — a v-neck shirt with a full collar; opening often closed with buttons or zipper.

                        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. T-shirt — a casual shirt without a collar or buttons, usually short-sleeved. 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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