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:. Used socks also seem to be a popular item for sale on the auction site eBay. Closures:. The song claims that "The longer you wear them the blacker they get.". 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. It is said, for example, in a popular campfire song, that black socks never get dirty. 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. This continued into 2005 [3].

Some methods are not appropriate for some applications, even though it may be possible to replicate another method. In 2004 and the early 1980s, mismatched socks were a fashion statement[2]. 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 with a less ruthless but still logical outlook on life will simply buy multiple pairs of the exact same kind of sock, down to any pattern the sock may exhibit. Sergers prices typically start at two to three times the cost of a traditional sewing machine. Some with a ruthlessly logical approach to life may solve this problem by taking every sock in the house to a local charity and then purchasing a sufficient number of replacement socks in a limited number of styles and colors, thus maximizing the odds of finding matching socks in the laundry. Because of this, people usually purchase a traditional sewing machine first, and purchase a serger at a later date. It has also been noted that disposing of a lonesome sock virtually guarantees that its long-lost mate will re-appear the next day.

Sergers are becoming more popular for home use, but are not capable of all the functions of a traditional sewing machine. There are any number of humorous theories to "explain" the disappearance. Hand sewing is still done to some extent for finishing and repairing garments. In western culture one of a pair of socks is popularly understood to disappear, usually at some point during the washing and drying process, leaving the owner with many socks without mates. Machine sewing is the most popular method. However, in dustier climes, wearing no shoes inside is considered an acceptable alternative to sweeping the floor. . Since socks can be somewhat wet from sweat, especially right after shoes are taken off, the problem can be compounded.

Sewing is the foundation for many needle arts and crafts, such as applique, canvas work, and patchwork. When socks are worn by themselves, without shoes, they pick up dust and dirt on the ground or floor. "Fancy" sewing is primarily decorative, including techniques such as shirring, embroidery, or quilting. White socks can also become very dirty, especially in the soles, but this is typically not a result of wearing them with shoes. "Plain" sewing is done for functional reasons: making or mending clothing or household linens. If the elastic is over-stretched and loses its elasticity the sock may be considered unwearable. A person who sews for a living is known as a seamstress, dressmaker, tailor, or garment worker. Too tight, and the sock is uncomfortable; too loose and the sock slips down the leg, also causing discomfort.

More often home sewers sew to repair clothes, such as mending a torn seam or replacing a loose button. The elastic at the top of the sock is crucial for the sock. Some people sew clothes for themselves and their families. Some find this size too small, and have to stretch out the sock to barely cover their enormous feet. 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. Many find this size too big, and have to bunch up the sock in front of their toes to keep the heel from crawling up the back of their leg. Pieces of a garment are often firstly tacked together. Another problem is that socks usually come in only one size, typically designated "Fits All" or "Fits Sizes 6-13".

Most sewing in the industrial world is done by machines. It may just be better to forget about the sock. It is also used for sails, bellows, skin boats, and other items shaped out of flexible materials such as canvas and leather. What one has to do to retrieve his or her sock is disassemble the dryer. Sewing is used primarily to produce clothing and household furnishings as curtains, bedclothes, upholstery, and table linens. The missing socks seem to vanish to nowhere, but they really go to the inside of the dryer, behind the drum. Sewing predates the weaving of cloth. This leads to the famous "one-sock question": does one toss the mate, only (per Murphy's Law) to have the lost footwear reappear days later, or does one hold onto the mate, thinking that by some twist of fate, the wanderer will return?.

Its use is nearly universal among human populations and dates back to Paleolithic times (30,000 BC). Socks also have an alarming propensity to lose their mates in the laundry. Sewing is an ancient craft involving the stitching of cloth, leather, animal skins, furs, or other materials, using needle and thread. A pair of shoes will often outlast a pair of socks. Singer: The New Sewing Essentials by The Editors of Creative Publishing International ISBN 0865733082. Socks tend to wear out quickly, especially thinner dress socks. zig-zag stitch. A common complaint is the fact that socks often develop holes, especially in the heel, which quickly grow in size.

whipstitch (or oversewing stitch) - for protecting edges. This word was probably derived from some Asian language. topstitch. The Latin word may have derived from the ancient Greek sukkhos which was a Phrygian shoe. straight stitch. It then passed through Old English socc and Middle English socke. stretch stitch. The word sock comes from the Latin word soccus, which was a type of low-heeled loose-fitting shoe or slipper, used by the Greeks and also by Roman comedians.

slip stitch - for fastening a folded edge to a flat piece of fabric, or to another folded edge. . sailmakers stitch. A sock is also the term given to the layer of leather or other materials covering the insole of a shoe, some times only part of the insole is covered leaving the forepart visible, this is known as a half-sock. running stitch - for seams and gathering. Socks can also be used for alternative purposes, including:. padding stitch. Wearing white socks with a dark suit is a sterotypical fashion mistake of those wearing suits infrequently.

overlock. With formal or semiformal wear (such as a suit) the sock colour should match the colour of the shoes and/or pants. lockstitch. Mismatched socks were stereotypically the symbol of someone who was absent-minded. hemming stitch. Although socks are sold in pairs, contrary to shoes (which are made specifically for the right and left foot), the two socks are usually the same. feather stitch. In the United States, shorter socks such as quarter socks, low-cut socks or "no-show" socks have become more popular for wear with athletic shoes, especially by teenagers and young adults, as someone who wears high socks with shorts (outside of a sporting context) may be the subject of ridicule.

darning stitch. A toe sock[1] wraps each toe individually. cross-stitch. There are the just-below-the-knee socks used by soccer and football players (and some fashionable basketball players as well), crew socks, mid-calf and bare socks, and even extra-long over-the-knee socks worn by many sport fencers. chain stitch. Sock lengths vary, from covering only the foot, to knee level. buttonhole stitch. A teammate’s leg can be distinguished from the legs of an opposing player legs based on the color and pattern of their socks.

blind stitch (or hem stitch). For example, different colored socks come in handy when struggling for a ball in a soccer match at times when several players become bunched. blanket stitch. Colored socks may be a key part of a sport team's uniform. basting stitch (or tacking) - for temporary fixing. They come in many colors, though are typically dark for formal attire and white for athletic or casual attire. backstitch. Socks are usually made from cotton, wool, or nylon.

back tack. Without socks, the moisture given off by ones feet will build up and could freeze, leading to frostbite. trims (fringe, beaded fringe, ribbons, lace, sequin tape). Socks not only help with sweat, they also help keep feet warm and dry in cold environments where frostbite can be a common problem. rivet. Socks help to absorb this sweat and draw it to areas where air can wick the perspiration away. interfacing. The average foot has 250,000 sweat glands and the average pair gives off about half a pint (almost 250mL) of perspiration per day.

heading. The most commonly known "Tube Socks" were invented by Thomas Kelly and Hugh Ryan, in 1875. grommet. Socks are also frequently worn without shoes, typically indoors. eyelet. They are sometimes worn with open-toed shoes, such as sandals, but the practice is considered somewhat unfashionable (and can earn the wearer the label of shoebie). elastic. Socks are designed for wear with footwear that covers the entire foot, such as athletic shoes, boots, or dress shoes.

bias tape. A sock is a baglike covering for the human foot and/or lower leg, which is designed to:. zipper. A socks link is a string with clips on both ends that clip socks together while they are in the washers and dryers. snap. A socks bag is a permeable bag that holds socks together while they are in the washer and dryer. hook-and-loop tape (often known by brand name Velcro). Socks are by nature cannibalistic, but they only eat their mates.

hook. This neatly explains why there are always too few socks and too many coathangers. eye. Socks are the larval form of the coathanger. chinese frog. wormholes open in the dryer, sucking socks into a different part of the universe, a planet that closely resembles ours except that socks mysteriously appear out of nowhere, while coat hangers vanish. toggle. As a warmer alternative to a snowball.

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

    . When filled with rocks, or other hard objects, as a rudimentary weapon. buckle. As a mitten, albeit with no thumb opening. wax, often beeswax. As a sock puppet. tracing wheel. absorb sweat from the feet.

    tracing paper. keep feet warm, and. thread. ease chafing between the foot and footwear,. 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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