Shirtmaking

Taking Time to Finish

This is a little somethin’ somethin’ I’ve been sewing on the side of many other projects lately.

I’m sort of a classic finisher-type. I like having a checklist, checking off. I like the satisfaction of pulling off and crumpling sticky notes when a task is done. And this blouse, along with its counterpart skirt which I’ll share later, has been on that checklist for a year. In fact the whole outfit was cut, fused and carefully folded into a bag with all of its notions a year ago.

But here’s the funny thing. I’ll get down to the end of a sewing project and can’t be bothered to really finish-finish. I dislike hemming, for instance. I’m an accuracy nut but not at the end. I feel done once I can put it on and pretend it’s done. I didn’t finish the last baby hem on my Cambie, or hem this silk jersey dress (you’re next, buddy!). My fur coat is perfectly done except for the opening in the sleeve lining which was kept open to bag-line the coat. Yes, I wore this about ten times with a hole in the sleeve.

Perhaps I’ve been watching one too many videos of tailors hand-stitching in a calm but deft manner. And reading about folks who love to hand-stitch while watching their favorite TV program. I have a slapdash approach to button-sewing but this time I decided to take some pleasure in one of those end-tasks. I settled down into a comfy chair with a needle, thread and beeswax and an episode or two of Lie to Me. (My second time through this great but short-lived show–I love Tim Roth!) The problem is I can’t look at TV and buttons at the same time. How do you guys do that? Re-runs, where you know all the lines anyway?

Anyway, in all my 20-odd years of sewing, I’ve never really learned a proper way to sew a button that looks neat from front to back, and more importantly, stays put. So after a bunch of tutorial-hopping I decided to practice.

I got so into the hand-sewing that I almost… considered… hand-overcasting the sleeve edges before hemming them. Whoa. Personally, I like serging, and I think it looks neat and refined. Back when sergers/overlockers first became more available to home-sewers, they were expensive but a revelation after pinking edges. A neat and refined revelation, not a quick and dirty way out. But I digress. I stopped short of hand-overcasting because I’m very inexperienced at it. I was so happy with the way the blouse was turning out, and a little bit sad when the hand-sewing was done, that I needed one more thing to really finish-finish, with my hands.

I’ve had these labels for a couple of years and can you believe I’ve never used them? Probably because I’d have to hem first! Alright, so the stitches are unraveling but I’ll get more practice in…

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