The forgotten joy of hand-sewing

Last week a co-worker asked me shorten some of her daughter’s pleated school uniform skirts. When I agreed, my plan was to replicate the existing hem by finishing the raw edge by serger and then using a blind hem stitch on my sewing machine to complete the hem. Great plan in theory, but not when it came time to execute the plan.

I hemmed the first skirt by hand and will probably do the same for the remaining skirts. Why?

Well, besides the fact my mom and home ec teacher drilled into my head that a hand-sewn hem gives a quality look to a garment that no machine can ever match – there’s simply too much fullness in the skirt that needed to be eased in at the hem. I practiced my blind stitch by machine many times before I gave up and pulled out my hand-sewing needle. Why? the practice blind hems by machine weren’t that great.

I completely stitch the entire hem by hand in less than 45 minutes. I cued up a favorite podcast, threaded the needle and quickly found my zone. Surprisingly soothing and really relaxing – just what I needed after a day spent dealing with technology. The finished result was much more to my liking.

Don’t think this means I’m going to start binding all my quilts by hand. Nope! Only the ones destined to be displayed in a quilt show. But garment hems – absolutely!