Around this time every year the sewing machine gets cranked up into high gear, the ironing board takes up residence in the den, and the laundry inevitably piles up as my “spare” time is devoted to sewing new Easter clothes.
My sister, Tracy, who has three girls, also makes them new dresses every year, and is currently up to her ears in fabric. My mom’s habits as a seamstress rubbed off on us, and we both enjoy the work.
However, at this time of year we also laugh together about Mom’s favorite sewing catchphrase, “just some hand sewing.”
Every time she was asked eagerly if a project was almost done, she’d reply with, “Well, I just need to put in the zipper and then it’s just some hand sewing.”
“After I set in the sleeves, it’s just some hand sewing.” She still says it!
Those of you who are seamstresses understand why we laugh. Hand sewing — that sewing done away from the machine, with needle and thread — can be quite time consuming! It encompasses buttons, tacking, other notions, and hems — on sleeves, pants, and skirts. Mom always hemmed everything by hand — including the epic skirts on prom dresses and wedding gowns — and this year I have mended my ways and followed her good example.
Not only is it time consuming, hand sewing requires a lot of attention to detail. You must make certain that the buttons line up perfectly with their holes and aren’t sewn on too tightly. The wearer needs freedom to be able to button the garment easily, but the button also needs to be strongly affixed to withstand the repeated motion. The hem needs to be straight and made secure, but not too tightly or it puckers. The quality of the hand sewing can make or break the appearance of the finished product.
Anyway, back to work. I have much more than “just some hand sewing” to do.