Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The haphazard sewist

I sometimes joke that I need to have a cable access cooking show called The Haphazard Cook because although almost everything I cook comes out pretty good, I rarely use a recipe and I throw things together in a totally random, unplanned, and extremely messy way. I'm one of those people who changes the "recipe" in the middle because I don't have oregano but I do have cumin, and uses every single dish in the kitchen because I suck so bad at estimating sizes and amounts, and ends up with a light dusting of flour on my cheek and batter on the tip of my nose and sauce down my blouse like a clueless 1950s I Love Lucy type sitcom wife, only much less cute. And probably not in as adorable a home-sewn dress and apron either!

It's just my personality. I don't like to plan ahead, and I like to get things done quickly so that I can enjoy the product of my labor.

I can't be quite so haphazard in my sewing though because I need to follow patterns, and as I learned from the black eyelet collar debacle those little dots and clips and things on the patterns actually, you know, matter and are there for a reason so if the tailor tack falls out or the chalk marking smudges away it's not going to work to just be like, oh whatever, I'll just eyeball where it's supposed to match up and all will be fine, la la la.

Still though there are ways in which my sewing is a bit more like my cooking, especially because I don't like to finish anything on the inside because I am lazy and no one's going to see it anyway. So I don't trim seam allowances unless I have to, and then I do it kind of crazily and raggedly, and I don't do any seam binding or anything like that. I'm really not even that careful about pressing seams open or in whatever direction the pattern calls for; I do press them because that is important, but I do it sort of willy-nilly if it seems like it won't really make a huge difference in the finished garment. On the outside of the garment anyway.

But I feel a little bad about it sometimes, because so many other sewists (or sewers? I hate that term because it looks so bad, but sewist is sort of annoying too but I don't have any alternative so anyway...) seem very detail-oriented and I imagine that even the insides of their garments are beautiful and neat with lovely little Hong Kong finishes or seam binding from charming floral scrap material they cut and folded and stitched themselves. I remember in the Little House books (or was it Little Women? something like that [gosh I'm feeling awfully parenthetical today, aren't I?]) someone was taught that the back of your sewing work is supposed to look as nice as the front or else you just weren't good enough or something like that. I don't know. On the other hand these are the types of people that graded our poor sewing forebears down for stupid things like not using a thimble on an otherwise adorable finished work, so why should I listen to them anyhow?

Since I probably only have about 4 readers if that many on this blog, I think I'll go ask somewhere else, but I'd like to hear about others' philosophies or experiences on finishing the insides/backs of garments. Does anyone else even bother? Is it really as big a pain in the ass to do as it seems to me? Do the insides and backs of your garments just look better than mine to begin with because I'm still a sort of beginning sewist and I don't really care all that much anyway if the cutting lines are a bit ragged or my thread gets a little tangled where I first started sewing a seam?

Maybe I'll gin up my courage a little bit and post some actual pics of the disgraceful state of my garment guts so that you can see what I mean for real. I'll show you mine if you show me yours.

1 comment:

stacy said...

I think my seams look better these days because I have a serger and it finishes my seams for me. Before I had one, I didn't typically finish seams - although it depended on the garment (if I was using a sheer fabric I would do french seams or if it's an unlined jacket, I'll take more care on the way it looks). I usually don't trim seams, etc unless they are bulky, etc. I have been using more patterns with a smaller seam allowence so that also helps!