corecouture

Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

What Do YOU Think?

51 Comments

Me-Made-May is a very serious and significant milestone in the home-sewer’s repertoire, but for week 4 I’d like to set it aside and look at quality. We leave the fashionably significant for a moment and briefly return to a little seriousness with the What Do You Think series complete with the recompense of total freedom to voice your opinions without backlash or consequence. Three cheers for democracy, suffragettes and true freedom of speech!!!!   I’m heralding ReadyThreadSew’s sentiments – honesty, integrity and critcial feedback only – not just “being nice”. In the comments section, comment as you see fit. Discussion is the motive here, not compliments or concurrence. And I take no responsibility for the subsequent comment content – apart from removing bad words! – you have been warned. So, today’s subject actually irks me beyond words, so if you see a big blank page, then that’s me being really, really angry about his… header

The most recent purchase option from Craftsy etc.that arrived in the in box today.

If, like me, you’re subscribed to (can’t remember how many sites) you probably receive at least 3 or 4 of these adverts from different retailers. I like Craftsy, I like their classes and advice and lots of other things but wait, that is not the gripe … this is:…..the steps into the realm of – home-made is shite (Gaelic for crap) and that is emphatically not what I like. In the words of the marketing blurb – ‘ Use an expedited construction order to build the jacket and develop professional pressing and finishing skills. Accomplish beautiful cuffs and collars without hand stitching, achieve accurate and even topstitching and learn when and where to use proper interfacing. Skip the basting and use little to no pins.’ Why should home-made try to emulate factory production, mass market, RTW garments? What’s wrong with taking time in sewing something? A bit of tacking and basting here and there, listening to the radio and daydreaming; sitting in the sunshine with needle and thread in hand, then drifting off; getting round to finishing it off later…. dreaming of fabrics and patterns and designs and lifestyle suitability. Time – take your time… what’s the rush? Rush is RTW and commercialisation. DSCN3116 Why should a garment have mm perfect topstitching? – Know what? That says to me computer/machine – laser guided  did it, not a human. A hundred women (hopefully not children and that the women are treated well) sitting in production-mode factory rows sewing only specialist jobs. Is it any wonder that your invisible zip is inserted perfectly – No, because the woman that inserted that zip sews nothing else – she’d be crap at putting your waistband on. Home sewers are jacks of all trades and masters of none: but with practice and determination and outright tenacity, we can become the experts, the tailors, the seamstresses, designers and couturiers of our own (and others’) wardrobes. There’s something out there that says if your sewing doesn’t look like this, then it’s crap! THAT IS CRAP. DSCN1394 Oh the starter sewers and beginners and the novices and the nubes – you will be tempted by perfection. This is not a bad thing, but do not even try to make your skirt look like Primark made it. They didn’t make your skirt – YOU did. Take pride in that alone. The slightly wonky hem and the waistband that’s too tight/loose, the zip that works but not quite all the way to the top, the mis-matched-pattern across the seams – it’s yours! zipOnly yours and you couldn’t buy it in the shops for a million pounds, so that makes it unique: priceless: yours! We all know, ’cause I’ve told you before, the price of haute couture, but just to remind you and develop whatever envy/avarice emotions within you again, here’s some examples: Oh Good Grief, it hurts, doesn’t it?

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Now let’s look, shall we,  at the inside of some real haute couture – years and years of apprenticeship and learning and training; world-reonwned designers thought of this; and it costs thousands and thousands of whatever currency your work in to create it…. Lovely, unique,  individual stitches 64F CJ images shirt fell seam Uneven sewing but done by a master of their craft and by hand.  No-one in the whole wide world has one like this -priceless! My blood and flesh friends who don’t sew admire my clothes (they’re really nice people) but I know they look at my home-made clothes with RTW eyes – uneven topstitching, bubbly zips, wonky hand-worked buttonholes and welt pockets that don’t quite meet where they should. They say “Lovely”, “Gorgeous” , “Super” and in their minds are thinking – uneven, wobbly, wonky, doesn’t match. So here I am; after years and years of part-time sewing, getting things wrong a million times and learning from it, stull can’t put an invisible zip in first time and sleeves take at least two goes: but yet, My fabric patterns match across seams

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My shoulders sit at my shoulders and not at some ‘universal’ woman’s shoulders DSCN3682 My skirts are as long as I want, not what length Hong Kong factories make them: My dresses have sleeves if I want and at the length I want.DSCN3858 DSCN3624 My waistlines rest at MY waist There’s no wrinkling of fabric at MY swayback [well actually there is, but that’s because I forgot to do the the adjustment!] The same item can be made in countless colours and fabrics, not just what the ‘designer’ ordered. Slide4Why do we continue to have the idea that home-made has to look like factory -made for it to be good?  Yes, it’s nice to have even topstitching – but done twice with one needle at home displays pride, skill and expertise, not a computer driven twin-needle machine. I could go on – stop me now, stop me now….. Home-made is haute couture: do not be deceived by this label. Haute couture means literally “high sewing” or “high dressmaking” or “high fashion” – fashionably elegant clothes made to a high standard – that’s what YOU do in your sewing rooms: and if you’re not doing it yet – it’s what you aspire to. Your sewing space may not be an atelier in gay Paris, but often a corner in the living room or a fold out table in the bedroom – but that doesn’t prevent you from sewing to a very high standard – the haute couture! What Do You Think? Do you think your topstitching has be mm perfect? Does your hand stitching have to be invisible? Do your zips glide invisibly?

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51 thoughts on “What Do YOU Think?

  1. You hit the nail on the head, Ruth! Who needs industrial sewing for high volume production? I get one garment at a time in my sewing room made this way and I have shared the crappy construction photos. I sew using old methods, careful planing and thinking and real thread in a hand needle and miles of basting after the pins are removed in fact a dress does not even get the pins removed until the hand basting is done. Hem lines are thread basted, then turned under and hand basted up before the client tries on the garment again. Hell, everything I do is hand basted and tried on and I never do machine sewing until the end. And every seam is pressed flat and then pressed open too. All edges are serged/overlocked or bound or pinked….or it doesn’t go out the door.

    Not everyone sews like this but I do. I consider these clothes mine while they are here for alterations or from scratch and they have to be done right with old traditions and techniques using modern tools. If you want to wear and sew cranked out fast fashion, that is fine but compliments and banks checks/cheques are a nice reward after a job well done. Your clothes with matching plaid seams and creative colors and styles are just a dream! Keep it up!

    • Sometimes when you show us the insides I can’t help but feel very righteous indeed. I would think that a RTW that receives your alterations will be a hundred times better than when it arrived.

  2. I have to say that i do hope for perfection each time i set out to sew, but i still have never achieved it. i do get one or too elements perfect, and that does make me so proud! I try to focus on those bits insteadof on the ones that ended up wonky. And i do wear my clothes proudly, especially because like you, RTW never fits me right, so my sewn clothes, because of the better fit, are aleady infinitely better than anything i could buy. I do look to RTW for inspiration. The color combinations, the styles, they do know better than me, so i gladly copy this or that. For example, I love the look of many Zara outfits, but i copy the style, not the way they are sewn, and definitely not the cheap fabrics! And as for speed, i’m hopelessly slow but i’ve accepted that as part of my nature and part of what makes sewing enjoyable for me. the journey is for me much more important than the destination. I dont want my clothes to look like RTW, i want them to look like me!

    • Lucia, nothing wrong in aiming for perfection – I would like to think that we all aim for perfection every time although we not always achieve it…
      I dont want my clothes to look like RTW, i want them to look like me! – Well said

  3. I sewed for a long time but had a break when my children rebelled!! I started again to make my Mother of the Bride dress Nd after all this time I have finally managed to put in an invisible zip! I have taken the dress to pieces many times to get it right I fel that its now right but not perfect. As to top stitching am making a demin short coat which is top stitched around the collar. This will have to be undone as its not straight going around the round collar. I like making my own clothes as I nearly always have to redo the seams or sew on buttons of cheap shop brought clothes. Love your blog. Best wishes Evelyn

    • Thanks Evelyn, I’m forever re-sewing buttons on RTW, but yet never once on my own makes – strange that.
      Good for you for trying and trying again to get the stitching right – I love my seam ripper.

  4. A powerful message. Thank you for writing and giving this topic “air”. Why do we sew? Is it to replicate what we can buy or to make what we desire? I like using hair canvas, pad stitching, etc. That makes my sewing rise to the level I can’t afford at retail. There’s something to be said for doing it slowly and carefully – instead of eliminating what makes a garment good and worthy of wearing by doing speed techniques and shortcuts. I want to enjoy making and wearing my self-sewn garments.

    • Carol I too make things in fabrics and using techniques that I couldn’t possible afford if I were to buy them. The enjoyment of sewing is mostly in the making, the wearing is secondary

  5. Odd–this is the first Craftsy class I’ve been interested in taking. I’ve been sewing my own clothes for 47 years, and I enjoy the process. I knit my own socks and sweaters too, so you know I’m not focused primarily on speed and quantity. You should sew what you want, in any way you want. I’ve been following your blog for some time because I admire your style, and I can’t imagine anyone thinking your garments are substandard in some way. (Why would you ever think that?)

    However, with my postmenopausal body, I spend so much time on pattern alteration and muslin making that I like the idea of assembling the garment a little faster when I finally get something that might possibly fit and look good on me. Where I live, there is no garment-shopping opportunity but Wal-Mart. I even make my own underwear now in order to have something nice that fits.

    You’ve got a cute figure and look good in your clothes, so perhaps you don’t spend so many hours sewing with no new clothes to show for your work–just pattern pieces and discarded muslins.

    I looked at Janet Pray’s bio, and she describes learning her techniques when she moved from home sewing for personal use to making her own line of boutique clothing, something I think a lot of young sewing enthusiasts would like to try. Also, many people who work in the garment industry are highly skilled. I’ve met American garment workers who lost their factory jobs overseas in the 1990’s, and who opened their own sewing businesses. I’d be happy to add their skill sets to my own.

    I probably won’t take the Crafty class, but I may very well buy one of Janet Pray’s books (because I prefer text to video).

    • Rebecca, I don’t dis the techniques of speed sewing or taking from commercial practices and using them at home – what I find really irksome is the comparison that factory made looks better and if our makes don’t look like they came from a factory then they’re no good. I fully understand that in business you couldn’t possible sew the way we do at home and make a profit.

      I would also think that after 47 years there’s a lot you could teach us – not the other way around!
      Thanks for reading and commenting – I always appreciate it.

  6. I have never understood the not using pins thing. It appeared on a few blogs a couple of years ago and because of, I guess, “peer pressure” I tried to teach myself how to sew without pins – then realised that I actually enjoy pinning. I like the control it gives me, and I enjoy the removal of each pin as I sew each little bit of each seam.

    I definitely don’t want or need to know how to sew faster – I have too many damn clothes in my wardrobe already! If I wanted fast I could just go out and buy a new dress for, probably, less money than it costs to make one.

    I don’t like hand sewing so I do search out ways of avoiding it, but I don’t see it as a bad thing – just something I don’t like doing. I rarely catch-stitch a hem because I don’t mind the way a top stitched hem looks – but I also don’t think another sewist is wasting their time when they do choose a hand sewn hem – they like hand sewing – I don’t.

    I’m actually happy that I didn’t discover the online sewing world until I’d been sewing for about six months and had already made a few garments I was very happy to wear. I have seen people in the forums on PR and other sites who are too scared to start actually putting a piece of fabric under their presser foot until they know that what they are going to make is perfect – this makes me sad.

    There is a book called ‘Yeah, I Made it Myself’ by Eithne Farry that I bought when I very first started sewing and I’m so happy I did. The whole premise of the book is to just cobble together something, wear it, and be proud – I did, and I’m still enjoying sewing six or seven years later.

  7. I do think this class is a sad departure from the usual Craftsy excellent subjects. Perhaps we should reserve judgement until we can see a full review from someone who has actually taken the class. It may be that the summary is not an accurate description of the content – I do think that perhaps it might still contain some useful tips and tricks and time-savers suitable for the home sewer, without glorifying the chain store sweat shops and their techniques to knock out any old crap as fast and cheap as they can.
    As another commenter said – if we just wanted something fast and cheap we would go to the high street and buy it instead of taking the time to painstakingly create clothing ourselves.
    I’ve been sewing less than a year, so I can tell you with honesty and certainty that nothing I make can be considered beautifully finished, couture, or even especially well fitting as yet. But I enjoy sewing immensely and I also feel a sense of pride when I wear what I’ve made and sit down without it splitting open! And if someone admires it or comments – well I cannot be happier.
    We all sew differently and have different standards for an acceptable fit and finish – and it there are sewers who would like to learn a few new tricks or sew a little faster – great. Let me know if you learn anything interesting for a newbie!
    Deby at So Sew Easy

    • Deby, thanks for coming along for the discussion and welcome to the wonderful world of sewing (but you know that already).
      I agree, if I can do something quicker and easier then that’s a good thing, like putting a zip in once would be a good thing!

  8. I didn’t know I was supposed to be fast- I thought I was supposed to enjoy the process and the tactile activity of it. Well, I had that wrong.

    • All this time Anne and you were thinking and doing the wrong things – just shows you….
      Mmmm….. tactile activity – Your best yet, I think.

  9. Thank you. The day dreaming is an essential part. I sew dreaming I’ll do it perfectly and ending up with slapdash that I love still.
    I have been enjoying your blog.

  10. 🙂 I’ll never forget actually opening up my first couture garment and being shocked – SHOCKED I tell you – at the “messiness” of the interior. It gave me wondrous pause for thought. I still like the insides of my garments to look pretty and perfectly finished, but it’s nice to know that the expert sewers at the haute couture level focus on the interior as a foundation, and it’s all about the fit and finished exterior. And did I mention the fit? I’m horrified at how RTW clothes don’t fit people and they brag about the sale price! Yeeps! Fitting is still one of those things I’m hoping to master, but patience and dreaming and pinning and basting and enjoying the process has slowed me down enough to not want to dash off a garment at record speed. *shudder* Those are the ones I usually send out the door after then shortest amount of wear.

    • Ha, me too. I’ve recently realised that the stuff that gets removed form the wardrobe is the stuff I rushed or didn’t take time to think about – in other words – slap-dash.
      But the insides are fascinating things – for years I thought hand stitches were genuinely invisible in haute couture, when in actual fact they’re not – they’re just the same as yours and mine!

  11. I sew for the pleasure it gives me during and after. I have never been fast and now ‘with my postmenopausal body’ (love your expression Rebecca) I spend a lot of time making muslims, basting and pulling apart garments to attain a fit I am happy with. I can not buy RTW clothes that fit me well. Would I like to do it faster? Sure, but it is not that important to me. What is important is to get the best result I can manage. That means striving for even topstitching and perfectly set in sleeves etc. That does not mean that I actually achieve such perfection, but I think it is a good goal to have. All this means that I make fewer garments, but I also don’t need quite so many clothes these days. There are some of us who wants lots of clothes and who are not particularly concerned about the finish or the good fit, but I think most home sewers soon pass that casual approach and begin to strive for better results. I enjoy reading those blogs where the sewer strive for the best they can do – not quantity but quality.

  12. I have taken many sewing classes in the last 10 to 15 years of my life, and the sewing instructors always want you to critique your work. The first words out of my mouth are always “it’s not perfect, but…” I am generally proud of what I make, and at this point in my life about 90 to 95% of what I wear is all “me made.”

    I think the absolute wonderment of having clothing that fits MY unique body (when I take the time to make the proper adjustments and make a muslin to check fit,) is far superior to having a “perfect” RTW garment. They don’t ordinarily fit anyone well, and the things that are made to sell to the general population are generally sewn so poorly that it’s not worth the amount they cost.

    In my mind, I think a garment hand sewn, taking the time to do it correctly is far superior to anything on the RTW market today unless you’re able to buy designer’s RTW, which is generally a higher quality. I love the dreaming, the planning, the process, and don’t think having a garment made in a day is superior to one that I have loved and cared for, and to be honest, ripped, and resewn during the process.

    • Lynda, what’s a frock worth if it hasn’t been ripped out at least once? That’s the aiming for perfection that RTW doesn’t have. Even when I bought my Moschino pants at £XXX, I took them home and ripped out the waistband to get a better fit – even expensive stuff doesn’t fit the way home made does.
      Maybe that’s how we should measure perfection – the number of times somethings been ripped out and resewn! I like that idea

  13. Good post again!
    I’m my harshest critique when it comes to my makes, so if anybody was to comment on my uneven topstitching (they don’t, never have, really!) I would offer to teach them how to sew.
    What I am looking for is consistency. I want to make pretty bound buttonholes or welts or collars and set my sleeves properly every time I set out to do it. So if one method, be it RTW or Couture or a tip from another blogger, will help me get better results, you bet I will use it! If it also happens to be faster all the better, but if faster looks like shite I won’t use it.
    Before starting a project, I will assess: when will it be worn? how will it be washed? for how long? and decide which method I’ll use, the more expensive the fabric, the more time is a general rule of thumb.
    Home sewing is a long process and is quite a misnomer as there is very little sewing done, so sewing faster is rather pointless, most of the work on a well fitting garment is done before sewing.
    I did buy the class out of curiosity and will report on it as soon as I have watched it.

    ps, I am not that ready to diss RTW, there is cheap RTW and extremely high end RTW and the high end stuff, though made in the same factories as the cheap stuff is made with the same attention we bestow on our garments and are things of beauty.

    • Carmen – I agree that tips and tricks about doing things better is always good but you’ve made a very valid point – there’s really not that much sewing…. I cut, pin, baste, try on, sew, press, finish the seam, press again – repeat – hardly any sewing at all.

      I’m not demeaning RTW either, just don’t like the comparison that home made has to look like RTW.

      • I think, in my mind at least, that there is a tiny difference between home-made and hand-made. Though both done at home, I think hand-made is the higher level of excellence we all shoot for, that’s when the combination of fit and finish is just right, after years of practicing the home-made stuff.
        Basically, we are making a sample every time we sew, and even in RTW, this takes a very long time. Have you ever been at a sample sale? They are full of imperfections too.
        ps When people ask me how to sew better, so their clothes look better made, I usually say : press more! I don’t say sew more!

  14. I love this and agree agree agree! Back in the 80’s, my DH and I were in Geneva, he on business, I with free rein to shop haute couture. My first up-close look – and I bought not one thing! The quality was appalling, just as you’ve shown…I wasn’t sewing at the time, but had a much better appreciation for the small boutiques I shopped in Coral Gables, where I could buy something very well made and get tailoring in the shop.

    • Coco – anything that is made only for a particular person has to better than RTW. Lucky you and your shopping trip, even if you didn;t buy anything. I wonder would you think the same nowadays after making for yourself?

  15. I like wearing something that I made, and a complete stranger says, Wow, that’s a pretty dress! (Even if it is not totally “perfect”) I do enjoy the sewing process, and learning new skills. But I do get kinda discouraged by my imperfections. I canNOT sew a straight line of top-stitching, but I can do a pretty good invisible zip, even just with a regular zipper foot. Recently I sewed over a wonky line of top-stitching, with a decorative stitch to hide the wonky line because I just did not want to rip out another seam on that garment. I have to “rip out” a lot! Sometimes I think I am the “Queen of Unpicking” But I still like like to sew. I came back to garment sewing because I could NOT FIND a dress or skirt in my spending range, that was long enough to cover my “older” knees. I LIKE to sit and do hand-stitching. My sewing is very therapeutic for me. All that being said, I do find some pretty RTW on sale lately (someone in RTW must be noticing that not all women are 15 – 25 years old and skinny),, and often use it as inspiration. That’s what I have to say, thank you. And I love reading your blog!

    • Kbb, I think you’ve summed up very well every comment so far…
      I like wearing something that I made
      I do enjoy the sewing process
      learning new skills
      I have to “rip out” a lot
      My sewing is very therapeutic for me

      Folks – that says it all. Perfection is good and something to be aimed for, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t hit it every time, what would you strive for if you did?

      Take your time – enjoy

  16. Greetings Sewruth; I have enjoyed reading your blog for some time….this post expresses my feelings exactly. As a ‘bit’ of a perfectionist I would compare my past sewing efforts to RTW and feel that my sewing, especially hand sewing ( which I find therapeutic), made my garments look homemade. I love examining antique and vintage clothes for their construction methods and handwork. I came to realise that it was the creative process that mattered and stopped comparing myself or others’ work to factory made clothing. I keep this little mantra attached to my sewing machine:
    Perfectionism leads to procrastination and ultimately to paralysis. 90% is still an A !

    • ….Perfectionism leads to procrastination and ultimately to paralysis. 90% is still an A !
      So true Colleen.
      Ruth – a great discussion.
      Karen over at Did You make That has an interesting discussion on the use of a seam ripper that complements this thread very well.

  17. Great post. I like the concept that we are sewing haute couture at home. I wasn’t offended by the crafty course but I can see where you are coming from. Us home haute couturiers could probably learn a tip or two from RTW., but we are all still better than RTW in at least one way, even if it is just the easy enjoyable pace we sew at.

  18. a. men.

    Really, the thing that gets my own personal goat about the comparisons of home made to RTW is this: the most jaw-droppingly atrocious, flat out appalling ‘garment construction’ (i hesitate to call it that, as it so often falls apart while the garment is on the sales floor) is in lower end RTW. And, frankly, some middle end RTW. Buttons hanging on by barely a thread, ripply bubbly seams which no amount of pressing will flatten, serged seams where the seam catches only 1/16″ of the fabric (which fabric is busily unraveling itself), uneven dye jobs, facings left to flap in the wind, uneven and falling-down hems, eyebrow raising mismatch of interfacing to fashion fabric, seam allowances in important areas left to fend for themselves with no finishing, tees with grains that twist around the garment like a barber shop pole, sleazy fabric with uneven grain and thin spots and holes and flaws………

    This goes *way* beyond the issues of fit and opportunity for unique style and design in home sewing. This goes to constructing a garment that can simply withstand normal wear and cleaning. The first time i looked into a Forever 21 store, my question was not, “How can they manage these low low prices?” but, “How do they get away with charging this much for such sh*te?!??!” ugh.

    So i very much agree that this perception that RTW is always the standard by which we measure perfection is a bunch of hogwash. I want to make garments which, in addition to reflecting style and design choices i like and which i can’t find anywhere in the market, actually are superior to most of what is for sale in the market today. Of course, if i had $10,000 annually to spend on clothing i could probably find pieces constructed to the standards of my home made ‘slow fashion’. But i’d still have a hard time finding pieces that reflect the style i prefer, an even harder time finding pieces that make sense for my lifestyle (outdoorsy house mouse), and they would all have to be altered to fit me.

    Great post and so fun and interesting reading everybody’s comments!!! steph

    • They actually make sewing machines to sew like it was hand done – that tells me that Joe Public thinks hand sewing is superior to machine made, but yet it’s still machine sewn!
      Thanks Steph. I really appreciate your honest, down to earth opinion.

      • I’d like to learn more about those sewing machines! Do you have a link?

        Sylvamae – Not yet, but I’m working it! Industrial sewing machines are fascinating. I don;t work in the industry so it’s all new to me. I’m preparing a blog post soon.Ruth

  19. I signed up for this class. I was curious more than anything about what I might learn. But I am also interested in learning classic tailoring techniques. I feel, I guess, that there is room for both techniques in sewing and there are times when you need to finish something NOW! and times when you are undertaking an elegant, time intensive project that will end with a garment you will wear for years to come with an interior that is as beautiful as the exterior. I marvel at Laura Mae’s (Lilacs and Lace) clothing and am striving for that type of work, but in the meantime, I’m not above flinging together a tee shirt here and there using some slight of hand.

    • Yeah I know. I can sew a draped T-shirt in an hour and I’m glad of it. It just galls me that we should compare what we make in our spare rooms, living-room corners etc to mass produced crap that anyone with money can buy.

  20. I agree with you in that we shouldn’t aspire to meet the same standard as factory produced garments over what we sew, but occasionally I have ripped a RTW garment just to see how something was made because I actually liked the way it had been done.

    Some days I want to just make something “dirty and fast”, other days I want to sew something special that I don’t want to see anyone else wearing (for example my wedding dress), and then when I made my two Chanel type jackets I enjoyed the process sitting in the armchair doing the hand sewing while watching TV. There are many tailoring techniques I have yet to learn and try out, and I will enjoy the learning process, but………

    Ultimately I think that people who sew at home have the ultimate freedom to sew what they like, how they like and when they like.

    • Pauline, I’ve been doing research on industrial sewing and would you believe – they aspire to make the RTW imitate hand sewing! Irony there somewhere

  21. Well, let’s see. I want to learn ALL sewing techniques. I’m a how-to junkie. So I can see signing up for the class. And, I think there are some people who sew at home who are not enthusiasts but, rather, clothe themselves and their families and would like to be able to do it fast but with acceptable results.

    But RTW and home sewing are fundamentally different. You mention the specialisation vs jack-of-all-trades aspect. I think that goes far beyond just the construction operations. Producing one garment a thousand times is just way different than producing a thousand garments, on many, many levels.

    But I think we can learn some things. Some operations – putting a zipper into an edge with a facing for example – are done on many different types of garments. Doing that quickly and nicely in a “standard” operation is a nice thing to know. I like to sew well. If I can sew something nicely and speedily, that is better in my view than sewing it nicely and slowly. Because my time is limited, often by my interest. I have difficulty completing long long projects. Hey, I baste as much as the next woman, but I love my industrial-heritage machines (overlocker and coverstitcher) and for sure would consider getting an industrial straight-stitch machine. Because for many things they work better!

    I will never sew perfectly, and I refuse to worry about it. But I like knowing as many things about different approaches as possible so that I can make the choice I need to make given time, interest, resources…

    • I’d love to be able to put zips in neatly especially at the waistband. I too want to learn and know how to sew in lots of different ways and techniques – then I can chose which one to use to suit the project.

  22. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! When people admire something I’m wearing and I tell them I made it they always say, “It looks as good as store bought.” First of all, I know they are not noticing the imperfect details. They mean it as a compliment but why should RTW be the standard? And how do I educate people without sounding like a b***ch?

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  24. No, I disagree. No one is forcing you to take the class. If you take the class and afterwards still want to sew slowly, then do it – sew slowly. Why slate people for giving you the tips that allow yout to sew faster? I love such tips. I sew all my own clothes and I like to sew fast. Such courses are NOT saying home sewing is s**te, they are saying you can sew faster and still have clothes that fit you and only you. Also, a lot of home sewers don’t really “know how to sew”- that is, how to construct a garment. They know “how to follow a set of instructions. That’s all. I know because for years that’s how I sewed. It was only when I started sewing with Burda magazine patterns with instructions in a language I didn’t know well that I had to stop and think through the whole process of construction and the particular techniques involved in each garment. Moreover, the reason a lot of haute couture is hand finished is because hand finishing allows last minute changes. If you are sewing for yourself and you know how to fit properly, there is no real reason for last-minute changes.

    • I’m not slating anyone for giving out tips for sewing quicker or better Ruth, I love to learn tricks and new ways to do things: I’m complaining that the standard by which we measure ‘good’ sewing is by comparing what we do to factory-made, mass marketed RTW. Please read all the comments too, especially Lynn’s above – that sums up exactly what I’m trying to say. We all like to sew quickly sometimes and that’s OK but I don’t have to have my unique one-off garments compared to a trillion others.
      I like Craftsy classes I’ve taken loads myself and have always learned something from them. Maybe you could share some of your hard learned lessons with us all.

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