Sometimes trends in the sewing world sneak up on us–and then, all of a sudden–we see them everywhere. I can't help but notice that handsewing–with all the sewing techniques that accompany it–is everywhere. English paper piecing, smocking, hand embroidery–it's all around me and it's wonderful.
Cheap needles. Just say no.
|In a fit of organization, I wrapped all my
embroidery floss on those little bobbins.
|I don't have much silk embroidery floss,
but it is such a pleasure to stitch.
Like many of you, I have done my own share of handwork in the past and love the slower pace of that handstitching provides. I've also learned (mostly the hard way) that some shortcuts and cost savings are definitely not worth it when picking up needle and thread.
To keep it short and simple, today let's just deal with those two things: needles and thread.
Once you've tried exquisite hand sewing needles, it's a bit difficult to go back to anything else. Lovely needles don't often cost that much more and are sold in both specialty and the big box stores. In general, needles that come in cardboard sleeves with folksy art not what you're looking for when you want to do some delicate smocking.
And let's talk about thread. Confession: I, too, have That Box of Cheap Thread. Yes, gigantic spools of cheap, cheap, cheap thread used to lure me at the checkout counter. No more. (I'm using these unfortunate purchases to zigzag the cut edges of fabric so they don't fray when I prewash them. I figure I'll use the last spool sometime in the next 45 years or so.)
Handsewing is a slow sport. Invest in the better threads–whether for embroidery, appliqué, or piecing. Quality thread doesn't fray, twist, or fade like bargain thread. It's a pleasure to use and it honors your craftsmanship.
Check out the wonderful handsmocking projects in Perfect Party Dresses–now available for pre-order.
I recently did some embroidery on flour sack towels. What are you up to in the handwork department? Let me know!