Saturday 9 May 2015

Sewing Tip 1: Thread Has Grain!

Most people do as little hand sewing as possible, thinking it is not fun, or it's hard. I can't help with the fun part (though I do enjoy it, myself, in moderation), but there is a simple fact that, if understood, makes it so much easier.

All sewing is all about the grain. Thread has grain. When hand-sewing, the direction the thread is sewn should be the same as it came off the spool. Some folks recommend immediately knotting the thread at the cut end, even before threading the needle, just to be sure to get the direction right. Ignoring the grain results in thread that will knot easily, making hand sewing seem much harder than it needs to be. And not fun.

If you want to use a double strand, do not simply put one strand on the needle and knot the two ends of it together. The difference in the grains will make the threads fight with each other, and it will be a tangly bugger to sew with. Instead, cut two strands, lay them together in the same direction, thread them both through the same needle (tricky, but can be done), knot them together at the end, and sew away.

Speaking of hand sewing, I have read many places that the only proper way to do it is to wax the thread beforehand. I asked Blossom about this, since I've never seen her wax her thread, and she replied that thread these days is strong enough without waxing. Followed by that little "tsk" she sometimes does. So there it is. Couture sewing might be considered by some to be synonymous with doing everything the hard way, but not harder than necessary. I suspect those articles are written by folk who secretly don't wax their thread, either, even if they do sew with the grain.

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