I’ve been making a ton of skirts lately–with waistbands, with facings, with lined yokes. They’re in quilting cottons, in wools, in linen. Lots and lots of skirts. As I get to the finishing stage with each one, I get to decide whether I’ll put in the hem and finish out the waistline by machine or by hand.
Now, historically, I fully admit that I have avoided hand-sewing like Hollywood avoids carbs. If I could do it by machine, I did. But as I started pushing myself to work with more apparel fabrics and better quality supplies, a higher-end finish seemed in order. And I’ve just never quite fallen in love with the blind hem stitch on any of my machines. I love the look, though, of an invisible hem on a nice linen, and so it has become time to start asking that tough question: when is it worth it to hand sew versus doing it on the machine?
For me, it really is about two things: the overall look of the garment, and the type of fabric I’m using. I don’t think there can ever be a hard-and-fast rule, like I ALWAYS hand sew hems or I NEVER hand sew facings to zipper tape, but I’m realizing I have some instincts over and over again:
What about you guys? When you’re making clothing for yourself, where are the deal-breaker places that you don’t want to do by machine?