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Did you ever sew anything major, e.g. dresses, by hand?

(19 Posts)
annodomini Mon 29-Jun-20 19:42:21

At school I made a pair of purple knickers, all by hand, including French seams. They were horrible things, with elastic round the legs, though not quite knee length. I never wore them and I'm sure not one of my classmates would have worn hers. Then there was the blouse. The sewing teacher measured us for them over our blazers, so they were several sizes too big. My attempts at buttonholes were fantastic and not in a good way!

grandtanteJE65 Mon 29-Jun-20 18:42:17

Does an apron count?

I made one in Primary 5. Handstitched all the way, including the ties. It had a patch pocket and three rows of embroiderey at the hem and a row of embroidery on the pocket. The material was blue and white gingham check.

It took me all the autumn and winter term, but it lasted the rest of my mother's life. (She died in 2002)

I cannot remember what I made in the summer term, however hard I try.

Witzend Sun 14-Jun-20 10:13:36

I still have the christening gown and matching shawl-type thing, hand made for my father - born 1916 - presumably by either GM or GGM. They are both silk, beautifully made with tiny pintucks and lace.

Neither siblings nor I wore them for our christenings - my mother said we were all too fat!

I have no idea what to do with them now. Dds would never throw them out, but my dd with children in particular is always IMO going to be short of storage space.
Maybe the V&A, which IIRC has displays of similar things?
Any other ideas, O wise ones?

Auntieflo Sat 13-Jun-20 23:02:19

Before I was 11, still at junior school, I made a dress for the baby of a family friend.
It was red gingham, a tiny check, and I was so proud of it, especially as my class teacher said it was beautiful.
Mum was a prolific maker of all things sewn, and I think I inherited a bit of her skill.

V3ra Sat 13-Jun-20 17:54:44

My Grandma made a christening gown for me in 1957. Hand sewn, smocked bodice.
Myself, my brother and sister were all christened wearing it, as were my three children.
I had it carefully put away for possible future use, but sadly we lost it in a house fire three years ago.
I do have a photo of my daughter wearing it.

threexnanny Sat 13-Jun-20 17:49:26

A silk christening gown. It has french seams and edged with lace. Now been worn three times.

GagaJo Sat 13-Jun-20 16:23:36

I've made a few hand sewn things, but the nicest to make was my twin nieces Christening dresses. Very fine white lawn. Hand smocked with iridescent beading and also embroidered. All white on white. They were so pretty. Made with a pattern copied and enlarged from a book I had. The fabric was so fine it was a delight to work with.

Those girls are mid-20's now. My mother has the dresses stored in acid free tissue paper, inside a cotton pillowcase. One was reused 10 years later for the birth of my 3rd niece.

Dancinjay Sat 13-Jun-20 16:15:19

A silk camisole sewn on my daily train commute. I also made the bobbin lace trim. It had proper french seams using tiny stem stitches so that both sides looked neat. I wore it for years.

ninathenana Sat 13-Jun-20 16:10:36

At secondary school we were not allowed to use a machine until we could produce a satisfactory hand sewn apron. For the whole of year 4 I sewed and unpicked that damn apron. The teacher was never satisfied. To this day I can't even thread a sewing machine smile
Sewing a button on or mending a hem is my limit.

ladymuck Sat 13-Jun-20 16:05:28

I recently bought a pattern and some soft flannelette to make myself a dressing gown. I discovered that you can't sew flannelette on a sewing machine, so I did the whole thing by hand. I have to say I quite enjoyed doing it and am very pleased with the result.

JackyB Sat 13-Jun-20 15:54:41

I always had a sewing machine at my disposal because my Mum sewed a lot. But when I came to Germany as an au pair I did once make a halterneck dress all by hand. It was quite satisfying. I think it even had a zip.

diygran Sat 13-Jun-20 12:51:08

Sorry just realised topic is sewing by hand.
Did sew my own dolls clothes by hand. At college we had sewing project. I made emboidered tablecloth. Lecturer didnt like - too geometric - but I used it for many years.

Xander Sat 13-Jun-20 12:45:32

Yes I made many cotton summer dresses in late 60s early 70s by hand as no access to machine. Great for setting sleeves but time consuming long side seams. Luckily time of the Mini!!!!! I even used french seams for a number of these dresses. (Also did not use thimble or finger guard and so had very sore fingers). I still enjoy hand sewing but use a thimble!

diygran Sat 13-Jun-20 12:44:13

In my 20s I made a checked blouse with sleeves and a corduroy two piece of waistcoat and skirt. Waistcoat was lined with two buttons and buttonholes. Seems difficult looking back but I just followed pattern. I wore that outfit a lot.
Following that I started a lined camel wool coat with tie belt. I couldnt get the collar to stiffen and whole thing looked like a shapeless sack of potatoes. Sad to say that put me off sewing.
A few years ago I treated myself to new sewing machine and overlocker.
Sadly they are both sitting untouched. I am terrified to touch them and try making sense of instructions!

Maggiemaybe Sat 13-Jun-20 12:34:15

I also sewed Christening dresses by hand. Just because it somehow seemed that they were too special to machine stitch.

Alexa Sat 13-Jun-20 12:29:43

At school we girls had to sew a dirndl skirt each . We had a choice of coloured ginghams or a dark turquoise. All hand sewn.

When we had nor much money I made a warm coat for my little boy all hand sewn.

Maggiemaybe Sat 13-Jun-20 11:34:14

Yes, back in the day. My best friend and I were into sewing in our early teens and we didn’t have a machine to use. We made purple hot pants with bibs - hers satin, mine panne velvet - just about big enough to cover our embarrassment. And white cheesecloth mini dresses with massive floaty sleeves and smocking to the bodice - we wore them to a party and I spilt Cherry B down the front of mine, which wasn’t a good look. She also unearthed some of her late grandma’s Victorian dresses and we adapted them into hippy skirts and blouses. All by hand. It was so much cheaper then to make your own.

Barmeyoldbat Sat 13-Jun-20 11:02:05

Yes I have made a few major things. First was a fleece jacket when they first appeared and were rather expensive. My husband was going to Iceland so I thought I would make one. I got the material, zip and cuffs from a mill and I also lined it with some warmer material and it was such a huge success that I two orders from friends. I also managed to put some side pockets in it. Also made my friend a strapless evening dress which stayed up!

Witzend Sat 13-Jun-20 10:56:22

Was just thinking that I did, several things, before I had a sewing machine and wasn’t living at home so couldn’t use my mother’s.

One big thing I made was the dress I’d intended to make for my (register office) wedding - a long flowery, Laura-Ashley type thing I’d seen in a Brides magazine.

However once I’d nearly finished it, my mother said that although very pretty, it looked like an old fashioned nightie!! End of that idea, then.

She was right, in that it didn’t flatter my then very slim figure - I found an equally pretty but much more fitted one in a shop.
I did wear it a few years later when about 6 months pregnant at a formal do when dh and I were living in the Middle East though - with long sleeves etc. it was sufficiently covered up and someone else borrowed it for a similar do with the Sultan present, so it had some sort of moment of glory after all.