This may surprise you but, for me, sewing by hand is faster. Since the kids grew up and moved out, I’ve had a lovely sewing room with a sophisticated sewing machine. But, I rarely take the time to isolate myself and just sew at my machine for any length of time. Hand sewing can be done just about anywhere and any time, sitting in the living room in the evenings not watching my husband’s favorite shows, waiting for Supergirl’s school bus, while traveling by car or plane, in a hotel room, etc. I usually have several projects going at the same time and at least one of them is easily portable.
So, since I can hand sew with more flexibility, I get more done.
Here is an overview of three projects I am currently working on. I will devote a future post to more detail on each doll, her costume, and what I put in a travel sewing bag.
First, is a tiny 5″ French china with short wispy hair. She has a French leather body and I’ve finished her camisole, drawers, slip and skirt. Her jacket is partially done, but the first set of sleeves I cut for her were too tight and didn’t fit over her arms easily. As you can see, her arms are a bit fragile, so tight sleeves just won’t do. Her costume and pattern were inspired by an article by Denise Buese in the Spring, 2010 issue of Doll News about a similar doll with her original trousseau. (Sometimes, back issues of Doll News can be found on ebay if you are interested.)
Secondly, my Huret (pictured at the top of this page on the far left) needed a new embroidered jacket. It is made of a lightweight wool flannel which I washed in warm water, dried in the dryer and overdyed with coffee. The embroidery is done with silk. It just needs to be cut out, sewed together and the silk fringe added. I haven’t decided yet if it will be lined. The pattern came from the patterns of February, 1872 in Francois Theimer’s, La Poupee Modele. (Copies of this book/pattern source are hard to find. I’ll let you know if I find a source.)
And finally, one of my “flip” dolls is a 6 3/4″ all bisque with painted eyes and wonderful shoes. Her “before” picture shows her rockin’ 80’s style, 1980’s that is. She has new undies and a slip, but her dress needs some lace and she needs a wig and hat. I have taken pictures of each step in her transformation and I’ll share them with you soon.
I have been moving back and forth between these projects for a while. When I get stuck, or sometimes when I am afraid of the next step, I switch to one of the other projects for a bit. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
Which is faster for you, machine or hand sewing?