Best viewed in a narrow window.
Last Revised 6 November 2014

patch in progress

Rough Sewing

This is more like a basket of notes than a book. 
On 28 May 1995 I wrote:

The art of sewing practical, everyday clothes for the family is dying rapidly, so I intend to write down what little I know in the hope that someone of a future generation may be curious to see how it was done.

Since then, I have been jotting down notes whenever my sewing made me think of something that a beginner ought to know, or some tip that made work easier.

As you leaf through these notes, you will find — perhaps to your surprise — that rough sewing uses most of the same techniques used in fine sewing. When you sew for practical use, "saving time" is more likely to mean putting off the day when you have to do the job again than to mean shaving off a minute here and a few seconds there.

Table of Contents

A list of plain-text files followed by a list of even-more-fragmentary HTML files.

I am now in the process of trying to organize this mess.  If you look for something and don't find it, please write to me and tell me what you looked for and where you looked.  Also write to me when you find what you are looking for, and it's half an article ending in a double ampersand — nothing inspires a writer like knowing that somebody wants to read.


Plain-Text Files

Oops!  I have discovered that some of these text files contain angle brackets.  Angle brackets in a file will cause some browsers to attempt to display it as HTML, which ignores line boundaries and multiple spaces.

It will take me a long time to correct the files.  In the meanwhile, if you view a file and it's all mushed up into one paragraph, click on "view source", and your browser will show you the file the way I wrote it.


tools pictures of tools
selecting and preparing fabric
types of sewing machines


selecting and preparing fabric
drawing threads
cutting out
stay stitching
ironing, pressing, flattening, and creasing
easing and gathering
calculating pleated ruffles
edge finishes    includes elastic and drawstrings
sewing on buttons, hooks, snaps
making bias tape
ripping seams
threading a needle
hand-sewing stitches
securing thread ends
winding spools
threading a sewing machine
machine-sewing tips  (updated 14 September 2010)
false-hemming a sheet  This page is for my personal reference, but I've included some explanatory material.


general advice
insufficient fabric  (updated 10 October 2012)
annotated bibliography
english to metric conversions
a crash course in math  (with special attention to bias tape)
fitting, pattern and design


shirts and nightshirts &&
designing & assembling Broadfall Pants
poncho shirt
women's underwear  follow-up to bra added April 2008
men's underwear
50's pleated and gathered skirts
Assembling Bike Knickers  personal notes stashed here so I can find them when the knickers under construction need to be replaced.

Other Projects

household linens, scarves, handkerchiefs, flat things
bags, including pillows and stuffed toys

HTML files

These files wrap to fit your window.
If the lines are too long, narrow the window or make the type bigger.
If your browser refuses to wrap, viewing the source might allow you to read the text.



                     thumbnail My Linen Jersey:   two photographs, and all the boring details.
      Bicycle jerseys are supposed to fit closely, to prevent wind-flapping, but I don't ride that fast any more, and linen does a great job of protecting you from the sun.
      Both the jersey and this file were revised in July of 2005.  Further comments were added in August.
      Blog for replacement jersey begun in September of 2009. Blog resumed after hiatus in May of 2010. Final entry 16 August 2010.
Fly-Stitch Alphabet:   A quick way to write on textiles with a needle
Pattern Drafting:  A circle with a hole in it    (revised April 18, 2005) (copyedited May 16, 2007)
Pattern Drafting:  Slopers: a few remarks    (posted 29 January 2007)
Photographs of broadfall closures
Assembling broadfall pants
Photographs of shirts with and without bust darts
Sewing Bird:  A clamp-type clothes pin and some string assist hand sewing.
A thread dispenser improvised from what was handy
Toddler Apron:  A doll-sized adaptation of an apron pattern that once circulated on newspaper.
Yarns:  a photograph of some darning yarns
Point de Venise:  overlapping rows of buttonhole stitch on the heel of a sock.
Sewing kits:  Everything you need can be stored in surprisingly-small spaces.
Hand Sewing Stitches:  I can't draw worth a nickel, but I found a few diagrams of stitches in a 1913 elementary-school textbook.    Images replaced with higher-resolution scans 10 September 2013.
Embroidery Lesson:  I've yet to write the part where I describe the actual lesson, but if you already have a lesson plan, you might find this very simple medallion useful for beginners.
Get Out of Here:  a web site isn't part of the Web if there are no links to other websites, so I scraped up a couple.  dead links removed 16 May 2013
Web Log dates of changes to Rough Sewing


Project Blogs

Diary of a Poncho Shirt:  new on July 31, 2010. Shirt completed 14 August 2010. New shirt started 15 August 2010.
Pattern Drafting:  A Knickerbocker Diary: detailed description of making a minor change to a pattern for short trousers    (posted July 13, 2008)
Making a Roll Pouch:  January, 2013
Making a pair of black slippers :  Begun 6 November 2014
Summer Dress:  Begun 16 March 2011. Closed out at New Year, 2012. Consists entirely of side trips.
Sewing diary for 2012, January-June
Sewing diary for 2012, July-December
Sewing diary for 2013, January-June
Sewing diary for 2013, July-December
Sewing diary for 2014, January-June
Sewing diary for 2014, July-December
Sewing diary for 2015, January-June


End Note

If you find these notes useful, help me to make them better.

For example, "&&" marks spots that need more work; I will, some day in the far future, search for these spots and do the work.  Is there one that you think I should work on *now*?  Is there a spot that needs more work and isn't marked? 

Have I left out something important?  Included something pointless? 

Is some explanation incomplete?  Is some point belabored?  Which parts are confusing? 

Do you have a question I might be able to answer?

Most particularly, where do you look for things?  If I've put something in a place where you'd never think to look for it, I can, at least, put a pointer to it in the spot where you do look.

Copyright notice:  the usual.  You may make copies for your own use, and use short quotes in reviews and private letters, but if you want to share this site with a friend, send him a copy of the URL.  Please notify me if you link to this site.

Comments and criticism are solicited.

«»«»«»«»«» «»«»«»«»«» «»«»«»«»«»

Back to the writing page
Back to the links page
Back to the cover page