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Last Revised 16 May 2013
If the comcast site is flaky, try the back-up copy at
Likewise, if I forgot to update the debeeson site,
This is more like a basket of notes than a
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
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
Table of Contents
A list of plain-text files followed by a list of even-more-fragmentary
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.
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.
selecting and preparing fabric
types of sewing machines
selecting and preparing fabric
ironing, pressing, flattening, and creasing
easing and gathering
includes elastic and drawstrings
sewing on buttons, hooks, snaps
making bias tape
threading a needle
securing thread ends
threading a sewing machine
(updated 14 September 2010)
false-hemming a sheet This
page is for my personal reference, but I've
included some explanatory material.
insufficient fabric (updated 10
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
women's underwear follow-up to bra added April 2008
50's pleated and gathered skirts
household linens, scarves, handkerchiefs, flat things
bags, including pillows and stuffed toys
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.
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
Blog for replacement jersey begun in September of
2009. Blog resumed after hiatus in May of 2010.
Final entry 16 August 2010.
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
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. The pages are only slightly yellow,
but my camera sees them as paper-bag brown. image links
repaired 16 May 2013 (repairs on Comcast copy
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
Web Log dates of changes to Rough Sewing
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:
Summer Dress: Begun 16 March
2011. Closed out at New Year, 2012. Consists
entirely of side trips.
Sewing diary for 2012,
Sewing diary for 2012,
Sewing diary for 2013,
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
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.
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