Sewing today is a craft popular among many and widely adopted for a variety of reasons. Whether you decide to take your fabric to a professional tailor or handle the sewing yourself, it all depends on the task you have on your hands. The level of difficulty of the project influences this decision. Still, the common question that comes to mind for both professional and beginner sewers alike is, Do I use a hand sewing technique or stitch with a sewing machine?. The answer to this question may seem ambiguous because a lot of factors come into play. This article will shed more light on your subject, which will subsequently guide your decision making on the subject-matter.
Is Hand Sewing Better Than Machine?
Depending on the task you have at hand, either of both options is good. If you are one who likes fixing patches and tears frequently, then hand sewing is better, although the sewing machine is more convenient when dealing with large projects. Therefore, the superior technique is that which has more relevance to the project you want to embark on.
Hand sewing vs Sewing Machine
Before the advent of technology, which heralded the birth of sewing machines, tailors, most especially women sew with their hands with top-notch fluidity and creativity. The inception of the sewing machine mainly relieved the stress on professional tailors, not necessarily add to the creativity. Hand sewing is more flexible and durable as you have the chance to make impressive stitches without the fear of partial or complete damage to your fabric. The attention giving to stitching with your two hands cannot be over-emphasized
Although hand sewing showcases talents in the craft of sewing, the invention of sewing machines has alleviated numerous issues ranging from;
- Stress on hands due to prolonged sewing;
- Inability to stitch thick and heavy fabrics hassle-free
- The technique was quite time-consuming, especially for large projects.
These points facilitated the invention of the sewing machine, which has addressed all these issues to the letter.
Most cosplayers today prefer to stitch by hand because they might want to stick to a particular look. Another big difference between hand sewing and sewing machine is speed. A stitch that could take you hours to complete will be finished in a few minutes using a sewing machine. This doesn’t mean you can also be fast stitching by hand, but it takes a considerable amount of practice and getting used to.
Below are some of the advantages of sewing by hand:
As I have mentioned earlier, hand sewing affords a considerable amount of precision for decorative stitches. Here are some other noteworthy pecks of hand-sewing
- If you are a beginner sewer, then hand sewing is a better recommendation. Only a needle and a single thread is all you need to sew by hand. It requires no cutting-edge technology, costly equipment, or fancy skills. It lets beginners learn about stitch construction, which is a perfect introduction to sewing. Although there are more complex by-hand stitches, all you need to do is thread the needle and tie a knot on ends to do a simple running stitch.
- Hand sewing is portable as you can move your toolkits from one place to another. While lugging a sewing machine wherever you go is virtually impossible, many hand-sewing projects, especially embroidery, can be carried around. This affirms its convenience.
- Hand sewing is known to be meditative as it gives a sense of relief. The fact that you devoted time to the hand stitch instills a calm and soothing feeling.
- Hand sewing provides you with the most control, so it’s great for smaller projects, decoration, and repairs. You can pick exactly where the stitches go, the stitch length, and exactly how you want the fabric to be attached. There are also several different styles of hand stitches you can use from diagonal whipstitch stitches to decorative edge blanket stitch.
In all, hand sewing affords a little room for basic learning curves, unlike sewing machines, where you need to, at a minimum, be able to operate the machine before any sewing project can take place.
It is worthy to note some disadvantages that come with using a hand sewing technique.
- Inconsistency is a significant problem that accompanies hand sewing. It is almost impossible to separate all hand stitches from the same length and width, and although hand-stitching can also provide greater precision, the exactness of the stitches can never be the same as a machine-stitch.
- As I have already mentioned, hand stitching is time-consuming compared to stitching with a sewing machine.
The choice you make between both options is largely dependent on your skill level when it comes to sewing and, more importantly, the project you want to handle. But it is advisable to be able to work using both methods as it offers you more flexibility.
Projects for Hand Sewing and Sewing Machines
With a sewing machine, you can do practically anything, but hand sewing ensures that you dont leave out any crucial detail in your stitch.
There are various projects that both techniques offer more compatibility:
For Hand Sewing
- Minor repairs: Hand sewing gives puts you in charge of your stitching, so if you’re trying to patch a tiny tear or re-attach a button, hand sewing is the way to get there.
- If you want to make embroidery or a cross-stitch, then hand stitching is the way to go. Even though sewing machines come with embroidery functions, there is a kind of imperfection that comes with hand-embroidered pieces, which makes it stand out from the ones made using sewing machines.
- If you want a new patch on your backpack or jeans, or you’re adding a decorative appliqué, the best choice here is hand stitching, because you have the most flexibility to add the item as you want.
- Attaching a lining, sewing a quilt, or even stitching a hem, all of this project is better carried out using invisible stitch as it gives you the best seamless and invisible stitches.
- It is more convenient to attach buttons and zippers by hand. This ensures that the zipper is placed on the right spot.
For Sewing machines
- The most common project suitable for a sewing machine is making long garments. Even though you can stitch a garment by hand, but this can be quite time consuming, and the end product is usually unprofessional, unlike using machines. Sewing machines allow you to finish off seams with a zigzag stitch, and this prevents them from fraying with a clean straight stitch to give the best look to your piece.
- Seam allowances, the width between the seam and the raw edge of the fabric, are essential when quilting, since a precise seam allowance will ensure that all the patchwork squares and triangles are correctly matched. Sewing machine lets you measure the seam allowance to perfection.
All the points I have highlighted above differentiates hand sewing from using sewing machines. The type of work, level of professionalism, and time-frame play a more prominent role when you want to decide as it concerns choosing between the two.
Can Your Hand Stitch Be Similar to a Sewing Machine?
If you want to look completely good at your hand sewing, I will advise you to learn two stitching techniques: the basting and backstitching technique. Basting resembles a line of dashes with gaps in between. They are typically temporary stitches that show you where material should be sewn or trimmed. Backstitching is a full line, and you can do a row of stitches. A stitch should start exactly where you just finished. These two techniques, when mastered to perfection, makes your hand sewing works similar to you using a sewing machine.
What is a topstitched seam?
Topstitching is a sewing method in which the stitching line is positioned to be seen either decorative or functional from the outside of the garment. This technique is most widely used on the edges of garments such as necklines and hems, where it helps to hold facings in place and also provides a smooth finish.
Can you stay stitch by hand?
Yes, you can, but you should ensure that you sew with a small tight stitch. You stitch on each side from the edge to the middle so that you keep the sides equally balanced and do not pull the fabric at all. Stay stitches remains on the fabric after stitching.