Hand Sewing Testimonials

October 7, 2022

Elaine stitching.

In anticipation of our Beginner Hand Sewing Series, taught by incredible sewist and costumer Sarah Woodyard, we’ve reached out to some members of our Tatter community to reflect on their own hand stitching practices. We are so inspired by their work, reminding us of the potential for creativity and empowerment in each small stitch.

Elaine Ng is an artist who has taken hand sewing classes at Tatter. Reflecting on the experience, she tells us, “As an artist who works sculpturally with thread, I found Sarah’s classes particularly enjoyable. Her methods are so much about considering the structure of cloth to join different pieces together into an integrated whole. I began to think about garments as three-dimensional cloth sculptures, and hand sewing as a way to create beautiful fabric joinery.”

Allison Page is a member of the Tatter staff. Thinking to her hand sewing practice, she shares, “My introduction to hand sewing was a class of Louisa Owen Sonstroem’s! When I started working at Tatter Louisa taught an in person hand sewn jacket class. It was so inspirational, it blew my mind. I had knit and spun for years, but I never thought I would sew by hand. Now I don’t even want to use my machine. When I hand sew I feel connected to my ancestors and all the people that made things by hand before me. It feels powerful! The more I learn about how things are made, the more inspired I am to make and the more I appreciate all the labor that goes into working with textiles.”

Karen’s hand sewn shirt.

Karen Stevens is an artist and sewist. She has taught many classes at Tatter and we are consistently inspired by her work. She says, “I am a regular teacher at Tatter with my own making practice, but I continue to be a student and have taken many hand sewing offerings here. It is always been hard for me to express myself through words, perhaps this is what I love most about hand sewing. It is a space where I can be in my own body, quiet down my thoughts, sit with the soft sound and touch of thread marrying cloth. It helps me understand my place in this world, this life, in the lives lived generations before mine and generations after. It is to feel without words. To feel home.”

Sarah in her hand sewn dress.

We also asked Sarah Woodyard about her favorite thing she’s sewn by hand: a red dress. “It was something I made as a creative outlet from making historical clothing by hand every day,” says Sarah. “It was a very intuitive and fluid process. I integrated my historical sewing and created something graceful, comfy and interesting. Hand sewing it together was the obvious choice. The construction was so simple— hemming on the neck, wrist and bottom and flat felled seams. This type of construction gave the the chance to ready get lost in the sewing and not have to think to hard about what came next. It was relaxing and so satisfying!”

Whether you’re an experienced stitcher or a novice, our Beginner Hand Sewing Series is a wonderful way to grow your hand stitching skills. In this series, Sarah Woodyard will teach all of the foundational skills necessary to complete a project. Use your newfound skills for constructing a garment, accessories, household textiles, or any range of projects!