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I've never gotten the hang of sewing, but I'd like to try again. I don't want to waste money on a bad machine, nor spend a lot on a good machine right now. Has anyone ever successfully sewn simple things by hand? I'm a knitter, so I'm used to projects taking a lot of time and effort.

Thanks!
 

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I've only ever sewn by hand. I don't have a machine and don't know how to use one.

Here are the toys I've sewn so far:

http://kimberlychapman.com/crafts/sew-gallery.html

I actually find sewing easier than knitting. I sewed a small version of the cube while in the labour/delivery room with an IV in one hand! Can't knit with that stuff stuck in you, but I could sew!
 

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This is my favorite guide to hand-sewn stitches.

http://www.perestroika.ca/html2/vest/handstitching.php

For fairly simple items I think it's not too difficult. I just made a skirt recently while my sewing machine was in the shop. I used overcast stitches for most of the seams and it went quickly. I sewed while talking to one of my friends on the porch and it was done in a couple of hours.

Also, it helps if you hem all the pieces first (like recommended on this page http://freespace.virgin.net/f.lea/petticoat.html), although I did not, since I was using overcast stitch. If you use modified period patterns its often easier because they were designed with handsewing in mind. Here are some free patterns: http://www.fmfcorp.com/familyspot/sewing.html

A half-circle drawstring skirt is easy and looks beautiful.

Also, if you do decide to get a machine, refurbished old ones are great! They're generally under $100 and sturdy. Right now I have a really basic one that is not refurbished (and I expect will die in the next year) that I picked up for five bucks at the thrift store. But it is good enough for my purposes, and metal.
 

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I started handsewing again when the cats knocked my old Bernina on the floor. Don't know if it will ever be the same. Then I found that I can more easily pick up handwork than use the machine with my little kiddo running around.

I recently sewed a maternity dress for myself, and have made little pants, a kimono, and shirts for my ds. I've also been handworking on embroidering shirts and gowns for my egg in the nest, and am working on training pants and ways of recycling worn-out cloth diapers. Mostly I use old clothes because they are free and I have lots, and they are wonderfully SOFT, and any toxins have long been washed out of them. I have recycled wool sweaters, polar fleece tops, t-shirts into great baby clothes. I also have hand-sewn dresses that wouldn't work for nursing into great tops for me.

My next project is making my stretched out tank tops into baby side-tie shirts, which I love, and sewing the snaps from old onesies onto worn out diaper covers to give them new life. Everything I do is almost completely free. (I recently heard of an artist mom who hand-embroiders these beautiful baby clothes and she doesn't sell them because with all the time she puts in them they would be too pricey, but she gives them away! What princely gifts!)

Anyway, it can be done, and can be practical. It gets faster as you go along! a lot faster! i also just love the look of hand-sewing. I wish I had time or know-how to make a website, bc/ I haven't been able to find good examples of other artists hand-embroidering, but I'm sure they are out there.
 
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