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Mar 22, 2015

What is "Comfort Sewing"?



Readers, do you ever engage in the sewing equivalent of meatloaf with gravy and mashed potatoes -- henceforth to be referred to as comfort sewing?

Comfort sewing for me is making things that are quick and easy, ideally using patterns I've tried before.  This weekend I was hungry for some.

I decided to make a zippered hoodie using McCalls 5252.  I've used this pattern twice before, most recently five years ago to make two fleece jackets.  Time flies!







I wanted to make version E, which has three pockets and a hood.



You'd think with five additional years of sewing under my belt, this project would be a snap.  It wasn't.  Perhaps because my standards are higher and I want a professional-looking finish inside and out, this project took much longer than I'd expected.  Naturally, the instructions don't really tell you how to finish seam allowances cleanly and the word serger never makes an appearance.  Fortunately, Michael had an old ready-to-wear hoodie I could use for inspiration.

My fabric is a soft and plushy denim-colored cotton twill I'd purchased this winter.  It's extremely cozy -- more like heavy sweatshirt jersey than denim.





Though not mentioned in the instructions, I reinforced my pocket openings and shoulder seams with twill tape to prevent excess stretching.  I used only my Bernina 930 Record and my Brother 1034D serger (with four spools) for this project.









Most of the outside seams are topstitched.  This pillowy fabric sets off the stitching beautifully.





I decided to add a drawstring to the hood, something not included in the pattern.  Since I have a grommet kit, I added two grommets as well.  I interfaced the area where the grommets would go, to give the surrounding fabric extra strength.





Here's how things looked this afternoon -- sleeves and zipper still to come.



This is going to be a very handsome hoodie when it's done.  I may even make sweatpants with the remaining fabric; we'll see.  And that's it!

Friends, what's your definition of comfort sewing?  Do you ever engage in it?

Have a great day, everybody!

40 comments:

  1. The thing about sewing better is that you take a simple pattern and make it harder, better, but harder with more advanced techniques. It's coming along beautifully. I guess my comfort sewing are tee shirts which I need to sew because I wear them all the time but they are kind of boring to sew.

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  2. My comfort sewing is little zippered pouches. Usually made up out of leftover batik fabric from sewing shirts for my husband. Sometimes I just need to spend a little time messing around with pretty fabric and have a finished object in short order. I could say that they are useful for earbuds, electronics connecters and such ...but really I make more than anyone could ever use.

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  3. All sewing is comforting.

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  4. I find mending to be comforting. And knitting. And sewing doll clothes.

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  5. Hand quilting on baby quilts. Takes only half your attention so the other half is free to watch trashy tv, be cozy under the quilt-in-progress, have a drink, play on the phone, and at the end of the project, the baby who receives the quilt will most likely love it for ever, so that's comforting too.

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  6. I could totally go for some mashed potatoes and gravy right now!

    Your hoodie is looking great, but I'm worried about the top pocket--what keeps things from falling out? Is that pocket deep enough? Does it have a zipper?

    I was just thinking tonight that when I sew something, I should really sew it at least once more after I make it to get the technique down instead of flitting from thing to thing...

    I think my New Look A-line skirt and my gym tanks are comfort sewing--almost always a success, and I know what to do. Nice break between projects.

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  7. My comfort sewing in the winter is knit cowl neck tops - I have a perfect pattern that I love and it takes about 2 hours from start to finish. In the summer it is A-line skirts.

    I comfort sew after a really involved sewing project or when I'm making muslins and sick of fit adjustments and need a break.

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  8. Simplicity 7876 is my kind of comfort sewing. A groovy wrap skirt with no seams all in under a couple of hours. I went to a Stitches and Craft Show (Brisbane, Australia) on the weekend and did a free-form hand embroidery workshop - now that was relaxing!
    Truly love your blog Peter xx

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  9. Pillow covers are my go-to easy project. Now with zippered welt pockets and edge piping. So much for simple.

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  10. My idea of comfort sewing is sewing up something that you know WILL work (or just being reckless and having it work anyway!) AND make you look fantastic. The same kind of instant-lift that your favourite perfume, lipstick, flower, person, etc gives you.

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  11. my sister is active in the local animal rescue and she says kitten time is coming! i've made 48 of the 500 kitten size cage comfort beds she wants. i find them satisfying and i'm using up lots of fleece and batting from other projects.

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  12. Mine can go one of two ways - either making really basic things like tea cosies, or making something really complicated out of silk chiffon or with masses of applique - I love the buzz of practising mastery over difficult fabrics.

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  13. Please don't make matching pants. This is going to sound cruel but a matching tracksuit ... so not in. Readers, agree or disagree?

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    Replies
    1. From the looks of things, nothing really is in out out anymore! Fashion is wide open to individual interpretation. And technically there's nothing new under the sun...it's all retro in some way.

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  14. i enjoy blind hemming which might have something to do with it being close to "finished" :D

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  15. Because I am only a hobbyist, I would like to think everything is comfort sewing. Probably not true, though. It may sound funny, but the more difficult, newer techniques that should be frustrating, are the ones I enjoy the most. It's the straight seams, and machined buttonholes that are tedious. Give me some hand worked buttonholes, layers of silk, etc. and that's what comforts me!

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  16. T-shirts are definitely comfort sewing for me. After a long, multi-day, complicated project, there's nothing like firing up the serger and whipping out a t-shirt in a few minutes.

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  17. For myself, comfort sewing is getting under the hood and oiling and adjusting a machine, then running it to see how smooth it is.

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    Replies
    1. Me too! I find it very calming and centering to do it right before starting a big project, or if I just need a bonding moment with my machine.

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  18. I almost raised my hand for this sewing or that mentioned in these comments, and then I had to admit: I really do enjoy mending. 50 years of handsewing and I still need more practice.

    Ripping down stuff into rags and salvaging stuff (buttons and zippers) is a close second.

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  19. My comfort sewing consists of turning to one of the patterns that I have already completed from a copy of Japanese sewing book. The designs are simple, once you have figured them out the first time.

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    Replies
    1. Oh and comfort sewing for me is McCalls M6613 :-)

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  20. Comfort sewing is curling up in a chair and hemming my latest project by hand. I learned my hemming techniques from my maternal great grandmother and paternal grandmother. Whenever I curl up and take needle and thread in hand, I can't help but think of those two ladies.

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  21. Comfort sewing for me is doing up one of my TNT dress patterns, one version I've made 5 times and I know it will fit fine and look flattering

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  22. Hi Peter,
    About the twill tape, is it a polyester tape ?
    Did you get it localy, or ordered it on-line ?
    I'm trying to source it, for future trousers projects...

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    Replies
    1. It's cotton -- I bought a whole roll from Steinlauf & Stoller in the Garment District.

      http://www.steinlaufandstoller.com/

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    2. Thanks. Another question : did you cut it (lengthwise) or is it a 1/4'' wide tape ?
      I'm an avid follower of your blog. I found your blog while looking after a good video instruction for using a treadle sewing machine (at least 3 years ago). Thanks to you I'm still treadling, and I have added some more vintage sewing machines... the last I bought just 3 days ago (a featherweight 221). So, again, thanks :)

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    3. It's a 3/8" wide tape. Congratulations on your machines!

      Delete
  23. I don't comfort sew... I just can't. Sewing for me is... like a creative rush... and I am in it like a marathon runner. There is no calmness in it while I'm in it. Does that make me weird?

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    Replies
    1. That is how most of my projects have been completed throughout my life - nothing weird about it.

      Now that I'm interested in tailoring - my creativity should occur at a much more enjoyable pace.

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  24. Comfort sewing for me is doing something really old fashioned, like cutting up a flannel sheet and making dish towels. Or making an ironing board cover, or mending. Something that would please a thrifty grandma.

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  25. Two modes of comfort sewing:

    Like others, curling up on the sofa to hand hem and finish a garment - that isn't being completed to wear in the next 45 minutes......

    Cutting out and making a new pair of trousers from a well fitted TNT...complete with waist band and proper fly front - none of this ponte knit/elastic waist stuff - and again not needing to be completed for an event occurring in the next 24 hours or so.

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  26. I love to get a piece of muslin, iron some interfacing on it, draw some straight and wavy lines and hand sew tiny little stitches in diff colours. It's comforting. While I love machine sewing, I also like hand sewn home spun craft like items.

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  27. Like many people listed, for me it's T-shirts. I sew for myself and my 2 young children, so there is always someone who needs one.

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  28. On Saturday, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, in other words my dear sweet mother called me up and asked if I have been sewing lately. I informed her no and mentioned that I was itching to make reversable grocery bags from three different fabrics I spotted at the local Fabricland store here in Calgary which were in the bargain area. Do you believe that I dropped $ 200.00 for 18 meters of three different fabrics. Two years ago when I took a beginning sewing class this was our first project was a carry all-tote bag. Later after the class I made five grocery bags from the design, with a few minor changes. I am thinking of making as many revesable bags I can. I may then sell them for pleasure.

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  29. Confort Sewing for me is being able to make something that I like that I have made before. I don't have to do all the work of measuring fitting, grading, making pattern adjustments. Working with polar fleece is also one of my favorites since I can complete most of the project on the serger. Polar fleece is just easy to work with for me.

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  30. The garments pictured on the front of this pattern look huge. Did you have to make a ton of adjustments to the pattern?

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    Replies
    1. I made the smallest size and the fit, while roomy, is comfortable.

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  31. hand sewing, mending and patching, latest was rehabilitating a tattered wool blanket the husband uses to throw over groceries in back of the car or wrapping christmas tree, patched up with cotton velvet pants material, thick blue thread, lumpy and lovely

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