Who am I?
In the steampunk world, I am Lucretia Strange, the Baroness Strange. I run the Promethean Society, and do a variety of presentations at steampunk conventions.

In the real world, I am Cassie Beyer and a historian with a blog, History, Interrupted, devoted to history, steampunk, costuming, popular culture and other eclectic interests.

You can best reach me through the Promethean Society or through Cassie@AlterEgoDesign.netAlterEgo is my freelance web design endeavor focused on small businesses, individuals and organizations.


A Stitch in Time - Sewing Basics

For those of you completely unfamiliar with sewing, there's a few concepts we should get familiar with.

First, a fabric has a right side (indicated in white in the following illustrations) and a wrong side (indicated in gray). Oftentimes this has nothing to do with the fabric itself (although some fabrics do, in fact, have one specific side that should be the right side), but rather what you're planning to do with it. The right side is the side that will be on the outside of garment when finished. The wrong side is the side that will be the inside of the garment. If you don't keep track of which is which, you may end up with seams on the outside of your garment.

A hem is used to tidy up the raw edge of the fabric. Place the fabric wrong side up, fold over the edge, and stitch it into place.(below)


Sometimes you want to add a drawstring to a hem. Read more: Stitching a Drawstring into a Hem

A seam is where two fabric edges are stitched together. Place the right sides of the fabric together and stitch. When you turn the garment right side out, the raw edges of the fabric will be on the inside. (below)


How to Stitch

If you're planning on doing any real amount of sewing, I strongly suggest a sewing machine. Hand stitching is tedious and time-consuming. Simple sewing machines can be purchased for around $50. They don't do a lot of fancy stitches, but you won't need them. I was gifted a fairly fancy machine, and I've only used two stitch settings in the last twenty years.

First, make a few stitches forward, then a few stitches backward. That will knot the thread so your stitches don't pull out. Then stitch forward until you reach the end of where you want to sew, where you should run a few stitches backward, and then a few stitches forward.

If you're hand stitching, the process is similar. Make several stitches on top of one another, then stitch as needed, and overlap several more stitches at the end to keep the stitches from pulling out.

Building a Mock-Up

If you're not sure of your sewing skills, I would suggest creating a mock-up first. Buy the cheapest fabric you can find for this, so if you screw up or need to work to get the measurements right, you don't waste expensive cloth. Muslin is the standard choice for this.