How to do a Fell Stitch
Hand stitches are crucial in good finishing; when sewn properly, they are as strong as machinesewn stitches, and you can do them almost as quickly. But many people avoid them and try to always use machines.
A few words on thread before I begin: Any thread longer than the distance from your hand to your elbow will tangle when you work and slow you down. I’ve actually clocked this; it’s faster to re-thread than to fight a long length of thread.
Before they sew, some sewers wax their thread to strengthen it and make it easier to work with. I don’t, but I do iron it to take out any extra twists. When you’re buying thread, beware of bargains. those spools you get ten for a dollar aren’t for fine sewing. Good-quality thread allows you to work faster, and it’s more durable.
You should also always keep a good supply of sharp, high-quality needles. Preferences in lengths and diameters vary; my favorite is a no. 10 milliner’s needle because it’s slightly longer than a regular hand-sewing needle; it feels better in my hand (probably because I’m used to long beading needles). Experiment and find the needle that suits you best. With good thread and your favorite needle, you’re ready to master the fell stitch.
Also called an “appliqué stitch,” a fell (or “felling”) stitch is used to appliqué one layer of fabric (generally a folded or selvage edge) to another. It’s quick, strong, and flexible-the piece sewn on with a fell stitch can move somewhat like a hinge, and that makes it good for installing linings. It is also used to sew lace-either as appliqués or appliqué seams. The fell stitch is seen in millinery work as well as clothing; it…