Insides Revealed!

A coworker once got into my car and burst out laughing. “Gillian,” she said, “I thought you were so put together but this car is a mess!” She was right – if you ride with me, be prepared to be ankle deep in empty soda water cans and Timbit boxes! In the end, she sent her husband a picture of my passenger footwell just to prove her own car was actually relatively clean.

With that in mind… care to see inside my clothes? A reader named Becca recently asked if I could show how things are finished on the inside, and I think it’s a brilliant idea. I always say that I’m a recovering perfectionist at some things, but sewing is where I let my wild side take over… so be prepared for some chaos!

I picked up all the clothes that are in my sewing room, and took pictures of the insides of whatever happened to be there. So here’s a random sample of my sewing skillz!

Wonky topstitching done in regular thread, and sloppy serging…

Threads still untrimmed after 2 or 3 years…

Whatever elastic I could find, in any colour or type, as waist stays in knit dresses…

Colourful thread that shows through at the seams when I wear these leggings… and different coloured thread from a repair years later.

That time this weekend I forgot to put the foot down and the threads went all crazy and I just serged over top of it again and moved on with my life…

Cover-stitching nowhere near the edge of the fabric…

And once in a blue moon, a nicely finished garment!

All of these clothes have been on the blog at some point, and I’ve sewn them over the last 3 years. From the outside they look fine, from the inside they feel fine, and they’ve been through the wash again and again! In other words, this level of finishing is fine.

If it all makes your eyes twitch, then please do enjoy finishing things beautifully. To each their own! I’ll be over hear, dancing joyfully in my sloppy but awesome wardrobe.

17 thoughts on “Insides Revealed!

  1. This is so good. I only just got a serger, so before that, unless fabric frayed, it wasn’t finished inside at all. I am amazed at finish some aim for, but for me, life is too short. I am with you, if it works, it is good enough.


  2. At least you are enjoying your sewing and not up tight about the finishing aspects. You finish which is the important thing and shine in the clothes you make! Too many of us, me included, are too wrapped up in details and get overwhelmed. We all should loosen up!! We know where the mistakes are, but others never see them!


  3. Haha, love this post. Thanks, Gillian. A good reminder to not get too bogged down in finishing details. It doesn’t need to be “perfect” to be functional and look fantastic from the outside.


  4. I love this!!! But seriously, I have to cut the threads – that just freaks me out not to 🙂 And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve serged, forgetting to drop the presser foot. Whatcha gonna do but serge over and move on?? Also, the best place to sew wonkily, IMO, is in the armscye. It’s so hidden that even I don’t notice what’s going on. I didn’t top stitch for years because I felt my work wasn’t good enough. Then I started looking at high-street RTW and calmed down.


  5. I LOVE that your shared this!! When I see all the beautiful makes…I envision perfection inside. This is kind of like how social media works overall. So, showing us that you’re REAL–and beautiful–gives us permission to be REAL–and beautiful, too! Cheers to the imperfections that simultaneously keep us striving, encourage us to “move on with our lives” and live fully without perfection, and accept that this thing called sewing–and life–is a combination of beauty and flaws, through which we continue to love and do!


  6. Thank you for sharing! This is wonderful to see. I know I love the clothes you sew, it’s giving me a bit of permission to have not-quite-quilting level finishing. I might actually finish a wearable garment!


  7. This is a brilliant post! So funny, and I loved the coverstitch remark! So much of it sounds very familiar to me (including the car) and I just did a similar thing myself today with sewing down a facing miles from the edge and have been wondering whether to trim back to the stitching and re- Serge, or see if it bothers me … think I’ll just wait and see before I go to the extra effort!


  8. I’m laughing because that coverstitch picture is pretty much every garment I’ve ever sewed on the thing. And that’s with me trying to line things up! I’m also guilty of leaving some wonky outsides. Like I made matching tees for my boys last year, and the neckband for the younger one ended up with the seam in the center front instead of the back. I could have unpicked the serging and redone it but given how much they limit my sewing time, I just left it. He doesn’t care.

    I feel like this needs to be a hashtag at some point, so all of us recovering perfectionists can feel better.


  9. Yeah… this is pretty much what the insides of my stuff looks like too. There is something to be said for beautifully finished clothes, but then, on the other hand, there is something to be said for just finishing making clothes!


  10. This is pretty much what my insides look like too. I’m MUCH more concerned with how it looks on the outside, and how it fits – I’m almost always adjusting on the fly, and I don’t really care if it’s messy as long as it looks good (to me!) when I wear it. A thing I’ve noticed lately is that even though I’m spending less time finishing, I’m spending more time pressing. I don’t even tie off dart ends usually – it’s never been a problem so why bother!

    If I ever blog again I’m going to make a point of showing off the dodgy insides. I did make a point of photographing stuff inside out but never really nailed the closeups.


  11. My insides look very similar. As long as the garment will hold up to repeated wear and washing, I don’t often care too much about the insides.


  12. Ha! This was a hoot! I definitely hide some secrets in my seam allowances (and also in this one corner of my room behind a door that rarely closes, in a spot we call ‘The Elephant’s Graveyard’…). But heck, it doesn’t make any difference so forge ahead joyfully, right? 🙂


  13. This is such a heartwarming post! I have no ambition to work at Dior, and I don’t wear my clothes inside out. To me “beautifully finished” means I can wear it out the door, not that I have spent 3 times longer on finishing masturbation. I love your multicolor repairs, I should be more creative with those..


  14. I sew for myself, but took evening classes at a well-respected fashion design school. Neatness was considered important. It contributes to my pride in a garment and looks more professional. I try to work as cleanly as possible at every step.


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