If ADHD is such a terrible thing, why do the world’s newspapers conspire for a piece of mine? I need no further proof than Surgical stitching: a beginner’s guide from the Guardian:
Perri Lewis is an accomplished embroiderer – but how would she cope with sewing wounds?
Having patched up jeans, darned socks and mastered all kinds of embroidery, I assumed I could have a good stab at stitching up a body. But when I was given a small, neat wound on a fake arm to practise on (made of red sponge and a sort of leatherette), not fainting is my first challenge…Luckily, crafting served me well and instinctively I stick the needle into the fake arm at 90 degrees, close to the edge, but just far enough away so it won’t rip – just as I would with fabric.
My earlier entry was about the distribution of tension and cut patterns surgeons use to offset and minimize “seam failure” (they obviously have a name for it). I found it interesting with many analogies to working with leather. With this medium, you learn to push the boundaries of cut lines, performance and fit. I thought it would be good to talk about because I think people are rigidly wedded to fabric grain; ours is not an x-y coordinate world. It is advantageous for varying garment sections to be off grain; I explained some of this in laying out a hide.
Thankfully, Mother Nature conspires to undermine grain line militants -I’m smiling when I say that- consider armhole shaping. If that were on grain, sleeves and armholes would be even more atrocious. Perhaps you scoff “armholes are supposed to be off grain” which is abjectly true but who says center fronts and backs must be on grain? Who? Other than whoever taught you? They didn’t used to be. And some of us are downright anarchists because we dare suggest this roundly accepted concept may not necessarily be true. Perfectly vertical CF and CB are an artifact of manufacturing, it made for easier and more efficient yields. Pinky swear.
I’m having a bit of fun with you, do read the earlier entry. Some of these cut lines are adaptable to bias and other off grain situations if you’re into experimenting a bit. Case in point on the first squeamish sewing entry, Jeanette remarked:
As a physician I use my sewing skills often, however, for the first example above I would actually undermine the wound to allow me to draw the edges together, this is easy to do on the scalp as there are several very strong layers of fascia and muscle to pull the tissues where one would like them to go, However this technique does not translate to fabric. The Z-plasty however does and is rather cool.
Z-plasty is a plastic surgery technique that is used to improve the functional and cosmetic appearance of scars. With this technique, it is possible to redirect a scar into better alignment with a natural skin fold or the lines of least skin tension. Contracted scars may be lengthened with this technique. Z-plasty involves the creation of two triangular flaps of equal dimension that are then transposed.
Z-plasties are cool. The one at right shows most of the wound closed unobtrusively using facial features. You can thank me later that I didn’t write an entire post about these. Image courtesy: Patrick Knipper
And then I had to look up suturing videos -I did tell you this was about newspapers conspiring to feed my ADHD- and found one courtesy of the U.S. Army. I found the first part (how to use the tools) to be unintentionally hilarious. It reminded me of someone we all know. Did I ever mention I was an Army Brat? The apple does not fall far from the tree. I love to watch doctors tie knots in suturing but they do it so fast I can’t follow it (with the hopes of using it). This US Army training video shows the technique about midway through the piece. You can bet I’m going to try that.
Or I may just stick with duct tape. Hey, if it works to hem pants, it works on cuts. And you think I’m kidding. I actually did do this once -I’ll omit the long story- but the doctor was really impressed and refused to remove the tape to suture it. And it did heal very prettily. I used very narrow strips, maybe 1/4″ to 3/8″ wide and spaced them as stitches would have been.