Friday, April 30, 2004

Almost made it

It's the last day of April and I thought I could make it through the day without buying more fabric. But I didn't. I just had to check out and she had new fabrics up. Three of which caught my eye but I ended up ordering only these two:

photo photo

They're both cotton/lycra. I'm thinking a casual, sporty skirt with the blue one and either a longer skirt or capris and perhaps matching top out of the gold/plum fabric.

I'm a fabricaholic, addicted to fiber but also to shopping for it on the internet. A very dangerous combination indeed. My mother often reminds me (too often) of a comment I made about my sister's stash about ten years ago. This was long before I was sewing again and before I became a fabricaholic. On a visit to my sister's house, I was amazed and a bit disgusted by the piles and piles of fabric in her guest room closet. It wasn't because she had so much fabric, it was because I knew she couldn't really afford to have bought so much fabric. But I also didn't know how addictive it can be. Most of her stash appeared to consist of children's fabric so I'm sure she has put it to good use since then. Later, she moved to a different house and set up her sewing area in the living room/dining room. She had quite a few boxes around, which I assume held fabric, but something else really caught my eye. Her patterns. She lot. I was surprised to see that many were duplicates. Now that I'm sewing, I know about the 99 cent and 1.99 cent pattern sales at Joann's. I can only hope that my sister does too. Perhaps she prefers to just buy a duplicate when she needs a different size rather than take time and paper to trace the pattern. Now she is living in very cramped quarters but still has her sewing space. I am guilty of enabling her fabric stash by adding to it. Last time I visited, I brought her two large boxes of my fabric stash cast-offs. If she lived closer, I'm sure I'd be bringing her more.

A few pieces in my stash are about 15 years old, from a brief time when I had a burst of sewing enthusiasm, but most have been purchased within the last five years.

My mother taught me to sew, first with needle and thread and later on her sewing machine. My first sewing box consisted of scraps of fabric and trim from which I'd make "clothes" for my Barbie. I didn't use patterns, but simply draped the fabric over Barbie's volumptuous figure and tucked and stitched, usually in whatever color thread I had. My darts were quite prominently sewn on the outside. Later I went through a prairie/settler phase (too much Little House on the Prairie perhaps?). I created and handstitched a period dress for Barbie, complete with petticoat, corset, and stockings. I sewed tiny beads down the back as buttons. My dress won a first place ribbon in our township's little Independence Day fair. The following year I attempted a renaissance-style dress based on what I saw on a Romeo and Juliet movie on TV. This satiny dress took third prize in the fair that year. My interest in sewing perked up when I inherited my grandmother's 1919 Franklin treadle sewing machine. The musty smelling oak cabinet stood in my bedroom and afforded me privacy while I sewed. My mother had a nice Kenmore sewing machine in the basement and I did take sewing in 7th and 8th grade, but somehow sewing on the treadle took me back in time. I loved the mechanical-ness of the machine. The shuttle c*ck swishing back and forth with each up and down motion of the needle. The whirring of the wheel as my bare feet rocked the iron foot pedal. Alas, I didn't develop an interest in sewing garments at this time, although I did sew a jester costume for my Halloween costume. As a teen, sewing your own clothes just wasn't "cool."

In college I taught myself how to knit. I didn't have the space to do any sewing even if I wanted to. There was a girl on my dorm floor who had a single room. I remember walking by one day and her door was open. She was sitting on the floor, pins in her mouth, working on cutting out a pattern. I wish now I had talked to her about her sewing but perhaps I realized that I didn't have time for it then. Knitting was easy because I could just pick it up and do a few rows to get my mind on something other than differential equations.

After college I bought myself a basic sewing machine from Montgomery Wards. I made a few tablecloths for some tables I used in my bedroom as night stands. I only made two garments. One was a skirt and top in a crisp blue and white cotton in a floral print. I actually wore this and even wore it out on a date. The sleeveless top crossed in the back and fastened with snaps. The skirt was just a simple A-line. My second attempt at sewing clothes was a dress for a friend's wedding. I knew nothing about fit or altering and made the pattern straight out of the envelope. The dress had a scoop neck, 3/4 length sleeves and a dropped waist. It didn't really fit all that well but I wore it to the wedding anyway. However, I'm sure that the fact that it didn't fit so well didn't help my desire to sew. The clincher was when I attempted to make a black lace and satin dress (or blouse, I can't recall) for a New Year's party. The fabric skittered around and caused me all sorts of grief. Frustrated, I stuffed the unfinished bodice in a bag and didn't sew again for a long time. A few years later, I had a surge of interest when I decided that I didn't want to spend a lot of money on simple, short sleeved, dressy blouses. So I went to the fabric store, selected a few patterns and proceeded to purchase about five pieces of fabric and matching buttons. I went a little overboard. Even the clerk remarked that I was going to do a lot of sewing. I never did. The fabric (and the unfinished black lace mess) moved with me from apartment to townhouse to apartment to house to apartment to apartment to apartment and finally to my current house. I still have the fabric from that overzealous shopping trip but the black lace mess was chucked in the trash at some point. My Montgomery Wards sewing machine was lost during one of the moves and I replaced with a Singer, which was actually a worse machine than the one from Wards. I sewed some curtains and valances and started a few other home dec projects but didn't attempt to sew clothes for myself again.

When I got may last (and current) surge of sewing enthusiasm, I saw that part of my problem was my sewing machine. So I bought a much better one. Another part of my problem was not having anyone to help me. That's been mostly solved by the wealth of information and support from the sewing communities on the internet. I've also been able to take some hands-on classes and that helped a lot too. I also knew that I had a problem with and perhaps fear of fitting. So I thought I'd buy cheap fabric to start with. However, the cheap fabric turned out to be nice stuff and at those prices, well, a stash was born. Now I try to limit my purchases to interesting or hard to find fabrics or really good prices for good basic fabrics. The third fabric that caught my eye at emmaonesock was a very pretty flowered linen/rayon. I immediately saw it as a flowing dress using this pattern. But as pretty as the fabric is, I knew I could probably find something similar if and when I want to make this dress. And of course I already have fabric in my stash would work, it's just not as pretty. I don't usually have a garment in mind and then hunt down the fabric. Most of the time I see some fabric and visualize what I would make with it. Therefore, I have many, MANY lovely fabrics in my stash that all "talk" to me.

I hope to find some time to sew this weekend. I want to paint the doors in the hallway but other than that I'm going to try to sew. I'm even going to break my "one project" rule and put the quilted wall hanging aside so I can work on a garment. If I don't get to work on some of these trendy fabrics, especially the pink ones, the trendiness will be gone and I'll be left with fabric I won' t use. I used to think retro fabric was cool until I saw some real retro fabric on a web site. Yuck. I'd forgotten how ugly some fabrics from the 60's and 70's really were. I would feel bad if my fabric stays packed away in boxes for so long that it becomes yuck.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Great Intentions

Sometimes I don't do what I had planned. I didn't make it to Hancock Fabrics or anywhere else for that matter (well, I don't count the grocery store). We spent Saturday afternoon working on the hall. My husband did the sanding and staining and I painted the trim out on the back patio. A lot of trim. As in 144 feet of trim. It was quite hot (upper 80's) and I had to work quickly because the paint dried very fast. I did eventually get some sewing in. I finished another block of the quilted wall hanging and have one more paper-pieced one to do, then I just have to cut out the usual sashing and binding pieces and sew it up.

Today is even hotter, in the 90's, and I didn't even feel like sewing. Besides finishing the wall hanging, I would like to work on some curtains for the spare room. I've been planning these for a few years now. But the fabric is packed in a box and I think it's in the trailer. I'm not going out in the heat and definitely don't want to go into the trailer, which is I'm sure as hot as an oven, to look for the box. Actually I didn't buy fabric for the curtains, I bought table cloths. A few years ago, I wanted to buy curtains for the room and wanted a bright print to go with the light green walls. I couldn't find any curtains to purchase but I did spy the perfect print in the table cloth section. I bought one round table cloth to use on the bedside table and two rectangular table cloths that I intended to turn into tab top curtains. I'm pretty sure this was before I was sewing again, which is why I didn't set out to make the curtains in the first place. Later, I found a coordinating solid fabric to use for the tabs and bought big white buttons to put on each tab. I'm not so sure I'll use the buttons now, but I will still make them tab-topped.

Since I started sewing again, I have had ideas that I would make curtains. When my husband and I were in Paris about 4 years ago, I had just been sewing for a few months. We visited the fabric shops in Montmarte and when I calculated that one store had great prices on upholstery and drapery fabrics, I decided that I must buy some for curtains. I remember we left and went to a small park for a break and I sat there trying to calculate how much to buy. When we went back, my husband translated for me. The clerk was trying to tell my husband that I needed more fabric to allow for the repeat. Since I wasn't used to making drapes, I hadn't thought about this. My husband eventually figured out what the clerk was saying and we bought our fabric. I bought three pieces, but once I got back and really thought about what I wanted to do, I realized I don't have enough of any of them to make decent drapes. On top of that, one piece was bought to make roman shades for the French doors we were going to put in the family room. But we ended up putting in a sliding patio door instead. Another piece was bought for a valence for the dining room window but the color scheme has changed and now the fabric won't work in there. The last piece is for the living room. The color will still work for what we have planned but I know I don't have enough for proper drapes, i.e., the drapes won't cover the windows, just accent them. This was actually what I had in mind at the time but now that we have moved the sleeper couch into the living room, any guests won't be able to block off the light or have complete privacy (not that they could have privacy in that space anyway). So, my lesson is, beware of buying fabric for projects too far in advance.

And then there are the two cuts of fabric that I bought for the dining room windows. I bought one during a trip to Florida for work. There wasn't much to do after work there so I opened the yellow pages and sought out the nearest fabric stores and created a mission for myself to find the perfect fabric for the dining room drapes. I finally found the fabric at Boca Bargoons, a discount upholstery and drapery fabric store. I was looking for a specific shade of sage green, but I didn't want red in it. Most of the florals had a true green and most also contained red. After looking at nearly everything in the store, which was a lot, I found something that met my liking. So I bought it, stuffed it in my suitcase and brought it home. But not a week later I saw an even better fabric on one of my favorite on-line stores, So I bought that too. And I have not made the drapes yet. I haven't really decided which fabric to use but I also don't know what to do with the one I don't use. I guess I could sell it on eBay or something.

My stash is full of fabric bought for specific projects. Since I cannot devote enough time to make everything I want to, many of these ideas are already out of style or at least out of favor with me. But that doesn't stop me from buying more, does it?

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Afternoon Plans

I finished the shorts and I'm pleased with them, although not so pleased with my legs. Ugh. They are definitely not in summertime shorts shape. After making three garments out of this ribknit fabric, I am tired of it and decided not to sew up the 18 inch doll shirt I'd cut out of the scraps. Another day perhaps. Instead I turned my attention toward making a Christmas gift. It's a small quilted wall hanging, done using a paper piecing technique. I'd never tried this before but I do have a book (or two) that have paper piecing projects for miniature quilts. The technique is fairly simple and is sort of like quilting by numbers. The pattern has each area numbered in the order you sew it. You place the first and second pieces of fabric together underneath the paper pattern and stitch on the line, trim the seams and press. Then you sew on piece three, trim, press, etc. The only problem I had was making sure that the piece of fabric was placed right. You have to make sure that the seam is on the correct side and that the new piece covers all that it should. The areas are very small so paper piecing would be the only way you could join them.

There's a sale at Hancock Fabrics today. They have what they call a truckload sale, where they bring in a lot of fabric they normally don't carry. I think they get it from mills because sometime it's on 60" rolls instead of bolts. They also are having a 50% notions and a pattern sale, although not on Kwik Sew patterns. They never have a sale on those. I have all the notions, patterns and of course, fabric I need but I may still check it out if I go out later. It would be good if we worked on the hallway floor today. We need to finish sanding and then stain and seal it. I thought maybe when it was stinky with the stain smell it would be a good time to go out and run errands. And perhaps visit Hancock Fabrics. We also need vacuum cleaner bags, which means a trip to the vacuum and sewing store where I bought my sewing machine. I don't need any more embroidery thread or designs. I just ordered a design package online. It's a discontinued one that was at a very good price. I hadn't actually been waiting to buy this one but you know how it is when there's a sale. Suddenly you want it.

Thursday, April 22, 2004


Yes, I am guilty. Guilty of buying more fabric when I said I wouldn't. But I shouldn't feel guilty and I'm not going to. I'm going through a tough period in my life (go read my other blog if want). The only guilt I feel is that my fabric takes up room in the house. But my husband doesn't complain about it (much) and most of the fabric is now stored in plastic bins in our cargo trailer. I am slowly sewing it, granted not at a rate equal to what I buy, but spending money on fabric is better than spending it on things that just collect dust or spending it on something that I only enjoy for a brief time and which don't create useful or lasting memories.

I've been reading some knitting blogs and the subject of stash guilt or buying guilt has been the current topic. I really like Cari's post on April 21. Her post helped me put things in perspective. I'm not spending the rent money or the food money or even the vacation money. My husband and I both have good jobs, a mortgage that's under control, vehicles that run and do not require trips to the mechanic, and plenty of toys. We don't want for anything - well, except a child (did you read my other blog?). But pledging to never buy a thread of fabric again will not bring us a baby. So I buy some fabric. So what. Some of it will turn into clothes that I can wear and be proud of, like the top I wore on Monday and the hoodie I plan to wear tomorrow. That feeling of accomplishment is certainly worth both the monetary cost and the space we relinquish to my stash. Buying fabric makes me happy.

Wazoodle. 12 yards.

Monday, April 19, 2004

I can actually make clothing to wear!

I'm wearing a top that I made - not the hoodie, but a cowl neck top from a Loes Hinse pattern. I didn't write up a review for it on because there are so many reviews of this pattern already and I didn't do anything unique or different with it. I wasn't even that happy with it when I finished it. I thought it was too long and I didn't think I'd wear it. But this morning, while staring at my clothes to figure out what to wear, it caught my eye and I though "sure, why not.". It's quite comfy actually. I'm feeling rather fat these days (PMS-y too) and would rather not wear anything tucked in, so this top works just fine.

It was a sewing weekend for sure. My husband was battling a cold so there were no household projects to work on. It was a rainy weekend too, so that eliminated any yardwork I was hoping to get to. So I sewed instead. I finished the Burda WOF tank top. I had some difficulty with the neckline. I serged the edge in preparation for turning it under but it made the edge very wavy. So I ripped out the serging (ugh). I tried another approach. I stitched invisible elastic to the neck edge and then turned it under and stitched. That seemed to work. I did the armholes by just turning them under and stitching - no serging first. On the hem, I first tried just turning it under and stitching but the hem got wavy. So I ripped out the stitching (ugh). I decided to use the coverstitch on my serger since that seemed to work alright on the hoodie. The only reason I didn't do that in the first place was because the serger thread is a bit lighter than the thread I used on the sewing machine and thus what is used to topstitch the neck and arm holes. Picky, picky.

On a sewing high from finishing the top, I worked on the shorts. But hmmm, there's a problem. The two fronts did not match each other and neither did the two backs. It seems when I laid out the fabric for cutting, I didn't make sure that the bottom of the fabric was as smoothed out as the top. I got out the pattern to make sure the smaller piece was the more accurate one and then trimmed the bigger pieces to match. Sewing them up was a cinch, but I thought the serged seams was a bit loose. So I decided to go back and use the stretch stitch on the sewing machine for extra strength on the crotch and side seams. I used grommets for the drawstring holes instead of button holes as the pattern calls for so that it would match the hoodie. The only thing left is the hem. I hesitated because if I do the hem with a coverstitch and topstitch the side vents on the sewing machine, the thread won't match. Picky, picky. I think the easy solution is to just use the serger thread in the sewing machine.

Now, what to do next? I have SOOOO many projects and the little piles of fabric seem to call out to me "make me, make me!." I have the doll shirt cut out, so I might as well sew that up while I have the machines threaded. I was planning on making a test t-shirt and a muslin of a skirt, but I might take a slight detour and work on a small quilted wall hanging instead. It's destined to be a Christmas gift, so wouldn't it be a novel idea to complete it before December?

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Ok, really, that's the last fabric...really

I just ordered 4.25 more yards to add to my stash. I really, really, really have to stop this. The fabrics look really nice (of course) and I'm sure they're fantastic because the fabrics from emmaonesock are always nice. I ordered some blue sweater knit:


Yes, it is similar to some light blue sweater knit I bought last month but that knit had a definite right and wrong side and this one appears not to. I plan to use this new one for the hoodie I wanted and the other one will become a regular pullover.

The other fabric I bought is this:


I just liked it. Here's a larger view: click here. I'm actually not sure what I'll make out of this one, perhaps a dress.

But that's really it. I not going to buy any more fabric. Well, let's not say never , but at least not anytime soon. Really.

I couldn't sew last night because I had French class and didn't get home until 9 and then watched TV. But I do want to sew tonight. However, my husband would like to skate tonight. I guess we can do both as long as I don't head for the couch when we get back from skating.

I'm actually reading a sewing book at night. I'm reading Tauton Press' book "Sewing with Knits". I hope it will help me understand how to work with these beautiful emmaonesock knits I've been buying and not ruin them by either choosing the wrong pattern or mishandling them. I'm not a big reader of books, like my husband is. Generally the only time I read books is on the airplane when I travel. While my husband reads books every night before he goes to sleep, I pretty much stick to magazines. I read some articles that interest me, but mostly I flip through fashion magazines and tear out anything that inspires me. Of course most of the ads and fashion shots are of clothing that I would never wear. Some is just plain bizarre and some are only suited to a svelte model or actress' body. But often I can spot an interesting use of trim, stitching, color, etc. I have a mass of torn out pages by my bedside that I will some day put into a notebook.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

I Hate Shopping for Clothes

Last night I went to the mall to get a birthday gift for a friend and decided that while I was there, I might do a little shopping. I wound up with two pair of jeans from Sears (and yes, a birthday gift) and consider it a successful shopping trip. I generally don't go to the mall since I do most of my shopping on-line. As far as clothing shopping, I used to enjoy it but now I hate it. Sadly, most of my wardrobe comes from Costco - yes, Costco. Actually they get some pretty nice casual stuff and although there are no fitting rooms, I have only had to return a few things because they didn't fit. About once or twice a year I must venture to the mall. Last year, after dropping a size thanks to Weight Watchers, I thought I'd treat myself to a full day of shopping. I left early on Saturday morning to procure a parking spot at the megamall and headed for the department store. After a few minutes I realized the following:

1. I'm old
2. I'm very unhip
3. I'm still fat
4. I'm a tightwad
5. I have the right fabric in my stash

Last year, when I made this shopping excursion, all the pants were hiphuggers and the shirts reminded me of stuff I wore in high school. And this wasn't the junior's department. All I wanted were some plain pants that fit and maybe a shirt or two to make an outfit! I was pleased that I did indeed drop a size, but pants still didn't fit. Like always, they pulled across my hips and gapped at my waist. I'm sure there were clothes there that could fit me and look great, but I got sticker shock. Especially when I saw that I have the patterns and fabric to make exactly what they were selling. That's what happened last night too. I walked around Macy's and I was in a sea of pink (because pink is in). I managed to find some jeans at Sears and then optimistically tried on some capris in a lime green that would make a cute outfit with some fabrics I have and pieces that are already in my closet. Egad, they looked awful. The fabric was thin and pulled at my hips and crotch but gapped at my waist. I think I can do better. I know I have fabric and certainly the patterns (although not the kicky lime green, hmmm, maybe I'll check out

After returning home with a sense of sewing energy, I picked up the tank top and thought I'd work on the binding. The Burda WOF instructions said to fold the binding lengthwise and place the fold edge 1/2 inch inward and then stitch near the edge. Huh? Then you fold it under and topstitch. Ok, I got the last part, but my interpretation of this whole thing made for a very bulky binding. My first thought was maybe WOF had a featured sewing lesson that might expand on how to sew on the binding. Every issue of WOF hightlights one (and sometimes two) patterns and provides instructions in much more detail, complete with illustrations. But alas, I could find nothing that matched this project. Then I consulted my vast library of sewing books (I knew I bought them all for a reason!) and even my Kwik Sew "Easy Sewing the Kwik Sew Way" book. The latter only made me wonder why I bought, and continue to buy, all these individual patterns. That book contains enough basic patterns to build an entire wardrobe! But I digress...I eventually found what I was looking for in Tauton Press' "Sewing with Knits". I can simply serge the neck and arm hole edges, turn them under and stitch. I think I can use the coverstitch on my serge and do it in one step. I'll first try a sample and see how it behaves with this knit, but I have a feeling it will work just fine.

Monday, April 12, 2004

A Sewing Weekend

I finished the hoodie and I'm quite pleased with it. I ended up taking out the hem and taking the side seams in a bit. Removing a coverstitch is easy if you a) pull the right thread and b) start from the correct end. Zip and it's out. After finishing the hoodie I traced off and cut out another Burda WOF pattern from the same issue (Jan 2002) for a sleeveless top. Based on my experience with the hoodie I traced off a solid size 42 and didn't increase it any in the waist. I also cut out some shorts using a Kwik Sew pattern. And just to squeeze out some more from this fabric, I cut out a pattern for an 18" doll top. I try to make something for an 18" doll (e.g., American Girl) out of the scraps from my projects and right after I finish my main project, while I have the machines threaded. So far I have a fleece jacket and a knit top. I intend them to be Christmas presents for a niece, if she still plays with these dolls.

I decided to start working on the top and then realized that I was supposed to cut out binding for the neck and arms. Oops. I barely had enough out of the scraps and the neck binding will have two seams (I'll just line them up to the shoulder seams - no biggie).

My weekend also involved a trip to the fabric store. I went out to get more thread but Hancocks closed at 6:00 and I was 5 minutes too late. I reluctantly drove over to Joanns, knowing theycarry Gutterman, not Mettler, which was the brand I was using, but hoping there'd be a close match. Nope. Their Gutterman selection was quite picked through. They did have the white cording I wanted for the shorts though. There's not much about Joanns that I like but they do have good pattern sales. This weekend they had Vogue for $3.99 and Butterick and McCalls for 99 cents. I picked up a couple patterns for purses and one reissued vintage Barbie pattern. I browsed the fabric just to see what they had and I eyed some more of the Chinese brocade-inspired polyester they've been carrying. I recently bought some in red to make a Chinese style top but I saw they had other colors now, including black, which I thought would make a great evening bag. Like I go out to the opera and stuff. Well actually, we do go out to concerts and are going to one this Saturday night. But no one dresses up in evening wear. Still, you never know when I might need an evening bag and I only needed 1/2 a yard. Joanns also had some purse hardware - it seems making purses is the fad of the moment. I picked up some bamboo handles for another purse I want to make and a large snap enclosure.

My sewing/knitting project list:

Green rib knit hoodie - finished!
Green rib knit tank - in progress
Green rib knit shorts - cut out
Green rib knit doll shirt - cut out
Off-white sweater - back complete, almost finished one sleeve

What's next:

Make up top in ugly knit as a test Kwik Sew 3003
Pink/lime/gray poor boy knit shirt - Kwik Sew 3003
Muslin of denim skirt pattern - Burda WOF pattern
Pink denim skirt - Burda WOF pattern
Pink tone EOS knit t-shirt - Kwik Sew 3003 or something similar
knit socks

Friday, April 09, 2004

No, not more!

Yes. I was bad. I heard emmaonesock was getting more fabric and I had to look. I bought 7 yards. Two and a half yards each of a gray rayon/poly/lycra and a brown rayon/poly/lycra for pants and one yard of this:


to make a long sleeve t-shirt with the sleeves out of a yard of black jersey from EOS. The little thumbnail doesn't really do it justice - the bigger picture looks better and I know this type of fabric and it'll be great.

Sewing plans this weekend: finish the hoodie. I'm contemplating taking out the hem and taking in the side seams. If I'm uncomfortable with the tent-like-ness of the bottom, I'll be uncomfortable wearing it and I probably won't wear it. I do want to wear this top. Next on the agenda is to make a t-shirt out of ugly fabric to see how the pattern is and then I want to actually use this fabric I've bought and make some springtime t-shirts.

But we need to finish sanding the hallway floor and then stain it and polyeurethane it. I also have bedding plants that have been sitting in their nursery pots for 2 weeks now. And I need to review my French before Monday's class. And there's laundry and I really should clean the bathroom...

Oh yeah, I haven't forgotten about my knitting - I just haven't pulled out the project bag. I'm sure there will be some TV this weekend, so I should remember to get the sweater out.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Love my Serger

I worked a little more on the t-shirt hoodie last night. I put the eyelets in the hood after finally figuring out how to use the pliers. The instructions call for just turning the edge of the hood to the inside and just stitching it down to make a casing. I decided to use the coverstitch on my serger instead in the hopes of making a neater finish on the inside. The Burda instructions would have left the inside edge raw - not problem because the knit doesn't ravel, but I thought the coverstitch would look more RTW. The only problem was that the eyelets had to go under the presser foot while serging and my first attempt was rather ugly. Rip, rip, rip and try again. On my second try I used a bamboo skewer to help push fabric along where the eyelets are. That worked okay and I'm pleased with the result. Since the serger was now set up for coverstitch I decided to do the hems. Note to self - perhaps I don't need to increase every pattern at the hip. I altered the pattern to increase at the hips and waist, but now I have a bit of a tent-like problem. So it turns out Ireally didn't need to alter the pattern. It's too late to change it without taking out the hem. I should have tried it on before I did the hem, but I didn't. Oh well. Lesson learned - I probably don't have to alter for hips and waist in a knit. Come to think of it, I think I've made this mistake before but I guess it didn't sink in. I did try the top on before hemming the sleeves and oh my goodness, are Burda patterns cut for monkeys? The sleeves were two inches too long. I thought at first I made the mistake on the pattern when I traced it. I read 3 cm hem and thought 3 inches but then I realized my mistake. I double checked the pattern and no, I did only put a 1 1/4 inch hem on it. So I pinned the sleeve hems where I wanted them but spent an inordinate amount of time fussing to get both hems to be the same. Either I didn't cut right, didn't sew the sleeves in the same, or have one arm longer than the other. But my growling stomach told me to go have dinner instead of messing with the sleeves so I did.

The fabric from and EOS arrived the other day. It's pretty much what I expected and should work for what I intended it for. I've been able to hold off from buying more fabric, but EOS is about to post new arrivals (including silk knit!) and has some new stuff too. I'm tempted. Help.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Sewing and Sanding

I managed to make a lot of progress in my sewing projects yesterday. I just about finished the Burda blouse - everything except for buttonholes and buttons - and decided to try it on. Hideous. Well, not exactly hideous, but not flattering at all. I had intended to make it as a muslin but since I can't do anything half-way, I took my time and decided to make it wearable if I could. There are a couple of problems with it, some of which I'll remember when I make the blouse out of the intended fabric. First, the fabric is striped. It'd be ok if it were a one-color stripe, but they're multi-colored. This is why I didn't like the fabric in the first place. Second, the fabric is too heavy. It reminded me of muslin when I worked with it. It was very well behaved but had no give or drape. Third (and lastly), the length is too long. I thought long would be classier but I "forgot" that I have hips. I cut the pattern larger to accomodate my hips, but because the fabric is rather stiff, it sticks in place - right at my hips. I am rethinking cutting the long style in the intended fabrics, a sueded polyester and a rayon . I may do the short version instead. That's probably a much better choice for my figure anyway. The model on the pattern envelope is a stick so the long style looked just fine on her. I'm not a stick. It's strange because I like the way the blouse looks...on the dress form. It just didn't look right on me. I decided not to spend time working buttonholes and sewing on buttons. For now I'll keep the blouse until I've made the pattern in other fabrics, so that I can refer to it and remember why it didn't work. Eventually I'll finish the buttons and then dontate the shirt to Goodwill.

And now I'm free to start on the t-shirt hoodie from the Burda WOF. (Remember, I can't work on more than one project at a time). I took a painfully long time to lay out the fabric and finally plunged in with my rotary cutter. It's a simple pattern - 4 pieces: front, back, sleeves, and hood. The Burda WOF instructions are quite sparse but in this case that's ok because this really is a simple project. I put the zipper in without any trouble. I added iron-on stabilizer to the shoulder seams, as I do with every knit top. It works great to keep the shoulder from stretching. I used a 4-thread overlock on my serger to construct the shoulder, sleeve, and side seams. I felt "advanced" that I serged the seams even though the instructions only talk about using the sewing machine. Of course it's a very simple, and reasonable thing to use a serger on a knit top such as this, but I felt accomplished none-the-less. The fabric is absolutely scrumptious. It's nice and thick and soooo soft. I tried the top on, even though I haven't attached the hood yet, and it fits pretty well. One sleeve is a little tighter than the other - a result I'm sure of my innacurate serging. I traced the pattern to have 5/8" seam lines and just eyeballed placement of the fabric on the serger. The sleeves aren't tight, but they are close fitting. If I were to redo it, I'd make them a little larger I think. But maybe I'll change my mind after I've worn it awhile. And I do expect to wear this. I love the fabric so much that while sewing I was torn between wanting to finish it quickly so I could wear it right away, and taking my time so I could fondle the fabric longer. I think I would have finished it last night too if it weren't for the eyelets. I have metal eyelets for the drawstring holes, but I can't figure out how to put them in without crushing them too much.

I was hoping to work on the top some more today but hubby had sanding plans instead. He wanted to get moving on the hallway floor so we rented a sander and got to work (after having a beer and enjoying our back patio for a bit first :-) ). Sanding is messy, noisy, and annoying. The rented sander is large and the hallway is not. Plus, the hallway has a 90 degree turn in it plus 6 doorways and a closet - a lot of places that the sander just couldn't get to so we have to use small hand sanders (powered, but still a pain to use). We've got the sander until tomorrow afternoon and originally I suggested doing the back bedroom too, but we'd have to first clean it out and then rip up the carpet. I think it can wait. We can rent the sander again.

Gotta go turn the clocks forward an hour now...