Saturday, August 11, 2012

Iron, I Love You

I always hated ironing, but since I've started sewing, I find it both enjoyable and relaxing. I have a lot more crisp cotton in my life, and I enjoy making an item that is freshly laundered look freshly laundered. (Confession, I'm terrible about hanging the laundry once it dries.) Turns out ironing is even better than pinning when sewing. I can measure as I go and make sure things are nice and even. If I iron correctly, I don't have to pin. If I don't have to pin, I don't have to worry about stabbing myself or about remembering to take out the pins. Yay, iron!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Finally, Success!

It's been one of two things. Either I haven't sewn because it's so bloody hot that a work day in this heat rendered me a damp lump, or the sewing machine was still being evil. Evil! I decided that with this break in the heat, I'd give it yet another go. Same snarls. For some reason, I decided to look at the bobbin. Turns out it had somehow come out of its track. Slid it back in and voila! Everything is back to yes.

Since I only had a little bit to go on my simple skirt, I was able to finish it tonight. While the charm pack skirts used elastic waistbands, I had instructions for that skirt. This one I made from a scrap with my own made up pattern. (The pattern is a rectangle. Top secret!!!) With 1" elastic for the waistband, I allowed myself 1.25" for the waistband casing. However, I failed to consider that my zig-zag stitch is .25" wide. No wiggle room! I just couldn't get my waistband finished without a mess so I picked the whole thing apart (after four attempts to plow through). As you can see, it's not the best fit -- tight in the thighs, baggy in the waist. Although, I do feel I learned some things about the way fabric lays on the body, namely, I'm way too curvy to start with such straight hems. Next step: A-line.

Skills acquired: elastic waistband

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rack'em Frack'em $@#(!

For the first time in two months, I was able to sew. I ironed out the hem of a poorly thought-out first attempt at a skirt waistband, adjusted it, and started sewing. Everything was going smoothly, when halfway through the bobbin thread started to pull through the top. Mind you, the thickness of the fabric hadn't changed from the first half of the waistband. Nothing at all had changed. I tightened the setting from 4 to 5 and it got worse. At this point I realized it had been so long since I'd sewn that I'd forgotten how to trouble shoot; that was an emotional blow. So I got out my book, learned that it needed to be loosened, and so set the tension to 3. Giant snarl. I set it back to 4. Giant snarl. 4 again. Bobbin thread pulling through. WHAT THE HECK, SEWING MACHINE!?! YOU CANNOT HAVE OPPOSITE PROBLEMS AT THE SAME SETTING!!!!

By this time, I'd picked the waistband out at least four times. I wanted to scream, throw my sewing machine off a bridge, and punch a bear in the face.

Between this and my utterly disastrous attempt at a berry tart yesterday, this weekend is the opposite of domestic bliss.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Life Gets in Life's Way

It's his fault. I haven't sewn for a month because we got a new bunny, Java. Trouble is, Java and Mocha, the rabbit we've had for two years, don't get along. This means that they have to be closely watched when they're having their separate play times so they don't start nipping each other through the cage bars.

It's a cute, cuddly problem, but I have three skirts downstairs in various states of creation. A weekend wherein I'm not the primary bun-sitter would be nice.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I'm Too Ambitious

Since we're talking about sewing beyond my skill.
Arg! It's always something. Last time it was the fray of doom. That's in check now, but I seem to have reached beyond my grasp. Instead of putting waist pleats in this new shirt-skirt like I did with the previous one, I broke out my rockin' French curve and made some hips. It went quickly and well until it didn't.

Problem #1: My markers aren't unmarking. I got a pair of those markers that you can mark and wash away. Only, they're not washing away! No matter how much I wipe, I just end up moving a blue line around my skirt. GRR!

Problem #2: Part of the beauty of turning a men's shirt into a skirt is that some of the work is already done. The button holes are stitched. The buttons are attached. The hem and side seams are finished. Oh, yeah, the seams. I sort of undid that with my brilliant French curve hippy work. Nice. I literally spent half and hour reading up on seams to figure out how to finish these seams.

Problem #3: The answer is a mock French seam. To do a mock French seam, I need to iron my current seam flat. Uh, it's already curved. That happens when you use a French curve. To proceed, I need a tailor's ham -- a 3D ironing board.

Problem #4: I removed some cuff buttons to replace them for visual interest. I removed the wrong buttons. Now I have to sew them back on.

Sigh.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fray of DOOM!

I'd already made the awesome lower half of my next men's-shirt-upcycled-into-a-skirt and was about to start on the waistband when I noticed this:
That is the fray of doom, people! It's right on the cuff, the top of the waist band.

I had planned on listing this skirt on Etsy and I was especially excited about it being a larger size (34 inch waist) because Etsy is full of tiny people. I'm sure I can stop the damage with fray check and fusible webbing, but I can't make the wear disappear. So do I not list it? Do I note that as an upcycled item there is regular wear to the fabric?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Upcycled Men's Shirt

Skills acquired: pleating, using hem tape

I made a skirt! This is the finished product of my upcycled men's skirt. I'm particularly proud of the pleating. I finished the hem at the waist with hem tape, a substance I will wax poetic about in the future.

It's a pretty simple design, so I'm trying to think of ways to jazz it up. Contrasting waistbands, upgrading buttons, piping, ruffles. When I have more, I'll list them on Etsy!