In Which Lessons Are Learned.

Sometimes, a project doesn’t pan out. For me, that is always frustrating but I am trying to learn from my mistakes — especially in sewing, which is where this tale of woe occurs.

Yesterday, I sewed up the Mathilde Blouse by Tilly and the Buttons. I used a really lightweight white voile fabric, intending this to be a wearable muslin to see if I wanted to make more of these. Well, I wound up creating a very un-wearable muslin, but after many deep breaths I am here to tell you that it’s ok.

I have quite the long list of things that I learned. I know this was listed as an intermediate pattern and I’d say that’s right! I’m pretty proud of myself for (more-or-less) learning:

  1. Tucks
  2. French seams
  3. Buttonholes

Unfortuately, I also learned that not all tailor’s chalk washes out. And even on the wrong side, aforementioned tailor’s chalk will show through sheer fabric. So now, here you go, my Mathilde Blouse:

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Pretty cute, huh? I finished everything on it except attaching the buttons–because I was suspicious of the tailor’s chalk. I tried it on, clipping it shut in the back. It’s pretty cute, but really way too sheer for my taste.

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I also think I’d like it in a drapier fabric. My French seams turned out pretty nice, I think. That was a daunting step that turned out to be not too scary once you got going!

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But here’s the real kicker, the thing that makes this a definite unwearable…

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Those little blue dots, among other marks that can be seen on the outside of the top, sunk my little ship. (But my tucks look ok, right?) I think I will make this blouse again sometime in a drapier, more opaque fabric. The style of it is pretty cute. I will definitely be careful with the tailor’s chalk next time!

Happy making!

Learning curve.

One of the challenges that I set out for myself for this year was to sew a garment with a zipper. It seemed like a pretty easy challenge, to be honest. Low hanging fruit, one might say. As I mentioned last week, I was right on the cusp of inserting said zipper in my second try at the Hollyburn skirt.

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Well, I finally settled in to insert the zipper this weekend. It went very smoothly. Putting in that zipper was actually pretty simple. Looked nice all sewn in, and everything. I pulled it off the machine, zipped it up… and the waistband didn’t line up. At all. I’ll save you the pain of a long explanation of the 5 hours of insanity that ensued and boil it down to a simple list:

  1. I took out the zipper, re-sewed it. Still out of whack.
  2. I took out the zipper, ripped out the back seam, redid both. Still out of whack.
  3. I took out the zipper, pinned it in again, and noticed that the shape of the two back pieces seemed different. Turns out I had put one back piece in backward.
  4. I ripped out the back seem, part of the waistband, the back panel, and about three miles of serged finishing. Re-sewed it all.
  5. Inserted the zipper. Still out of whack, but not nearly as bad as before. The top of the waistband lines up, so I’m going with it.

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This is the finished top of the zipper/waistband. You can see how the top of the waistband lines up, but not the bottom. From the best I can tell, things got janky when I did the waistband in the first place. But it’s wearable and cute, and to be honest, I love it.

This is the Hollyburn Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns, in Kaufman Chambray Union Worn Indigo. I made view B with the belt loops from view A. I cut a straight size 10 and made no modifications. Although, let’s be honest, I don’t know enough about anything to make modifications in garment sewing yet. I do want to point out that all of my frustration has nothing to do with the pattern itself. It is clear and well written, nothing was confusing or over my head. Total user error.

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This was quite the steep learning curve. This one turned out better than my first attempt, and I hope to solve the waistband issues with the next one. After struggling with the skirt half the weekend, I turned to my ultimate comfort make… socks.

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And, I finished them. These kind of happened without me noticing. I just needed to work on a project that wouldn’t be frustrating, something I know how to do. So I knit that second sock over the weekend and we have a pair.

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The yarn is Knitterly Things Sparkle Vesper Sock in Misty Mountain Rainbow, the August 2017 rainbow of the month colorway. I did 29 rows of 2×2 rib (one full stripe repeat) and cut in my afterthougth heel at 6.5″ down from cast on edge. For the heel and toe decreases, I used one of the options in the Smooth Operator Socks pattern.

This is pair 8 in my rainbow box of socks, and pair 16 overall for the year. Not too shabby. I really like these socks, the speckly stripes remind me of that hazy look things get in August when it’s just too hot and summer has gone one a bit too long.

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Whew. Two finished projects: one extradordinarily frustrating and one amazingly comforting. I love having both possibilities. I’m not planning to start any more socks until September 1, but I do have the replacement fabric from my first Hollyburn attempt. Maybe this one will go even better.

Happy making!

Back in the saddle.

When I was around 10 or 11, my cousins got a go-cart. Judge and I were eager to try it out and being the oldest and bossiest, I went first. I promptly slammed my foot on the peddle and ran the go-cart straight into a tree. With a busted chin and bruised ego, I swore I’d never ride another go-cart. My dad told me in no uncertain terms that I was, in fact, getting back on the go-cart. He told me that if you fall off of a horse, you get right back in the saddle and show yourself and the horse who’s boss.

Fast forward a decade and I had a major car accident. I was in various hospitals for a while and eventually came home and went to stay with my dad for a while. I had not driven a car for over a month, not since the accident. I was so afraid to drive again, but my dad once again told me, back in the saddle you go. I managed to live through the harrowing 3 mile drive to my aunts and I’m happy to tell you, I’m still driving to this day.

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Fast forward another decade plus and I am happily not wrecking any vehicles. But still, I’ve been balking at the idea of getting my serger back out. The last (and only) time I used it, it didn’t go very well. Well, I finally dredged up my dad’s advice and got the serger out this weekend. I’ve eased into things with some practice and have now been doing a bit of finishing. Finishing what, you may ask. Garments!

My first try at getting back into garment sewing and using a serger to finish raw edges:

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Not too bad! It was slow going, but I made it work, more or less. This is the Ogden Cami, by True Bias patterns. The fabric is some Art Gallery quilting cotton I had lying around. This fabric is far from ideal with very little drape–I wanted something stable and sturdy and easy to work with for this first try.

This is a great little pattern, pretty easy to do with some new techniques for me. After whipping this one up on Sunday morning, I thought I’d have a go at another Ogden in drapier fabric Sunday afternoon. And voila!

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This is some “silky chiffon” from Joanns that I found on sale. It’s definitely drapier, so it was good practice. I’m not completely convinced of the fit. I think you can see that it pulls across my back a bit and the front seems pretty voluminous.

I wore this one to work today. I’m still undecided about the fit. Maybe the fabric is still not drapey enough? I don’t know if I should try to adjust the pattern or look for something else. After making these two tops, I thought I’d step it up to a bigger project. Enter the Hollyburn Skirt, by Sewaholic. I had some navy poplin that I had purchased just to give this skirt a try. This pattern has a lot of finishing involved, so I kept going with serging seams to finish them. They were looking pretty snazzy, if I do say so.

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On the very last seam before installing the zipper, the worst happened. I caught a bit of the skirt fabric in the serger… and it serged.

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The kids find this hole in the seat of my skirt much funnier than I do. I was so frustrated. I had to take a step back from sewing. It’s scary to think of trying again and ruining something else. So I did the safe thing. I worked on a sock. With the serger safely in the craft room, I knit on. But in my mind I could hear my dad telling me to show it who’s in charge. And so, with trepidation, I cut out another skirt and got to work. I’m pleased to say that it’s going even better than the first skirt, serged seams and all.

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This will be hopefully by my first finished Hollyburn. I can’t wait to get it done!

I’m proud of myself for sticking with it.  I’ve got no issues with go-carts and cars these days and I’m happy to add sergers to the list.


Happy making!