Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Slow Stitching

After days of fog and greyness, it was an extra bonus yesterday to sew in the sunshine, several hours of it, timed for when I was in the studio although - to be honest - I was in the studio most of yesterday. That was first bonus. An entire day of slow stitching. My goal was simply to...




... enjoy the process. To cut and pin and stitch and press as accurately as possible and to enjoy each step of the way and to not even try the garment on until it's completely finished BUT, I didn't totally abandon all reason. My stash has been cleaned so many times that it's full of fabrics I like so I chose to work with the ones I liked the least because while the odds of the project being sewn with precision were high, the odds of it being wearable are another thing.




It's been a while since I've sewn with such a crisp cotton as the black and white print. I loved the way it pressed. The purple is a remnant. Again, I'm not sure what the term for this fabric is. I've noticed that I'm not remembering details like that as well as I used to. URGH - aging! LOL - I can still sew. Good. Enough. Whatever it's called, the design is recessed and surrounded by a napped surface, another thing I didn't think about until later. This pattern is not suitable for napped fabrics - LOL. Oh well.




I actually read the instructions before I started cutting and the facing made no sense. It's drafted in two pieces with a seam that intersections with the seam in the central portion of the lining and the seam of the main garment body. Why? That just creates extra bulk.




I taped the two pattern pieces together, eliminated the seam, and traced the two pieces as one placing...




... two new notches on the facing, one to match to the seam on the central lining and one to match to the seam on the main garment body.




Here's how the facing looks sewn to the central lining. Eliminating the seam and changing the sewing order made it much easier to work with. Steps 5 and 6 made no sense to me either.




In step five, pattern piece 8 is the back neck facing. In step 6, pattern piece 9 is the hem facing.  See how the stitching stops 5/8" short of the edges and how piece 9 has notches along it? The central lining is supposed to sit into this circle of facings. You would stitch to the dot, turn, stitch to the dot, turn and stitch your way around the entire seam. Why? Why not sew piece 9 to the bottom of the central lining and then sew that piece to the rest of the facings stitching from the bottom of one front facing to the bottom of the other? SO MUCH EASIER. That's what I did. It worked.

I rarely read the instructions but when I do, it annoys me to come across steps like these that complicate rather than simplify sewing. With my accumulated experience, I'm able to disregard and change them to a way that works however, a beginner sewist might not be confident enough to try and instead would just follow along and be more frustrated than necessary. I want to encourage you to what if the instructions. What if I changed that piece? What if I sewed that seam differently? What if I trimmed and graded that seam even though they're not asking for it?

When I'm sewing a simple design, I don't even read the instructions. When I'm sewing a more complicated design, I glance through them, change what I think needs changing, and sew from there. When I'm refashioning, I'm totally winging it all on my own. And you can too.

The more you what if the instructions and try out the changes you think might work, the stronger your sewing skills will grow. You'll make mistakes. That's okay. Most are fixable. It's only fabric. They are making more each day. More importantly, both your mistakes and your successes will teach you a tremendous amount. Eventually, you'll find yourself rarely referring to the instructions at all and that's a wonderfully confident place to be in, one where you can slice and alter and adjust and change and design and sew all on your own. And then, you'll be what iffing in new design directions.

I sewed from ten in the morning until five in the afternoon yesterday and was four snaps short of finishing when I had to to get ready for knitting. I'll finish today and try it on and we'll see. The pattern is drafted for a 26 1/2" - 28" waist and mine is significantly bigger than that. It most likely won't fit but I will be able to figure out where on the pattern to widen the waist.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - a thoroughly enjoyable day in the studio focused on the thrill of sewing not the frustration of fit

12 comments:

  1. I think that is why when I started sewing, I didn't use patterns. I often copied RTW that I liked or draped a cape for Halloween costume (I made a serious kick ass cape for a Darth Maul costume for my ex, ah the way that moved when he walked...). Directions like that just baffled me and left me more confused. At least if I puzzled it out myself I understood.

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    1. Puzzling it out yourself is fabulous. So is knowing/learning how to drape. That's a portion of refashioning but definitely something I'd like to learn more about.

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  2. There are times when an instruction was so confusing, and it added to my frustration that i could not put it into words why it is so. Then i wing it and forget all that part.

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    1. YEAH - and keep going and have fun and figure things out and learn. This is good.

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  3. I read those pattern instructions and scratched my head. I'm glad that you also found it confusing.

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    1. Not so much confusing as just a stupid way to do it - more difficult. And yet the pressing instructions for the darts is fabulous. The dart on the main body is pressed in the opposite direction of the dart on the front facing so they butt up against each other. That's the topic of my book Press For Success and something I transferred from quilting to fashion sewing. Seems strange to excel in one area and fall down in another but....

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  4. Just winging it, and conquering it yourself is so very rewarding! Love the fabric you are using...J

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    1. This morning, I tried on one of my favourite purple sweaters and it suddenly "hit" me how to fashion an adaptation that would be great fun and use the latest print blocking trend. The sweater itself was drafted from one that I tried on at Winners. I used my T & T t-shirt pattern as the base. T & T's are worht the work. It's SO GOOD to learn these winging it and adaptation things. They open up all kinds of new adventure.

      Glad you like my least liked fabric - LOL - what fun.

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  5. This is a great piece. I'm looking forward to seeing a picture of you wearing it to see how it hangs on a real body.

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    1. Me too. It's dinner time and I still haven't made it into the studio so hopefully after I can sew on those snaps and see how it goes. Like I said, don't have high expectations since it's drafted for someone smaller but we should get a feel.

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  6. I just utterly love your blog post! I liked your phrase 'what iffing' so much, plus I'm keen on making this shrug myself, that I just had to link to this post on my crafts blog.
    You are expressing my feelings: why sew something the complicated, frustrating way that muddled instructions tell you to when you can do it the easy way - when that is so very obvious at the same time. Weird that they would get this wrong.
    Do you think that the shrug design came out of the design for another item where this made sense and they kept both that extraneous seam and the odd piece 9 placement by mistake? I can't think of any other explanation, this is just too weird.
    Thanks for your post, I really enjoyed it and I am getting good pointers about eliminating that seam! Thank you.

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.