My first at home lesson…

Well, my first at home lesson was great!  Thea came over and she was very patient with all my questions.  We went right to work on Simplicity 3678, view A (lower right).

Simplicity 3678

Simplicity 3678

I asked her my torrent of questions and she calmly answered them one by one.  As I mentioned before, I want to be able to read these stupid patterns on my own.  So our “syllabus” will be to go through a couple of commercial patterns together from beginning to end, make some pants from my pant sloper, learn a lot of basic but new to me techniques like gathering, pleating, adding a lining, drafting a waistband for my pant sloper, etc.  Just to name a few.  😉  Sounds like she’ll be spending more than 2 nights a week for a few weeks, right?  Well, hopefully I will get speedier and also do a lot of my own “homework” when I’m able to do so (i.e., when I’m not stumped by the stupid pattern directions!).

Last night we worked on steps 1-5 of the pattern instructions: attaching the back waist band to the back bodice, attaching the shoulders of the back to the shoulders of the two front bodice pieces and sewing the front and back facings together and then onto the bodice.  We finished the evening “lesson” with me pinning the facing to the bodice.  FYI: the “facing” for the bodice seemed suspiciously similar to single fold bias tape (except for the bias part).  Why not just call it binding?  Weird.

Things I learned from Thea:

  • How to correctly pin knit fabric (who knew there were right and not so right ways?): I was not lining up the pieces correctly and I didn’t use enough pins.
  • Being left handed is a handicap in sewing: Pinning is hard to do correctly for me as my left hand wants to pin the other direction.  😦  Not to mention that the sewing machine is set up for right handed people.  I keep wanting to flip the presser foot up with my left hand.  Awkward.
  • That I can’t use my serger to completely “sew” a knit garment.  I actually used the sewing machine for most of this project so far.  So tell me, why did I buy a serger?  I was using a three thread serging stitch.  I didn’t like how you could see the thread from the right side when you pull at the seam.  Would that happen if I used both needles for a four thread serged stitch?  Must remember to ask Thea that.
  • We experimented with the different stitch options on my Viking to see which one would work best.  I had a lots of settings from which to choose for zig zags, but my Emerald 183 has a great little stretch stitch which I will use from now on.  It seems much sturdier than a plain ole zig zag.  And it was stretchier than the zig zag!  I also liked how it looked from the right side, just like a regular straight stitch seam.  Perfecto!
  • How to correctly use a ribbon to stabilize the shoulder seam.  I have never done this before and placed it too far away from the seam allowance so that when I serged after stitching it on, it wasn’t enclosed in the finished  part of the SA (see pic below).  This was after I had sewed it on using a straight stitch on my sewing machine.  We left it as is since this is just my muslin.
  • Thea confirmed my previous error lesson learned that I should not have cut my fabric from 3 yds to 2 yds before seeing how the pattern pieces layed out on it.  Reminder to self, this is just my muslin and this is a learning process (i.e., I’m going to make mistakes – lots of them).

I learned a lot in one evening, don’t you think?  And the fabric I’m using for my muslin?  It was an on line purchase fail with the fault being entirely my own.  I completely ignored the word dots in the name of the fabric.  I’m not sure why I ignored it since you could see the dots in the picture, but I did and I regret it.  While the print itself is pretty and Pucci-esque, the dots just ruin it for me.  Also, I don’t like the hand very much, it feels very synthetic, almost rubbery.  But at least I am using it for a good purpose.  So it’s all good. 

Here’s some shots of the dress in progress…  You can see the fabric in all its dotty glory.

Waist band attached to back bodice -- do you see the dots?

Waist band attached to back bodice -- do you see the dots?


Stretch stitch used for waist band

Stretch stitch used for waist band


Shoulder seam with ribbon too far away from the serged finish - oops!

Shoulder seam with ribbon too far away from the serged finish - oops!


Facing attached with top stitching (I already removed the basting)

Facing attached with top stitching (I already removed the basting)

So the facing the bodice step is fully completed and tonight it’s on to pleating the front of the bodice with Thea.  I thought I might attempt that on my own last night, but, again, I was flummoxed by the directions.  *big sigh* 

Happy sewing!

ETA: I forgot to mention that I draped the bodice on me last night and have a sneaking suspicion that it may be too short.  It rides up a little on the girls if you know what I mean.  Uh oh….  good thing this is a muslin.


3 responses to “My first at home lesson…

  1. Sounds like you should have gotten a private coach a long time ago.

  2. Thanks for posting such detailed notes! I think these lessons will help you a lot to be able to grow more confident- I know it helped me to have my mom, dad, and aunt around to answer sewing questions when I first started and couldn’t decipher the instructions. I still haven’t really used knits though or grown confident in my use of my serger so everything you post about that will be helpful to me :). Another thought – is there a chance that you could use twitter to ask direct questions to people where you’re temporarily stumped and just need a hint to get going again? I’m sure there would be people that could answer a quick question so you don’t stay stuck.

  3. That’s awesome that you are taking lessons. They are so much fun. I took lessons for a couple of years. I learned so much. I have lots of sewing tips on my blog and links to video tutorials; so feel free to look around and see if there is anything that will help you.

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