Category Archives: Problems

Problems

We broke up

My boyfriend and I broke up. You remember him, don’t you?  My ruffler/gathering foot.  I don’t know what I did wrong, but suddenly he gave me the cold shoulder.  He didn’t want to gather or ruffle for me anymore. 

When I was making my niece Katie’s Xmas nightgown (a monument to gathers and ruffles), I couldn’t get him to gather for the life of me.  I looked up his directions in the manual (wouldn’t it be great if men did come with manuals???), I did an internet search on how to get better gathers, I changed thread tension, I changed stitch length.  In short, I tried everything.

My boyfriend wouldn’t gather.

My last ditch effort to save the relationship?  I thought to crowd the fabric from behind the needle and the fabric started to gather in a more acceptable fashion.  I don’t know why this idea occurred to me.  I don’t know if I had read about it in someone’s blog post or in one of my sewing books, but the idea just popped into my head.  I just smushed the fabric against the needle plate as I stitched and it helped the foot to gather the fabric as it fed through.  It wasn’t as consistent as it had been in the past, but what man is consistent?

I’m not sure if we’re going to get back together or not.  The pain is still too fresh.  But you can be sure, I will let you know if there are any further developments.

😉

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Crying uncle

Well, my friends, I think I have to give up the ghost on my tweed jumper.  I just can’t get it to fit around the girls right and now the fabric is looking a little forlorn.  Remember, this is how it looked last time:

  1. I tried shortening the fisheye darts — only helped a little.
  2. Then I tried letting out the side seams — no change.

At this point, the fabric doesn’t look good any more, so I didn’t have the heart to take pictures of what it looks like now though.  Trying to take out teensy tiny stitches out of a tweed just about did me in and definitely ruined the tweed.  And for some strange reason, the dress keeps hiking up in front so that the shoulder seams go behind my shoulders a bit.  I think that’s why the darts look so high.  But I can’t figure out why it’s doing that. 

I also can’t figure out why this iteration of a TNT is so drastically different from my other two.  The tweed is actually pretty lightweight and not all that different in thickness from the brocade I used for my fancy dress, so I can’t imagine that it’s a turn of the cloth issue as some of you have suggested.  So strange.

Anyway, I am just going to call it a wadder and move on.  I am pretty disappointed though.  As for the next project?  I have so many end of year projects on the docket that I am a little at a loss as to what to start on next. 

We’ll see what I feel like starting tonight. 

Wishing you a sewing day without wadders.

Zipper Dilemma and Some Excitement

I don’t want to jinx anything but I have to tell you how excited I am about the dress (NL6821) I am making for Katie.  I am using some cotton voile that feels so luxurious as I sew.  Who knew that cotton could feel luxurious?!  It looks so special already and I have only completed the bodice.  This was going to be just an ordinary little girl’s twirly dress, but it might just turn out to be a special occasion dress.  It’s so cool how a fabric can make or break a garment.  I can’t wait to see how the rest of this turns out.  See pictures below of the bodice thus far.  Did I mention I was excited????

BUT, I have a zipper dilemma.  When I went to P&S Fabrics last night to get the thread and zipper, I thought I had purchased the right color, at least under their flourescent lights.  But when I was home, the zipper looked magenta rather than purple and was a lot more saturated in color than the print or solid fabric is.  What to do????  So, I thought I would turn to you, gentle readers, for your wonderful suggestions. 

I have lined up several different colors of zippers below.  Let me know which works if any or if I should go back to the store to find another one.  In order of appearance: ivory, pink, beige, magenta, blue/purple.  I have three different light settings in the photos so you can see how it looks in different lights. 

So what’s the verdict?  Which zipper should I use?  Or should I go back to the zipper drawing board?

In other sewing store news, P&S Fabrics is moving across the street from their current store in 6 days.  The new store is beautiful (or so said someone I bumped into at the current store).

Happy sewing everyone!

Thea saves the day

I am a little late in writing this post about my lesson last week, but better late than never.  And a warning – this is a long post.

If you will recall I had made two muslins recently that required either a trash can or resuscitation,  The grandma skirt and the knit top from hell.  That post generated the most comments I have ever received for any one post.  I was overwhelmed by all of the kind words and moral support you provided as well as for all of the good ideas.  Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for putting up with my whining about my weight and pattern sizes.  I’d like to highlight some of the comments:

Faye shared: “I am in the SAME boat … I still need clothes so I sew for where I am now, and will when I do lose the weight, I’ll sew for where I am then.”  I know you’re right, that I should sew for the body I have now, but I don’t want to.  *stamping foot like a toddler in the middle of a temper tantrum*  My urge to sew is negatively correlated to how out of shape I am, unfortunately.  Ugh! 

Sue suggested: “… none of us are going to fit into any clothing/pattern without some tweaking.”  As I shared with Karen on the phone the other night, I stupidly assumed that, after the sz 14 turned out to be too small, of course the sz 16 would be just right and would require no tweaking at all.  WRONG!

Robin mentioned: “I have TNT patterns that I use over and over.  When I want a new style, I work out a frankenpattern, rather than try to sew a muslin from a commercial pattern.”  I haven’t been sewing (i.e., producing) long enough to have any TNT patterns yet.  In fact, muslining the Simplicity skirt was my first attempt to find a TNT pencil skirt (post on TNT’s still in the works).  Read on further in this post, however, for more progress on this front.

Hatty pointed out: “Oh and another thing — what’s in your construction queue — that Burda cardi/jacket thing — that’s a definite no-no unless you are feeling devastatingly attractive and tall and willowy.”  OMG!  You’re right!  I am taking that out of the queue pronto.  Thanks for saving me from some more frumpy angst!

Helen bravely brought up: “You know, underneath all the stuff about your size there is that disturbing comment about ‘not expecting to date’ for some time, which we are all politely ignoring because it is so worrying.”  You are right too Helen, I should not feel that I have to be skinny to date, but while I understand that, I still can’t feel motivation to date when I don’t feel good about myself.  It’s a little bit of a catch 22.  But hopefully, after somehow working in working out again, I will feel better about myself and feel the urge to get out into the fray again.  The problem is, though, as a single parent, it’s hard to find time to work out without having to pay a babysitter to do so.  I can do it, but it’s a tricky business, can be expensive and you have to be extremely motivated work it into your schedule.

JC asked: “Did you enjoy your sew fast sew easy class?  Yes, I did.  I wrote a couple of posts about the projects I worked on in that class where I detail what I learned.  Check them out!  I highly recommend their classes.  However, one of the reasons I have Thea as my teacher now is that she comes to my apartment so I don’t have to pay babysitting on top of the class fee.

Now back to my muslin disasters…  I showed them to Thea and we went to work on them.  For the skirt, Simplicity 2452, I just needed to nip in at the hips and down the sides of the skirt a 1/4 inch on each side seam as the waist was fine.  When it was pinned to the correct size, the skirt looked exactly the way I wanted it to look: fitted but not too fitted.  It was the pencil skirt I have been searching for; the grandma skirt had disappeared.  Yeah!  I used the french curve ruler to redraw the pattern taking it in a 1/4 inch.  It was pretty easy actually.  See my adjusted pattern below.  So this could be my TNT pencil skirt pattern.  I am going to finish up this skirt even though the more I work with the fabric, the more I dislike it and I’m going to add a lining.  I want to see how it looks all finished to be sure I like this skirt pattern before I cut into any of my nice suiting fabrics.  I don’t want to make any more “muslins” for this pattern if I can help it.  🙂

2452 pencil skirt hip alteration

I haven’t finished the skirt so no pictures yet.  Be patient dear readers. 

Next I tried on the knit top for Thea and she thought it looked just fine on me.  She thought the pulling/wrinkles on the bust were part of the drape and didn’t bother her at all.  She liked the top.  I looked at it again with kinder eyes and just may agree.  Although I am waffling on it since I still feel self conscious about my thick middle section.  Thea said we could add a little more to the side seams on the front pattern piece under the arms for more room for the bust and see what happens.  I think I may try that in my ugly dots knit fabric.  Again, I don’t want to waste any of my nice knits on another muslin.  While Thea was there, I sewed on one of the sleeves and I had my first experience of too much sleeve cap ease.  New Look requires you to gather the sleeve cap before inserting the sleeve.  Ridiculous!  It’s a pattern for a knit fabric people!  How about just drafting a knit sleeve cap that fits into the armscye?  Brilliant idea.  Now let’s do that from now on.  I asked Thea to redraw the sleeve cap as I hadn’t a clue as to how to do that.  I’ll try it out the new sleeve along with the new front pattern piece on my next iteration of this top. 

6901 altered sleeve pattern piece

crappy sleeve insertion due to excess sleeve cap

lovely drape front -- best feature of the top

I thought I could salvage this top by removing the back neck facing and finishing it in another fashion, but I can’t remove the facing for the life of me.  It’s on there but good.  I could only get two inches unattached.  I am admitting defeat with this iteration.

the gosh durned stubborn back facing

The reason why I am working so hard to make this top and skirt work is simple.  TNT’s people.  I need ’em.  I want ’em.  They’re worth the effort, the tweaking.  Once I get these two patterns working for me for how I look now, (*sigh*) I can start ramping up the wardrobe factory production because I need a lot more work clothes.  A lot.  I am sick and tired of what’s in the rotation. I want some variety and more of it.  And I want it NOW!!!  And to be truthful, it isn’t hard to make these patterns work for me and my body.  The changes are simple and easy, so it’s not like I am redrafting the pattern.  I just became easily discouraged at first.  I was focusing on the wrong thing, my body, not the fit of the pattern.  Not that I shouldn’t get in shape or anything, but I can and will sew for the body I have now.  It will take time and much effort to get back to where I want to be, shape-wise, and I am going to need to clothe myself in the interim.  So I better get cracking!

So I am going to do a little poll with New Look 6901.  I will show you a picture of me wearing the top and you let me know via the poll what you think.  Deal?

Oh and I almost forgot!  Thea also looked at my alhambra clover fabric that was printed off-grain.  She thinks it just needs a  better pressing than I gave it previously and it should be fine.  Wow!  I can’t tell you how relieved I was.  However, I think I need a little time off from this fabric for a while before I reattempt cutting it again.  We need a break from each other. 

Happy tweaking everyone!

Drunk Printing

So this is what I think happened… 

Guy printing stretch cotton: “Whoa, maybe I had a few too many at lunch today.” Unprinted Stretch Cotton: “Step away from me pal!”

Alhambra Clover Print Design: “We like the straight grain, only the straight grain dude!” 

Guy: “This looks ok, maybe no one will notice.” 

Fabric store owner who shall remain nameless: “Maybe no one will notice.” 

Me: “ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” 

lame hand drawn graphic

 

Thank you all for your supportive comments about my recent discovery of some badly printed fabric that I bought way back in 2008.  My fabric was not only printed off grain, but it begins to skew in the middle of the pattern ever so slightly.  Enough that there is no way to match the print at all, no matter what method is used.  See my “graphic” above for my expert visual illustration of this problem (the writing tablet lines are the straight grain of my fabric, the green lines are the pattern printed on my fabric).  I’ve tried cutting in single layers, I’ve tried matching it up on different parts of my 3 yd cut.  I’ve tried inverting the pattern piece. All to no avail.  I have officially given up on this fabric.  Sigh.  I really love the alhambra clover pattern too.  double sigh. 

By the way, I am trying to make Simplicity 2452, a pencil skirt.  I hope it will become my TNT pencil skirt, but that’s a discussion for another post.  

Simplicity 2452

 

What I’m trying to say is that this is all it took to stop my sewing mojo in it’s tracks for a couple of days.  Last night, in a fit of determination and before Jack went to bed and my closet of sewing stuff/stash was inaccessible for the evening, I looked at all of my fabric for a suitable stand in fabric to learn print matching at seams.  Unfortunately, I have a bad case of good-fabric-itis and don’t want to cut into any of those fabrics yet.  So I resorted to some slightly icky black (subtly striped) fabric left over from my class at Sew Fast Sew Easy.  It’s a stretch cotton.  I wanted to attempt matching the stripes using the Selfish Seamstress’ discovery of the easiest way to match stripes/plaids.  I think my stripes were too irregular and too subtle for this method, but I still recommend it as it looks like it works.    However, I also looked at my patterns for a good knit top pattern to make some tops for my suits.  I don’t have a lot of work appropriate separates and desperately need to grow my wardrobe.  However, after perusing my pattern stash and all of my Burda’s, I couldn’t find anything!!!!  My parameters were easy, work appropriate and attractive.  Can I tell you that it seemed like I was asking too much?  If the pattern was easy, it was shapeless and fugly.  If the pattern was attractive it looked to difficult.  I want knock out a few of these with my printed knits, not spend two weeks on one top.  

If anyone has any pattern suggestions for cute knit top, I am all ears. 

Tonight I am going to attempt S2452 with my slightly icky fabric.  I will consider it my 2nd muslin (the first muslin story is part of the TNT post to come).  

Happy sewing everyone!

ARGH!!!

We interrupt our usually good sewing karma programming to bring you this breaking news.  Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, on one of her first fabric shopping excursions, she was sold a stretch cotton in a beautiful black and white alhambra clover pattern and it is OFF GRAIN!!!! 

I went crazy tonight, trying to match the clovers at the CB seam and couldnt get it to match no matter what I did.  I am so disappointed.  And to top it all off, in my newbie state I bought way too much of this fabric, like 3 yds.  What am I going to do with 3 whole yds of off grain printed fabric???

Please tell me there’s something I can do!  PLEASE!

Here’s the offensive fabric…

What’s my problem?

I am suddenly having problems with the stretch stitch on my sewing machine. I’ve tried fiddling with the tension in both directions, changing the pressure of the presser foot, and using a walking foot but my stitches are still irregular. Can anyone tell me why or suggest anything else I can do?

😦

I’ve made three of these pj’s so far and this is the last one.  I needed to finish this last set tonight and now I am behind schedule.  I would appreciate any suggestions anyone might have. 

Thanks!