Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sewing Ups and Downs

I have been pretty lucky with this sewing thing. I've only ripped out a handful of seams in my short but busy tenure with my sewing hobby. I've lost count with my projects and until a week ago, I'd never ruined a one. But I had to completely scrap some beautiful pink knit fabric after my first attempt at smocking. I blame my eagerness to make progress (Cat was already done with her project!), my distraction-- talking with a great friend while trying a new technique, and my negligence in reading the instructions. I went by Cat's directions, but I would have understood it better (probably?) if I'd cared to read the section instead of just hear the summary. So much of sewing is prepping/planning/thinking it through beforehand, and I didn't prep well this time. Luckily, there was enough pretty pink knit fabric left to try again, this time much smaller for my Harper girl.

My favorite thing about this project was the think-I-can stick-to-it-iveness (that's a lot of hyphen!) and my husband's reaction. E usually smiles and thinks I've made something cute, but he's never surprised. That's his way of complimenting me (of course you're that capable!). But this time, he oooed and aaahed and says it's his favorite item of clothing Harper's ever owned. I feel victorious.

Here's another "up". I made this dress for our neighbor's, Rylee's, fourth birthday. I did it in a bit of a rush at the end of last week because I mistakenly thought her party was last Saturday. When I arrived and didn't recognize the other guests, I realized I'd mixed up the dates. Classic case of Mom-brain. So it's currently wrapped up, ready to give at her party this Saturday. But before it leaves our house, I remembered to photograph it with Harper modeling. She served as my dress form in the process as well, so hopefully it will fit Rylee well.

My new serger (thanks, Mom!) really helped me make this dress much quicker than it would have taken me with just my regular sewing machine. It was fun to do the felt applique on the side as well. I busted out my acrylic paint to do the seeds. I also made a little bow clip to match-- can you see it? Super matchy. Four year old girls like that.

And then, the other day during my sewing hours (nap time), I decided: work before play. I needed to sew the seams on my mom's curtains. They were promised as part of her Christmas present when I drew her name last year. Since they are for her second home in UT, there was no rush to get them done. But her next trip there is coming up in May, I think, so I wanted to get on it so she could enjoy them. The simple task of sewing the straight seams turned nightmarish. The tension is all wrong. Too tight, too loose... I've changed needles, I've tried everything. I've been seam-ripping like there's no tomorrow. The weirdest part is that the first panel (there are 6 of these suckers) went relatively well, and it wasn't until the second panel that I had a lot of trouble. I'm hoping that I'll figure out the problem soon and that the machine isn't the problem. I ended up just "pressing pause" on that one. I'll probably look at it again during nap time today. Any crafty friends have an idea? It's canvas fabric, sewing through three layers. Wish me luck.


Katia Clark said...

Awesome creations as usual.

Mary Katie said...

Did you use the strongest needle you could find? I found that there are more durable needles in the sewing machine section at Joann's. (Our Joann's has a separate section where the sewing machines are--you have to purchase the needles from the sewing machine vendor). Anyhow, I broke SO many needles when making hooded towels UNTIL I found a serious heavy duty needle. I sure hope that helps. Being stuck can be soooo frustrating!

Danielle said...

wow, ru! i looooove harper's shirt. and the girlie inside is pretty cute too!

i wish you were out here to help me get started. i have zero stick-ti-it-tiveness so far with sewing. every time my mom comes she tries to get me going, but i poop out. okay, yes, i have a newborn baby on my hands, but his bedroom is curtainless! talk about downers: i measured the fabric, bought it, brought it home, washed it, and it shrank . . . a ton. they said it wouldn't! scoundrels.

Ruthie said...

Quick update: I'm unstuck! Turns out, I needed to tighten the bobbin tension (by turning a screw). My theory is that it got so super loose (a few turns all the way around) because of the elastic thread I'd used on the smocking project. Anyway, after some manual reading (always enlightening) and adjusting, I'm back in the swing. Yay hoo!

Jocelyn said...

Ah... bobbin tension... that messed me up for awhile as well! Glad you got it figured out so fast. I remember giving up, and hiding my machine for weeks until my mom came and showed me what was wrong. Rylee LOVES her dress... so much so that I've had to explain why "Mommy can't do laundry EVERY night...", and yes, she loves the matching bow!! Thank you so much for such a wonderful gift (including the book)!

Rachel said...

That watermelon dress is FABULOUS! And such an adorable model you have! ;)