Thursday, August 22, 2013

Leaving the Sewing Machine Alone

Friends, it's been a frustrating few weeks.  It seems that I am having a string of bad luck when it comes to picking patterns and fabrics.  In two of the projects (one of which you have already seen), the fabric was tearing before I finished the item.  With the third project, I chose a completely impractical fabric (cotton/linen blend - SO WRINKLY), rendering my new Simplicity 3688 trousers nearly unwearable to work.
So, aside from the two dresses I'll be finishing for my sister this weekend, I'll be leaving the sewing machine to sit for a time while I focus on my knitting needles...
and my very first sweater.
The lovely Michelle agreed to knit-a-long the Catherine sweater jacket with me, and she has been a huge help during our weekly meetings.  I've had the chance to learn quite a few things.  For instance, when you end up having more rows on one end than another, you will need to knit back and figure out where the issue happened ... and pay better attention to what direction you are knitting next time.  Also, when you don't anchor your colorwork yarn properly, it will suddenly appear like a huge spot on the right side of your sweater ... and then you will need to knit back.  Or when you don't carry your alternate color properly and it appears on the right side, you will need to knit back. 
I have had to knit back A LOT. I think I could do it in my sleep at this point.  I am feeling confident, though, that my sweater is going to be something I am proud of, once it is finished. 
Michelle and I work towards a common spot in the pattern prior to meeting each week.  If I work hard (and get done with my re-knitting after knitting back), then I tend to pick up another project.  Can you believe I am looking at other sweaters already? I have so much yarn set aside for projects, and I would love to have at least two sweaters done before winter sets in.  I think it's a reasonable goal... if I don't have to knit back too much ; )
Friends, what do you currently have on your needles? Let me know!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Failure

Friends, the failure of a sewing project is enough to damage sewing motivation for weeks.

During the wonderful adventure that was Me Made May, I decided that I needed more tops in my wardrobe.  I wanted tops that could be worn with my Simplicity 3688 trousers, as well as with jeans when I wanted to go out on the weekends.  When I found the below mail order pattern at an antique fair, I thought that I could make every version in multiple fabrics and be set for the summer:
I have a severe weakness for the remnant bin at the Textile Discount Outlet in Pilsen, and when I stumbled on an animal-like print, I snatched it up in a moment.  I cut out the square necked blouse gleefully, thinking how fabulous it would pair with my black Simplicity 3688 trousers, but that is where the good thoughts ended.
This fabric was SLIPPERY. I was determined to French seam everything possible to reduce the fraying, so this added to the frustration and time consumed by this project.
The fabric held a few surprises ... like a large fraying hole, right under the neckline.  I don't know when it appeared, but there it was.  If I touched it, the threads reached out like tentacles and the area grew.  It was amazing (and completely discouraging) to watch.

I top-stitched around the neckline to hold the facing in place, as well as stabilize the area as much as possible.  No good.  It still spread. I knew it would not last the first laundry day it encountered. 
I decided I at least wanted to rock the blouse once, and do it somewhere fantastic.  Dinner with friends, or the like.  I also decided to use it as a learning experience since I had FINALLY gotten an invisible zipper foot.
(I know, I know.  Don't judge me.)

So the time came to complete the last steps and put the blouse on ...
 and it was so huge, it immediately started falling off my shoulders.  Whaaaa?  Did it magically grow on my dress form? Did I not adjust the size enough when I cut it out? 

Regardless of how it became too big, it was too big and the first time wearing it was less than exciting.  I wore a cardigan all day because the neckline gaped so much and the blouse kept falling off my shoulders. Once I got home, I threw it in a pile, where it stayed until I decided to take these pictures.

Since dealing with this fabric and pattern, I haven't been much in the mood to sew.  Lately, I've been watching lots of PBS with my roommate and hanging out with my friends, which has been completely fantastic and relaxing. It's also been a great way to avoid the pile of projects I want to make and am hesitant to mess up.  I'm hoping that attending a theme party this weekend (1940s!) will inspire me to whip out my Ginghers and get to work. Who knows? You may see a fabulous dress with pink steins all over it next week :)
Friends, what do you do to recover from a failure? Does it completely kill your sewing mojo?
Much love and many hugs to all of you, especially everyone attending MPB this coming weekend!  Have a marvelous time!