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Sewing with less stress Front
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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Found them

Between paper marking I walked around my sewing room and found where I had hidden my missing pair of gift socks from myself.

Literally had to retrace my steps. There is too much random stuff flying around in my head this week and bouncing off the inside of my brain.

So here they are, evidence that I just don't watch the news ...

They are actually more or less the same size - I think it is the angle of the shot that makes the one in the foreground look larger.

Back to papers.

What's also going on

The calendar is telling me this morning that once again I am not going to fulfill the resolution I made last December 25th at about 11:00 p.m. to be more organized this Christmas. 

I will be lucky to get my marks in and next term ready by then and at least two of my white shirts done.

One thing I have been doing is knitting for a bit in the evenings. My idea is to try and make one home-made thing to go with the bought presents at least. Here are the socks I have made for my 11 year old niece:

And the scarf I started last night while I was watching Dancing with the Stars (my mom called me especially to make sure I didn't miss it - they are all super indignant about Bristol Palin - with Sarah strategically posed behind the judges so she is in the shots - will some one please pack up that crew and send them home- permanently) for my 10 year old niece Sophia who is still in the pink and purple stage.

I also made some really nice socks for my daughter but I can't show you those. 

I put them away in a safe place so she wouldn't find them in case she came over and started looking around my sewing room and I can't find them anywhere.

Not anywhere. 

I do this all the time before Christmas, hide things away and then end up hiding things only from myself. I have torn the place apart this morning and all I can say is that they must be in a really safe place.

Busy day today, will have another go later.

I have yet more marking to do and am on alert for the mailman. My daughter is having trouble finding a snow suit for the baby - she is a size 2 at top and a size 3 at the bottom (see how young this nonsense starts?) that is warm enough.

So I have volunteered to "whip one up" and am waiting on patterns from both Jalie and MacPhee Workshops so I can get started. Which ever one comes first is the one I am cutting.

In the meantime the Case of the Missing Christmas Socks is going to bug me.

Shirt thoughts

Thank you to all of you who left sympathetic comments about my collar stand.

The interesting thing about this focus on white shirts only is that I am thinking a little deeper about the details rather than going on to the next thing like I usually do.

I have decided to do a collar band only shirt next and to try out Gigi's method . It seems to me that her system focuses on my area of difficulty and it would be interesting to see if that helps.

I am also considering the issue of interfacing, I used a sew-in woven, narrower seam allowances (I trimmed them down but obviously working with a narrower seam allowance to start with might make things easier to manipulate) and how much I need to topstitch.

I have had a good look at the wide presser foot on my Pfaff 7570 and the wide opening in it that is used to accommodate the 9 mm. zig zag. Of course the kind of control I need around that tiny curve at the front of the band is hard to achieve with this much open space in the throat plate, I suspect a straight stitch plate and a straight stitch foot, both of which would increase the proportion of metal holding down the fabric, would help. I should probably get one each of those. In the meantime I might try my grandmother's Featherweight which has a lovely straight stitch.

We're not resting until we get this collar issue dealt with, or at least I'm not.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not my best work, but who said I was perfect?

I am very pleased with the progress of my first shirt blouse after a husband-going-away-sick-dog-70-papers -to-mark few weeks. 

The fit is perfect. My square shoulder alteration combined with the D cup sizing built into the pattern seem to be a combination that works for me without much alteration intelligence on my part. This is a combination I will look for in future.

I was worried, and rightly so, about the collar on a stand. I have made these before with mixed results and this time I followed Pam's highly recommended method . 

Check Pam's instructions out if you want to see a skilled professional doing a slick treatment that turns out perfectly.

If you want to see how imperfect me executed this take a look here:

This is actually my worst side of the collar but it makes my point.

This method has you sew the collar to the band, stitch the under side of the band to the shirt, and topstitch the band down. 

It should work. 

You can see however that I had the problems I expected which were about that pile up of fabric layers at the spot where the front of the shirt and the collar band meet. I figure there are about six layers happening here in about a 1/4" space.

This is the kind of sewing challenges that you can pull off if   you have a lucky day, but you can't call on lucky days to happen just because you want them to,

What you see here all looked fine at the pressing, getting ready to sew stage, but once that needle and presser foot started happening things moved around. I also tried very hard to get a nice edge stitch going on around the curve and that too is pretty iffy.

Which brings me to a large and universal question. Why do some methods work for so well for some sewers and not for others?

I have run into this before. Approaches that some sewers swear by that I can't get to work for me. Serging on clear elastic would be in the category for me, for instance. When I try that the stuff gets sliced to nothing and then sprongs around the room.

So this approach to attaching the collar, where basically the collar/band is just supposed to slip on, makes sense but requires some careful work in small spaces.

I usually don't do to well in confined spaces.

So next shirt up I am going to try another approach. And after that probably another one. One of my goals with this is to get this whole collar thing to a point that I can rely on myself to do this so it turns out, without a lot of angst.

It is a question of finding a way to do this that is compatible with how I work as a sewer. 

Right now I suspect the method that has you attach the band first and then slip in the collar has potential. This is the burrito system David Coffin uses and I have in my book Sewing Magic which he worked from too. Might do that next, we will see.

In the meantime I am going to finish this shirt and treat it as what it was, a learning experience. Chances are the general public is not going to see this collar glitch quite the way I do.

We all know this blog is not one of those that you go to for ohs and ahs. I love those blogs and you know which ones - they give me something to aim for, but it does record the struggles of someone who loves to sew and is just trying to get better.

I am reminded too about an older woman who inspected something I had made, with great effort, in one sewing class.

"Don't worry dear," she said, patting my arm. "Only God is perfect."

Well who can argue with that one?