Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Problem (s) solved!

Sometimes, completing a garment, or project, doesn't mean your are done working on it. (Sewing is kind of like husbands that way.) Such was the case with these two items.

The knit top is made of a cuddly, albeit bulky-ish bamboo. I love the colour, and the feel, but the pattern I chose had a little idiosyncrasy: the front facing would NOT stay put. I graded the seam, and understitched it, of course, but it persisted in rolling out at inopportune moments. I considered many possible solutions, but the best seemed to be the easiest -- stitch alongside the tucks through all layers of fabric.
I'm not sure I should have liked this solution had it been made of a print, or a woven-in design -- I might have felt that the extra stitching was too busy -- but perfectly matched silk thread atop a solid-coloured fabric is just the thing. I actually like the looks better, now. Win, win!!

Fixing this skirt was a little trickier, and far more frustrating.
When I finished this skirt I was very happy with it. I wore it frequently with several different tops, blouses and jackets. For an atypical design, and busy print, it is surprisingly versatile. Yes, I was very happy with it -- until the zipper burst as I was putting it on last week. For this fix, a replacement zipper should have been all that was needed; and would have been, if a simple replacement is what I had done. Oh, no. I had to get creative!
Originally, I had installed the zipper, then assembled the lining, and attached it at the waist, hand-stitching the opening at the zipper to the zipper tape. Pretty standard stuff.
However, that hand-stitching was pretty labour-intensive, as the zipper tape is quite stiff. So, this time around, I decided to overcast the skirt opening and the lining fabric as one. That part worked great. But it left me with an inch at the waist on either side of the zipper that was, well -- ugly. Really, really ugly.
I tried all sorts of folding, trimming, turning under and stitching, and each maneuver made the problem uglier. I finally gave up and went to bed, deciding that I should either re-do the whole thing [horrible thought!!!], or resign myself to only wearing it with blouses untucked to cover it.
Laying in bed, fighting Fergus and Max for space (The cats won't sleep with each other, but they both want to sleep with me. Just my luck -- two guys fighting to sleep with me, and they are both neutered.), the solution came to me:
I could sew buttons on either side of the zipper top, and connect them with a little piece of elastic. All sewn by machine, the fix took less than 5 minutes to execute. Yippee!!!
Now I can wear this skirt with any kind of top I please! Although, I kind of like the looks of my fix, and will probably wear it only with blouses I can tuck in.
Which means I shan't be wearing it with the coral bamboo top I made to wear with it, as it isn't quite long enough to stay tucked.

s * i * g * h

Good thing I like a challenge!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It adds up to Quilting


It has been a while since I have blogged. Some of you may have thought that I quit sewing. au contraire. I was working on a project that is intended to be a surprise for my husband, who occasionally see my blog posts when they are cross-posted on Facebook; and, since the surprise is for him - I couldn't risk ruining it.

Most quilts have a story, a reason (a rationale, if you will) that the artist chose to create that quilt, with those fabrics, in those colours at that time. While I believe that "I wanted to" is reason enough to start ripping fabric, this quilt does have more of a story.

My husband teaches High School Math - brilliantly, I am told. A month or so ago, he was notified that he is receiving an award for his endeavors. One of his students was given the assignment (in AP English) to write an essay chronicling a person of influence in his life. He wrote about David. The English teacher submitted his name for the award, and a committee of august School Board members concurred. I should note that David, a retired Green Beret, who spent 2.5 years in Iraq post-retirement, and only finished college recently, while convalescing from injuries sustained in Iraq; has only been teaching for 3 years. This is his 1st year at this High School. Yes -- I am understandably proud of him!

When David told me about the award, I wanted to commemorate it, somehow. I remembered that he has a favorite saying, "We all use Math every day." He has this saying on a small sign in his classroom, (a bumper sticker, actually), but it is getting quite faded. I wanted him to have something more permanent, and bigger. So, with the combined help of my Elna embroidery machine, my Pfaffie, outfitted with 1/4in guide and walking foot, and the staff at Carthage's own, The Whistling Chicken [thanks, Diana!!!], I eventually produced this banner.

It not only features David's favorite saying, but I incorporated as many mathematical examples as I could. Featured in the piecework are: right angles, isosceles triangles, right triangles, rectangles representing 2:1, 2.5:1, 3:1, 3:2, 3:1.5 proportions, and squares. There are arcs in some of the stitching.

I'm giving it to him tonight, just before the Banquet. What do you think???

Fergus likes it.