Friday, 29 January 2010

Lessons learned

I have a friend who sits next to me in my sewing class who is a complete novice. She constantly makes me laugh because she is always ooohing and aaahing at our projects and proclaiming that she doesn't know how we do it and that she'll never be able to be 'as good' as we are. On Wednesday night she leaned over to me and asked me why I bother to come to the class because there is surely nothing more that I can learn. How wrong she is (!) and Wednesday night proved the point. I took along my red tunic which I had just started to make. It's a pattern I haven't used before, but is really quite simple - Butterick 5363, View C (bottom left).

You basically sew the top half first and then attach the skirt, making a casing for the tie as you do so. As it's a summer item, the top isn't lined, it just has a binding around the neck and arm edges. Now, thinking I was being rather brilliant, I decided to make my own binding from my material (brainwave!). I pieced together a long strip of fabric and set about machine sewing it to the neck edge (right side to right side). Then I could turn it over and hand sew to finish on the wrong side. The result was a very crumpled binding that did not sit flat, but instead stood up and refused to flatten, even with lots of ironing. It looked dreadful (I'm sorry I don't have a photo, but I assure you, it was a real pig's ear of a job). I couldn't understand where I had gone wrong as I had followed the pattern to the letter.

Luckily, my fabulous teacher Margaret knew exactly what to do. Had I cut the binding on the bias? Err, no. And of course in that moment, the penny instantly dropped as to why it is called BIAS binding. Doh! I re-did the entire thing, this time cutting my strips on the bias and hey presto, as you can see above, a perfectly flat neck edge! Absolutely amazing. Of course, cutting on the bias gives the material the little bit of 'give' that is required to ease the binding round the curves. So, my dear classroom friend, there is ALWAYS something to learn in this game!

Speaking of which, did I say that the cable pattern I was doing was quite simple? Um, yes, well ... that is unless you are not concentrating and trying to watch EastEnders at the same time. As I finished a row and glanced down to admire my work, I realised I had 2 unders, instead of an under and an over. Oh dear. At first I thought, don't worry, no-one is going to notice (or care), but the older I get the more of a perfectionist I seem to be becoming and I simply could not continue with a clear conscience. So, 8 rows were frogged and I started again, this time with full concentration!

My other mistake appears to be starting with a front piece, which, ironically, I have never done before, but I wanted to have a crack at the cable. Now that I am past the armhole, the pattern says to continue straight until the front measures 21 rows less than the back. Which is quite hard to do when you haven't done the back yet. Again, doh! Backs are pretty boring though ususally, aren't they, and also big. Ah well, you live and learn, as they say, you live and learn.

So today I think I may get on with the tunic. I am feeling slightly under the weather with a chest cold, so a bit of sewing therapy and lots of hot drinks are in order. Oooh, and I've just remembered that there may be a little Amazon goodness on its way today - hurrah! Of course I shall share it with you when it arrives. Until then, enjoy your day!

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    Thanks for visiting me!!
    I count myself as a novice person? I'm like your sewing class awe of other people's makes...including your lovely!!
    I fear I may not have the patience to make a big quilt!!!
    Love the dinosaur sandwich chopper..I'm a non crust don't force my boys...they'd love shaped sarnies(even the teens!!)..are they available online do you know???