Monday, August 09, 2010

Sew What! Learning Curve

Okay, vent-a-thon is over.

Let me tell you about my sewing obsession! I am sewing a skirt from the book Sew What! Skirts. I thought it would be a simple way to wrap my head around sewing with a machine. Patterns intimidate me a bit, though I'm not sure why, because I've sewn them before and they have directions.

This book makes sewing skirts pretty much patternless (you make your own) seem so easy. And well, they are easy, it's not rocket science. Or so you'd think...

My first one has been a really learning experience in so many ways. I've learned how to un-jam my sewing machine from many angles! I've learned how to put in a zipper and that measurements are deceiving. Also, that I probably don't have any business in short skirts. Oh! And that stitch length is very important, especially when you need to rip them out. If you sew with teeny-tiny stitches (even if not on purpose) they are very hard to remove.

I've also learned that when you practice what you need to know with test strips of fabric, everything will go the way it's supposed to, but when you go to do it on a real piece of fabric, something may go wrong.

The zipper was fun. It seems to me that I've read in a couple places that you can put the zipper in from the inside-out or by top-stitching it from the outside-in. This makes total sense, but it is definitely easier to stitch right onto the zipper than to guess where the zipper is just from lame-o markings on the other side. These particular machine jams were the most fun to fix, let me tell you.

Also, I added "ease" to my measurements, which didn't really work out. Since my waist and hips are nearly the same measurement, I removed the ease on the waist, but it was a big mistake to remove it from the hips. This is where I discovered my seam length error!

All in all, I think it's going pretty well. I still have to add the facing and hem it up, but I count it as nearly done. It's only taken me a good two days whereas someone who was a little more skilled - or up to speed - would have been done in probably an hour. Maybe two. (The extra time was split between un-jamming the machine and walking away in frustration.)

I'm inspired and impressed with how it's turning out. Taking the basting stitches out to reveal the zipper to actually use it was the most rewarding part so far. I'll post a picture of it when I'm done. Probably.


hokgardner said...

I took sewing lessons in high school and made my own clothes for a while. My mom, grandmother and I all worked together to make me a prom dress one time.

But if asked to sew now, I'd be a complete failure. I'd like to do it again, but I have neither the space or the motivation - or the sewing machine.

I have a good friend who sews though, which is almost as good. I knit stuff for her, and she sews stuff for me.

ckh said...

That sounds like a great trade-off. I've always been very envious of your knitting. I've never been able to knit more than a few row at a time and if I go too long in between, I need to be taught how to do it all over again. Forget making socks.

In high school I took shop classes and built a wooden bench and a night light. In hindsight, home ec would have been a much better way to go. I still can't cook

ckh said...

Hide me from the grammar and punctuation police!