Friday, July 13, 2007

Adventures in Sewing

Since I have been feeling ambivalent about knitting, I have decided to work on another craft: sewing.

I'm a beginner sewer seamstress. Last summer, I sewed a dress with the help of my mom while she was visiting Chicago. It was at that time that I bought my first sewing machine. Since then, I have made one skirt. Which really doesn't make up for the cost of the machine. So, I've been wanting to sew more. Then, a few weeks ago, I went clothes shopping. It was a less than pleasant experience. I have come to the conclusion that in order to buy clothes that fit me, I will either have to lose 30 pounds or gain 30 pounds (because, I had no luck at Lane Bryant, either, though it did make me feel skinnier). At the time, I dreamed of creating a new line of clothing stores called, "Just Average," or "In the Middle" for women like me who are not lithe little stick figures, but are also too small to fit into "Women's" clothing. However, given my current time constraints and the fact that I have virtually no sewing skills and absolutely no designing skills, I decided the better approach would be to make as many of my own clothes as possible.

This is easier said than done (see: Beginner Seamstress).

Currently, I am working on a sleeveless, collared button-down shirt with bust darts. So far, after many, many hours of work, I have:

  • Figured out the best way to cut out the pieces since it was NOT the way the pattern suggested
  • Cut everything out
  • Read the directions for ironing on the interfacing several times
  • Disintegrated the interfacing when the iron touched it directly, ripped off that interfacing
  • Cut out and ironed on more interfacing
  • Sewed the shoulder seams
  • Finished the edges of the shoulder seams
  • Put in the bust darts
  • Tried on the proto-shirt (this involved pinning the sides together, too, and the facing on the inside so that it would hang approximately like the finished product), realized the bust darts ended exactly on my nipples such that it looked like I had pointy breasts
  • Took out the bust darts and put them in again, shorter this time
  • Tried on shirt again only to find that by making the darts shorter it changed how the shirt layed such that the darts were pointing at my waist
  • Spent a heck of a lot of time trying to figure out how I could mark where the "fullest part" of my "bust" was without having permanant dots on the shirt over my nipples and settled for pins
  • Spent even more time in front of the mirror making sure I had the pins on the "fullest part" of my "bust" so I could aim the darts in the proper direction
  • Took out the too low darts and put in darts that actually fit right.
  • Tried on the shirt again. Victory! I made darts that point at my nipples--hooray!
  • Sewed the pieces of the collar together
  • Spent a very long time staring at the pattern trying to figure out how the hell I was supposed to put this collar on the shirt (I need more explanation of what those figures mean, please!)
  • Basted the collar on the shirt backwards such that the seam allowances were facing the right side
  • Ripped out the basting and re-basted it
  • Pinned the collar to the facing and sewed the seam to attach the collar to the shirt
  • Looked it over, didn't like the way the collar seam looked and ripped it out.
I should probably mention they bill this as a "Quick and Easy" pattern. I'm sure it is for someone who's been sewing for awhile, but for me, not so much. The collarless proto-shirt has been hanging in my hall closet since Wednesday. I may be ready to work on it again tonight. I think I can devote 3 hours to it in which time I hope to attach the collar.

Can't wait to get to the buttonholes!

In knitting news, I need to knit 0.5 inches on the foot of the 1st Sockapalooza sock and then I can start the heel (I'm knitting it toe-up). I have decided that I'm going to knit each foot up to the heel, then do the heels, then knit both legs at the same time and stop when 1) I run out of yarn or 2) I run out of time, whichever comes first. Sadly, although I like the feel of the Panda Cotton, I don't so much like knitting with it because it has a tendency to split. On the other hand, it's one of the few cotton sock yarns out there that doesn't have wool in it. And since one of these days I'm hoping to move to California, I don't so much want socks with wool in them. Yeah, I know I'll be visiting cold places, but I probably won't need 20 pairs of socks for those visits (I can just see it now, I change socks twice everyday so I can get through them all when I'm visiting Iowa or Boston). And it does come in a nice range of colors, soooo, I probably will still knit with it a lot, or at least something else comes along that I like better.

1 comment:

  1. I admire your determination. That shirt and all its accessories would be in the dumpster if it were my project.