Tag Archive | different

Bad Habits – Cutting Corners And Skipping Steps

'Gee, I don't know. Can I see this in another mirror?'

I did something that I have not done in at least 15 years. I went to the store, picked out 6 pairs of denim pants in my size, took them to the fitting room, tried each pair on, selected the pair that had the most acceptable fit of the six, then purchased that pair of pants. This experience got me thinking about several things.

First, why was I buying Ready To Wear (RTW) pants?

As you can tell from the recent slow down in the frequency of my blog posts, life happens, and the only sewing that I have been able to do recently is a little mending here and there. Thankfully I knew quite awhile ago just when these life changes were coming.

life-change-aheadBecause of that I took the precious little sewing time that I still had left to make myself a couple of new pairs of work pants, but I did not get a pair of casual denim pants made before my time ran out. At the time, this was fine. It was still summer, and I was wearing shorts on my days off, but it’s starting to get colder now, and I need long pants to wear most days. Because of this I had to make a decision, either quickly whip up a pair of denim pants cutting as many corners as possible to save time, or to head to the store to  purchase a pair of denim pants. I choose the later.

My  first thought when I decided to purchase a pair of pants instead of making them was the famous minion refrain ”WWHHAATTT?!?” “You’re a seamstress! You have the tools, the fabric, and the notions! Get your butt in there and sew yourself a new pair of pants!”

'I knew there was part of the pattern missing!'

But, with the very little time that I had available to make the pants, I would have had to cut every corner possible to get them done in time. I would not have washed and pre-shrunk the fabric. I would not have finished the seams properly or completely, and I wouldn’t hem the pants to the proper length either. I would have just rolled the hem under and hope that it stayed with a quick ironing or a big safety pin.

This lead my next thought to be, “Is this really the way you want to sew something? Do you want to do a poor sewing job just to get the item done in the time you have available?” The answer was easy for me. No! I did not want to wear a pair of pants that were sewn that way!

deadlines-1p2cpw7There was a time long ago when I first started sewing that I sewed only for the end result, regardless of how poor of a job that I did. When I first started sewing, my mom, who is a advanced and skilled seamstress, trying to encourage me, would say, “Oh, it should only take 30 minutes for you to make that t-shirt”, or “You’ll have that dress whipped up in an hour.” She was trying to let me know that sewing was fun, quick and easy and, in no time at all that I would have a finished wearable item.

But, I misinterpreted my mom words at the time! I made sewing a timed event. When it took me 2 days instead of 2 hours to sew something, I figured I was a failure and that I was doing something wrong, so to compensate I would try to sew the item too quickly, cut corners, and skip steps to complete the project in the allotted time.

02d0fcf10d4a027a72e27973cf29abc7My goal was only to get the item finished in the proper amount of time. When I finally figured out that every sewing project did not have a deadline, and that I could take the time that I needed to complete a project properly, I enjoyed sewing a lot more. Sewing became fun and I began to enjoy the process, plus my finished items were of a much higher quality and they wore a lot better.

Another reason that I was willing to cut corners and skip steps to get the finished item completed quickly, was that when I was first starting to sew I grew tired and bored of a project. I just wanted it to be done and over with so that I could start on another project. I would often say “I should really unpick this and sew this again, but I’m not going to. I will just do better on the next project.” I quickly learned that when I did this, I was not pleased with the finished item, and I was not enjoying the sewing process at all because I knew I could have sewn it better.

SLIGHTLY Irregular Designer Jeans.

So, when it came to going back to poor sewing habits just to complete a pair of pants, I decided that I would rather use the little time I had to carefully sew a few seams on a current project, or thoughtfully plan a future project, or, if I just needed to sew,  I would just make a baby sleeper or two. For a needed pair of pants though, I would just see what the Ready To Wear world had available for me instead. I would leave the poor sewing in my past.

Hopefully, life will change again soon, and I will have more sewing time available to me in the future!

Until then, sew forth and enjoy the process on!

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Happy Easter

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With Easter being so early this year, I had decided early on to not make any amigurumi’s for the holiday this year. But when I came across the pattern for these googly eyed easter eggs and bunny, I changed my mind. This project became a must do for some reason! I just fell in love with the pictures on the pattern and I could not wait to make my own eggs and bunny.

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The pattern said to use a size 3 hook, but you know me, I used my favorite size 4 or G hook instead. But who cares if they are a little bit bigger than the pattern called for? Not me! In fact, “who cares” became the theme of this project. Who cares if the bunny is a little lope sided? Who cares if the eyes are a little bit crooked? Who cares if the smiles are off slightly from the eyes? These little guys were supposed to be lop sided, and crooked and off center. That’s what makes them so much fun! And, that is what made them so much fun for me to crochet and stitch up.

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These guys did end up being a little time consuming in the end though. Crocheting the pieces and stuffing them were no big deal but the small details on them did take some time to finish. They have a lot of small felt pieces that need to be cut out and glued on. After I had cut out all the felt eyes, eyebrows, nose and teeth, I invited the husband to a glue party and he helped me to glue all the felt pieces onto these guys in one go. I could have used safety eyes instead of felt but since it is a meant for a decoration, and not a toy for a child, I decided on the felt. Plus with felt eyes I could make the eyes different sizes and shapes and make everything look just the way I wanted.

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So what do you think? Have you fallen in love with these crazy googly eyed easter decorations like I did?

Monsters In The Puddin’

“I think it needs a little more puddin’.” is a phrase the husband hears often from me as I stuff my amigurumi projects. I always thought stuffing was stuffing, so when I saw some on sale at M&L fabric, I picked up a couple of extra bags, but as I finished the last bag purchased at Joann’s and opened the bag from M&L, I quickly learned that all stuffing is not the same and the technique for stuffing with the different stuffings is unique to the type of stuffing being used.

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The brand of stuffing I have purchased previously from Joann’s is Polyfil brand. It is light and fluffy but a bit grainy. You can feel the fibers. It has always worked well for me and my amigurumi’s seem soft enough when using it. The brand from M&L is Hobbs Simply Stuffing. It is a bonded fiber and fills just like a cotton ball, very soft but much heavier compared to Polyfil. Thinking that stuffing is stuffing, I opened the Simply Stuffing bag and started to stuff my latest amigurumi project, some little monsters, with it.

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I quickly learned that stuffing with the Simply Stuffing required a different technique than stuffing with the Polyfil. I started to push the Simply Stuffing into the monsters as I would have when using the Polyfil and the results were terribly lumpy. I learned that the Simply Stuffing had to be pulled apart more before pushing it into the amigurumi, and that stuffing with smaller pieces worked better. I then got out my chop sticks. I have used the chop sticks when stuffing with Polyfil to help get the stuffing into smaller pieces like arms and legs, but would not have used it with as large an opening as the monsters had. But, I needed the chop sticks with the Simply Stuffing to work same pieces of the stuffing deep into the monster to smooth out the lumps. With these techniques, I was able to stuff the monsters using the Simply Stuffing and get the results that I wanted. Even though the Simply Stuffing is softer with a less grainy feel than the Polyfil, the finished monster did not seem any softer than my other amigurumi’s stuffed with Polyfil.

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With the stuffing done, I went about creating my monster’s mouth. I threaded my yarn needle with six strands of black embroidery floss and started to stitch. This was not working out well at all. When I pulled my needle through the Simply Stuffing, it left a hole so the embroidery floss just pulled right though it. The Polyfil did not make these holes and seems to grab the floss and keep it from pulling out. I knotted the floss and tried again but it just pulled through again, so I double knotted the floss but again I had no luck. It finally dawned on me that whatever thread I used to make the mouth with was going to have to be thicker than the needle pulling it through. So, I tested out my theory. I got a thin sewing needle out rather than my large yarn needle and threaded the sewing needle with the six strands of embroidery floss. (Now, that was a chore.) I knotted the floss and pulled it through the monster. It worked. The hole that the needle made was smaller than the knot so the knot held and I was able to stitch the mouth on the monster. To test my theory further, I threaded my yarn needle with yarn, knotted the end and pulled it through the monster. It held because the knot in the yarn was bigger than the eye of the needle. The husband liked the yarn mouths better than the floss mouths on the variegated yarn so I left the monster’s the with thick yarn smiles.

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Now some words about the pattern. This was a free pattern that I found on Ravelry. It crocheted up very quickly, in less than an hour. The time and thought comes in as you design your monsters features. The possibilities are limitless. Do you want a happy or mean monster? Boy or girl? One eye, or two or three? Teeth or no teeth? hair? bows? eyebrows? eyelashes? and so on. I enjoyed creating these monsters and would happily make more but then what do I do with them once they are completed? Any suggestions?

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So, a simple amigurumi turned into a major stuffing lesson, but a lesson that needed to be learned and will make me a better stuffer in the future. And, although I feel confident using either brand of stuffing, at the moment, I like the Polyfil the best. I will finish up using the bag of Simply Stuffing first, but when it is gone I will go back to Polyfil.