Tag Archive | flaw

Down In The Southwest

DSCN4029Waste not, want not, but as you know there is more to it when it comes to fabric scraps and remnants. It’s the challenge of making something from nothing and the creativity of making it work that gets you to use those scraps and to buy those fabric remnants from the bargain bin at the fabric store.

It was this challenge and creativity that got me to begin my latest sewing project.

DSCN4027I saw this southwest print in a stack of discounted flat fold fabrics and I just fell in love with it. I love the bright colors on the black background and the fabric has a nice weight and feel to it. But, there was just a little over a yard left. What could I make from that? The fabric would be ideal for me a shirt, but could I figure out how to piece it together with other pieces of fabric to make me a shirt? Color blocking ideas swirled in my head so I quickly purchased the piece of southwest print fabric and brought it home!

DSCN4033With a color blocking design in mind, I dug through the stash and found several pieces of fabric that I could put together with the southwest print to make me a shirt, but the deep blood red piece that I found was by far my favorite. But, as I went to cut the shirt out, I noticed that the red piece of fabric was terribly flawed.

What was such a flawed piece of fabric even doing in the stash?

I returned to the stash to select a different piece of fabric to use with the southwest print but now I did not like any of my other choices. I thought about going back to the fabric store to look for more red fabric but I was too disappointed to go. I took another look at the flaws in the red fabric to see if I could work around them. How could I make it work the way it was? After much thought, I came up with a new color block design that should work, but I would have to cut the southwest print perpendicular to the grain line.

Would it be ok to cut against the grain?

DSCN4022After much studying and reading about grain lines, grain, cross grain, welt and warp threads, I decided that yes it would be ok to cut my fabric perpendicular to the grain line as long as I was careful to cut on the cross grain just as I would be careful to cut on the grain line. At this point after fully researching the issue, it was finally time to cut the fabric.

The cutting process started with tracing my pattern and then cutting out new pieces for the color blocking. This took time and thought. I had to decide where I wanted the seams to be, add some seam allowances and then reshape the armscye and hem. With the new pattern pieces created, it was time to cut. I carefully cut the front and back pieces perpendicular to the grain line from the southwest print and the I carefully placed and cut my new side pattern pieces and sleeves around the flaws of the red pieces of fabric. With the pieces all cut out, it was time to sew.

DSCN4023The sewing process was going along smoothly until I noticed the flaw of the red fabric in the center of one of the sleeves. I thought I had cut so carefully around the flaws but I guess that I had not. I had no more non-flawed red fabric to cut out another sleeve with. Could I just pretend the flaw was not there? No, I would never wear the shirt with the flawed sleeve. Hmm, I wondered. Could I cover up the flaw with a little embroidery? Yes, that would work!

I picked a lizard embroidery design and some bright colors to match the southwest print and embroidered the design on the sleeve to cover up the flaw and it worked great! You can still see the flaw, but your eye is now attracted to the embroidery design instead of the flaw so no one ever notices it. Showing the husband my embroidery solution, he suggested embroidering another lizard on the other sleeve to balance out the design. So, I picked some more bright colors and embroidered another lizard on the other arm. With the lizard designs embroidered on each sleeve, it did not take long to complete the hems and sew on some bright southwest looking buttons to complete the shirt.

DSCN4026I was a little apprehensive about wearing this shirt at first with its bright colors and it’s multiple embroidery designs, but it did not take long to fall in love with the shirt. It is a lot of fun to wear! The color blocking, bright colors, and the embroidered designs make it highly unique. This shirt also fits well. The alterations to the pattern for the color blocking did not affect the fit.

I am very pleased with this shirt and have already worn it several times. I am now excited to make more projects with lots of color blocking and embroidery designs but minus the flawed fabric.

Until then, sew forth and lizard on!

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A Comedy of Errors

Oh yes, a grand comedy of errors that in the end left me not feeling very humorous.

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IMG_0002As I mentioned before in a previous blog post, I wanted to make my Simplicity 2771pajamas with piping pattern, one more time to help me retain what I had learned from the first pair of pajamas I made from it and also to try some variations on the pattern. Also, I wanted this version to have shorts instead of long pants and short sleeves instead of long sleeves as my previous project had, and since adding piping to Simplicity 3897 didn’t accomplish this, I decided to start by altering the original pieces of Simplicity 2771 to get what I wanted.

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I started this project off by selecting the fabric. Since this was going to be another trial of this pattern, I picked a piece of brushed tricot that was actually in my donation box and on its way to be donated. After a trip through the washer and dryer, I laid that fabric and pattern out to be cut. While trying to decided where to cut the pants off at to make shorts, the thought struck me that I have some really nice kid’s shorts patterns. So why was I fussing about with trying to modify a pattern? Instead I grabbed my Kwik-Sew kids book, traced and cut out the pattern for a pair of size 4 shorts. At this point in the project is where the errors started to occur.

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Error #1

P1030353I decided to try my luck again and I made my piping from a piece of fabric not cut on the bias. It worked ok the last time I did it, but I know one of these times it is not going to. The piece of green cotton I wanted to use to make the piping was just 1/8 of a yard so it wasn’t really big enough to be cut on the bias for the piping even if I had wanted to. But not cutting on the bias was not my error. The error came when I finished stitching the green cotton around the cording and then realized that I had only made the piece of piping long enough for one side of the shirt. I then cut more of the green cotton to make more piping for the shirt, but I really hated to just throw away the first piece of piping. I then had the brilliant idea to add the piping to the side seams of the shorts instead. Since I was using my Kwik-Sew pattern which has a side seam instead of the pattern from Simplicity 2771 that does not have a side seam, it would be easy to add the piping to the shorts. Or at least that was what I thought.

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Error #2

P1030343Because the side seams are straight, the piping sewed in easily, but unlike on the shirt, there is no facing to hide the inside edge of the piping. Without piping, I would have just serged the side seams to finish off the seams, so I decided that should work ok with the piping. As I worked to feed the piping through the serger, I did not notice that the bottom of the shorts had folded over until I saw the serger cutting off the fold. By this time I had cut a nice hole in the back of the leg right beside the side seam. This hole is labeled error #2 for this project. I unpicked the serging, ironed some iron on tape to patch up the hole and then darned it. It is on the back of the leg and does not look too bad, and since this is just a trial run of the pattern I decided to continue on with the shorts.

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Error #3

P1030346Tired and a little flustered from the the whole “hole” experience, I was done sewing for awhile and I reached up to close my blinds. Instead of watching what I was doing, I gave the cords of the blind a tug and tangled the cords of the blind up with my serger thread. I tried to untangle them but they were knotted together tight. I got the blind’s cords untangled enough to finish closing the blinds but the serger thread was now a total mess and I was in no mood to rethread my serger, so I said to myself that that would be the first project that I would tackle the next day. As you can guess, when I returned to my serger the next day, I forgot about the knotted thread problem, and focusing on serging the side seam and feeding the piping through the serger. As I serged the side seams together I got a total mess. Since this was the second time I had serged this same seam, I decided just to let the messed up serged seam be broken on this part of shorts.

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Error #4

P1030351I finished the elastic and the hems with no problems until I noticed the way the piping was laid. As I always do, I stitched the side seams at the waist and the hem so they lay towards the back of the shorts. This is how it is supposed to be without the piping but doing this with the piping caused the piping to lay forward. This makes the shorts look backwards. But I really did not have it in me to unpick the hems and the waist to fix this problem. So, I did not and I left it as it was as well.

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I have at this point finally declared the shorts finished and I am now ready to move on to the shirt. But. even with all their errors, I feel that these shorts are certainly wearable. They are certainly not my best sewing job but they are good enough for a trial run, and as always, I have learned from my mistakes. Hopefully, I will not have the same types of errors with the construction of the shirt.

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It just goes to show you that no matter how smug you get and how great of a seamstress you think you are, you still have a lot to learn. Just like all of the contestants on the Great British Sewing Bee series that recently aired on the BBC, you can always be humbled by the seemingly simplest of things that you thought you knew backwards and forwards.

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And that is why my motto is SEW FORTH AND SEW ON!

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Until next time! Happy stitchings to you and yours!