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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Beginner's report ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Beginner's report
(guaranteed to brighten the spirits of other rookies)
solveg
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solveg  Friend of PR
Beginner
MN USA
Member since 2/16/12
Posts: 366
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thumbsup 8 members like this.
Date: 8/5/12 10:50 AM

Sooooo.... I used to sew. I really did. I put in collars with stands, and zippers, and buttons. Really.

I joined this website in February, and I immediately jumped in and completely redrafted a simple top. Took 3 muslins, but it turned out nice.

Then I realized that this alteration thing was complex, and the first shirt turned out nice only by luck. So I got scared or something, and basically was afraid to cut anything out for (looking at date...) 4 months.

Then I bit the bullet (I guess after ordering a zillion patterns and a 2 bins worth of fabric) and started sewing things.

My first skirt, a wrap skirt, turned out great until I got to the buttonhole. My vintage machine I'm using at the cabin didn't have a buttonhole foot, which I guess I don't really need. But either my machine is broken, or.... I don't know what happened. Sometimes you just have to look the other way, like if someone passes gas in the elevator. This buttonhole ended up being 2 inches long and shaped like a swastika. I looked at it, grabbed my seam ripper and thought, "metal hook and eye" and moved on.

Then I tried to make another skirt. I carefully compared my hip measurements to the ONLY pattern out of about 100 that I bought that had it's waist at the natural waistline. I compared ease. I added inches in the waist. I put it on and it fell to the floor without touching my body.

I made it at a smaller size without adding anything. Used that muslin to cover my car.

Using my stinky-elevator face, I put the pattern it the cat's litter pan and grabbed a kwik-sew pattern with an elastic waist. I thought I'd be tricky, since it was such a basic pattern, and used some macrame stretch waistband I bought for $3. It looked wonderful, so of course I decided to cut the width in half. Now it looked like something you'd find on hospital gowns. Cut it in half again and called it done.

Skirt was awesome. Loved the skirt. Wore the skirt....which went from fitting perfectly to being a garment for an entire girls' band. The macrame waist was just not the best choice, and I learned that linen stretches.

Now I'm making a seersucker robe. Still in the Kwik-start family of patterns. Found out my seersucker was horizontal. Had to cut everything out the opposite way, which meant that I had to artificially create a bunch of folds. Then, as I start pinning the pockets on--and the pockets are easy, easy patch pockets-- the full realization of what sewing with seersucker means hits me. Hundreds and hundreds of little stripes to match.

This is when I learn my next lesson in sewing: that making a garment can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. Even these uber-easy kwik-start patterns take time and attention. OH--and even though the directions are AWESOME, you STILL HAVE TO READ THEM. I mean, really really read them. Slowly. Not reading the instructions is a great way to add some challenge to a pattern you consider too easy and beneath your dignity.

Next lesson, which I learned after putting a pin in every 3rd pin strip of a pocket and having already interfaced it and leaving only the edge that went into the seamline unfinished....KNOW WHICH SIDE OF YOUR FABRIC IS THE GOOD SIDE! Even if both sides are good, and you think it will be totally obvious while you're sewing. You THINK that the notches will keep you organized. Well, I'll tell you what happens, Missy.... you end up with two right fronts to a robe, that's what happens.

So, next lesson: IT'S USUALLY USER ERROR. After I repinned every third pinstripe and my bobbin stopped working. 1 hour later and a needle change and I'm sewing happily.

Enough of this missive. Hope this makes all my fellow newbies feel better. Off to finish that robe.

-- Edited on 8/5/12 10:56 AM --

bessiemae
bessiemae
Intermediate
OH USA
Member since 4/15/06
Posts: 267
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Date: 8/5/12 11:16 AM



I'm right there with you!

Thanks for sharing a warm, honest, and funny slice of sewist.

------
Brother Innovis NX650Q; Brother Nouvelle 1500; Brother CS6000i; Brother 1034D

rmusic1
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rmusic1
Advanced Beginner
UNITED KINGDOM
Member since 7/3/10
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Date: 8/5/12 1:24 PM

oh I am so with you on keeping track of the right and wrong side. On the one and only project I didnt add my usual square of masking tape to indicate the wrong side I lived to bitterly regret it.

It only takes a few minutes to mark all the wrong sides, it will save you SO much hassle later on. When you are tired it is amazing what you dont notice.

solveg
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solveg  Friend of PR
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MN USA
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Date: 8/5/12 1:27 PM

Masking tape!!!! Great idea!!!!

I was putting a pin in the right side, but it always fell out.

Thanks!

Miss Fairchild
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Miss Fairchild
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In reply to solveg <<


Date: 8/5/12 3:27 PM

Sometimes goofs such as what happened to your bathrobe and those stripes, are purposeful. A neat trick is when making a yoked shirt out of a stripe. You turn the yoke the other way so the stripes go horizontally; do the same with the cuffs. So all is not lost on your project.

Oh, and I so hear your pain about that buttonhole! I was working on my fancy schmancy computerized machine, trying to make buttonholes in corduroy. The machine wouldn't move due to the thickness of the corduroy, which wasn't thick compared to my other machines. Well, I took that fabric out of the machine and hand worked the buttonhole on there, reminding myself that I'm just about as "computerized" as any stinking machine that refuses to make buttonholes.

As to marking right and wrong side, masking tape is an excellent idea, however if you're working with something as delicate as silk you might not want to use that. Instead, try using a piece of soap (it washes!) or a washable fabric marker, aka "blue pen". The marks will remain in your fabric until you wash them out, with a dab of water.
-- Edited on 8/5/12 3:29 PM --

------
"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

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Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
Intermediate
OH USA
Member since 5/28/11
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In reply to solveg <<
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Date: 8/5/12 3:55 PM

Thank you for this! I enjoyed reading it and chuckled quite a bit. This has been my state of affairs over this last year. I started sewing again for myself because RTW doesn't really fit. When I was 18 I could make everything I wanted to make, coats, jackets, pants, jeans, skirts, dresses-and it fit. I could do it all-now not so much. I pulled out some of the things I made last summer when I started this journey. Some don't fit, some are ok-most look pretty homemade-which is why most have not been worn or reviewed here. Among the failures there are some successes. I can make a pair of pants that fit better than RTW. That took months and I don't even know how many muslins to get a pattern right. I can made tops that look nice and I successfully made some nice dresses for the One Patter Many Looks contest this summer! I have made progress and you have too. Sewing is an adventure-sometimes frustrating but usually (at least for me) satifying. When I was first married many years ago, my ex commented about how I could come home in a bad mood go sew for an hour and be happy again-I still feel that way! You know you will have to share pics of the robe when you are done!

solveg
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solveg  Friend of PR
Beginner
MN USA
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Posts: 366
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Date: 8/5/12 4:02 PM

Excellent advice, Miss Fairchild!! Thank you!

Can I ask your opinion about something else while we're at it?

This bathrobe I'm making has a band that is sewn so the seam shows on the front , but is folded in half with a seam allowance and top stitched.

I normally don't pucker fabric, but I got a few with this. I'm trying to determine if it's my fault or what I can do to avoid it. I know that you ease fabric by putting it on the bottom, but you can't with this because you're top stitching. So I'm assuming it's a pattern error...the excess was very very tiny and the puckers were small. I thin that they didn't grade down the edge of the fabric that gets top-stitched down? Because it IS slightly shaped, so the outside contour would be different than the inside right? Especially around the neck? Or am I dreaming?

OR the problem could have happened because I cut it on the cross grain? Although this fabric seems very sturdy and stable.

If my idea that the outside contour should be a little different, what can I really do about that?

Thanks in advance, Miss Fairchild (and might I add that for some reason, I love your name?)

solveg
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solveg  Friend of PR
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MN USA
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Posts: 366
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In reply to Marie367 <<
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Date: 8/5/12 4:06 PM

You are now my hero, then, to have lived through a year of this! And many many kudos to making pants, as well as your well-fitting shirts and entering a contest. Now at least I know it's possible to get from here to there.

What really throws me is how long it takes to sew now. I remember as a kid I would start something, stay up all night, and wear it the next day. Granted, I never finished a seam.

But now it takes a day to trace and alter the pattern, a day to cut and mark it, and a few days to sew it. What's up with that?

Kelly D.
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Kelly D.  Friend of PR
Intermediate
CA USA
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Subject: Beginners report Date: 8/6/12 10:16 AM

So many of us are in this place with you! When you come back to sewing as an adult you have very different expectations and memories of youthful success are bathed in a golden haze.

Looking back with a more objective eye, I realize things often didn't fit right but I didn't care, I just wore them anyway and a youthful body compensated for a lot of fitting disasters. I recall having to wear pants I made in a sewing class with a "fit expert" with the waistband rolled twice under my stylish tunic top and thinking I looked smashing in my creation in Junior High! In those halcyon days, I didn't really know what good fit was and hardly cared if stripes or plaids matched perfectly. I made it and I wore it, just like you.

Now, we need clothes that fit and flatter, especially if we have DD's on board to let us know exactly how lame we look in "Becky Home-Ecky" garments. It's worth the time to find patterns (Jalie, Christine Jonson, etc.) and develop skills to sew stylish clothes for our grown-up bodies and when DD asks us to make maternity tops because nothing out there fits right, we know we have arrived!

Keep sewing, it will get better!

P.S. Stripes and Plaids are not generally welcome in my stash of garment fabric but if one should sneak in and require a yoke or applied pocket, bias is my best friend.

Dianne22
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Dianne22  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
TX USA
Member since 3/18/11
Posts: 84
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In reply to solveg <<
thumbsup 2 members like this.


Date: 8/6/12 10:50 AM

I would just love to add something to this conversation, but I'm laughing too hard. Aging bodies (and MINDS) and perfect fit do not mix with quick sewing!

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