Archive for the 'Observations' Category

Chasing UFOs

No, it’s not a new show on the History Channel. It’s my current sewing dilemma: unfinished objects, or UFOs as they are called in the sewing community.

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When Vintage Patterns Go Wrong

Time to chalk up another learning experience.

I’ve been working on a muslin of this adorable 1940s Mary Dunbar toddler dress. I love the sweet little scallops! I could just see it made up with a pink and white stripe fabric for the main body and a light breezy floral print for the scalloped sections with coordinating buttons down the back. I almost used this pattern last year, but I decided that the scallops looked too intimidating and I put it back into my pattern drawer. This year, armed with new knowledge about sewing curves, I decided to give it a try.

1940s Mary Dunbar 2013-02-24 003

Unfortunately, this pattern is more flawed than any pattern I have ever used — and believe me, I have used some really crazy patterns.

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Most Unflattering

For the last year or so, I’ve noticed that trendy tops are becoming more “drapey,” “flowy,” and “breezy.” Scrape away the floofy designer talk, and you’ll see what this really means: shapeless. I’m tired of it. REALLY tired of it. Those styles work on certain body types, but on others (including mine) it adds frump, obscures the curves that give your body definition, and creates the illusion that you’re hiding a good 10-20 lbs. underneath.

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Sewing Tip: Going to Extra Lengths with Facings

Here’s a sewing tip: always always ALWAYS add a little extra to every facing piece on garments. This is obvious when it comes to bias tape, but perhaps not as obvious for things like facings cut from pattern pieces. If possible, cut the ends of facings just a bit longer, extending them past the end of the pattern piece by a half-inch or more. This will give you a bit of wiggle room in case the facing comes up short for one reason or another (errors in your calculations or in the pattern, or some idiosyncrasy with the fabric). In almost all cases, the excess can be trimmed away or tucked into the finished edge.

Why am I bringing this up? Because even after allowing a tiny bit of wiggle room, a facing for a project has come up short and I will not be able to properly finish the edge. If I had planned ahead, I could have added a half-inch and that would have been enough. Now I have to come up with a workaround and it will probably look ridiculous and messy instead of neat and professional! Thank you, Simplicity, for wrecking yet another project with your shoddy patterns and poor instructions.*

* I know I said I’d never use modern Simplicity patterns again, but it’s for a specific type of costume for my husband and there were no other pattern options available.

Declaration of Independence from a Tyrannical Sewing Machine

I have made a decision.

I’m not going to work on any more sewing projects until I buy a new machine.

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Mission Failed: Surrendering Sewing Projects

There’s plenty of advice out there about how to proceed with just about any kind of sewing project. But what if you can’t or don’t want to  proceed? When your options have been exhausted or are not viable, you may find yourself with one choice: surrendering.

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