Breaking My Sewer’s Slump
You are familiar with ballplayers being in a batting slump when they just can’t get a hit for several games. A writer has writer’s block if he/she can’t find any words to put on paper. I believe I have been experiencing something similar regarding my sewing. I have been unable to focus on sewing for several months. I sew but I don’t complete anything. At the sewing retreat in September in Shipshewana, I made three pants but I still have not hemmed them. Before that that I cut out four small cross-body bags. I completed three, but the fourth is still unfinished. I also cut out a fitting muslin for a new denim jacket pattern, but I did not finish that either. Next, I purchased a new pattern for a purse and cut that out, but I have yet to sew a stitch on the bag.
Although I had all these unfinished projects, I decided to cut out a long sleeve tee shirt. I found some light blue knit fabric in my stash. I cut out a tee top using McCall’s pattern 6964. I have used this pattern for many tops so I knew it fit. That eliminated the most difficult step in sewing anything! Maybe that is what I needed. I needed something with no problems to get me back on the road to successful sewing.
Then I decided the plain blue tee top needed something to jazz it up a little. It needed some pizazz. I looked at the embroidery unit for my sewing machine. It was just sitting there unused as it has been for a long time. I decided to put it to use and embroider something on the front of the shirt. I had already sewn the front to the back so I ripped out the seams to make it easier to handle in the embroidery hoop. Then I looked for a design in my Pfaff sewing machine. I wanted something simple and quick. I wanted no problems with this project. I chose a beautiful butterfly for the front of the shirt and a smaller side-view version of the same butterfly for the back shoulder of the shirt. I had to retrain myself on how to use the embroidery portion of my sewing machine because I had not used it for such a long time. After two days I had a butterfly on both the front and back pieces of my shirt.
It was a simple process to sew the shoulder seams together again. I remembered to cut pieces of stabilizer (interfacing) to sew in the shoulder seams to prevent them from sagging and stretching. I don’t like the pattern piece for the neckband in this pattern, so I cut my own. I turned to the book, Knits for Real People, by Susan Neall and Pati Palmer to jog my memory on how to do this. Pages 79 – 81 provided instructions for making a neckband for a round neckline. I measured the total front and back neckline on the pattern including the seam allowances and then took ¾ of that figure. That gave me the total length of the neckband. I measured the width of the neckband on another shirt and added the seam allowance on both sides. I sewed the short end of the band together and then folded the band in half lengthwise. I machine basted the band to the neckline to determine if I liked it first. Then I sewed the folded band to the right side of the shirt and pressed the seam down. Then I stitched just below the seam to hold the seam allowance down inside the shirt.
After sewing the two side seams, I sewed the sleeves together and inserted them in the armscyes. My shirt was finished except for hemming the sleeves and the shirt. I have been hemming shirts by serging the bottom edge, turning up the hem allowance and using a straight stitch to hold the hem in place. I decided this time I would use my serger to sew a cover stitch hem. Since I have not used the cover stitch in a very long time, I realized this was going to take a while. I needed to read the instructions and practice this stitch before using it on my shirt. I took some time to learn to thread the machine properly for the cover stitch and then practiced to make sure I had a good stitch. Then I used the serger to hem the bottom of my shirt and the sleeves with a wide cover stitch. Finally, my shirt was completed. I had broken my sewer’s slump! Pictures of the completed project are shown below:
How are your sewing projects progressing? Don’t give up if you encounter a problem. Just keep trying until you overcome it!