Thursday, October 24, 2019

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:

 I can now sew again.  Maybe I can focus on sewing and completing some of those unfinished projects I have.  I actually started one today.  I turned up and pressed a hem in one of those pants I started in August at the sewing retreat.  My plan is to sew a blind hem in those tomorrow.

How are your sewing projects progressing?  Don’t give up if you encounter a problem.  Just keep trying until you overcome it!