Sunday, February 18, 2007

Perfect Light, Imperfect Sewing

This was not a perfect sewing weekend, though it started out to be. In spite of all you might read here, it's still fun (and educational) or I wouldn't be doing it. Sewing reduces stress. Blogging reduces the stress of sewing. What does one do when the blog won't work?

Earlier I had cut out a Burda WOF 02/07 #120 trousers for stretch fabric. I had nice taupe corduroy, a perfect match to the taupe in my print skirt and jacket. I love stretch cords, so I had high hopes for this stuff.

I never sewed stretch cord before. I didn't think this was particularly heavy material when I bought it , but soon discovered it to be extremely bulky to work with...something like cardboard in a funny way....maybe its just that the color reminds me of "shirt" cardboard that my mother used to save, and that we used as kids for various projects -- before the days of cheap paper -- (my Grandfather used to save the cardboard that separated the shredded wheat in the box -- before the days of plastic individual wrappings. A thrifty lot we were.

But I digress. These pants have a front yoke/pocket arrangement similar to one I had sewn early in my re-entry into stitchery. A oiece of cake one would think.

Annoying time-waster #1: POCKET-YOKE INCOMPATIBILITY: In stretch fabric, the pockets seemed to acquire a mind of their own, and one in particular developed a little wrinkle/twist, that would not go away no matter how many times I ripped out seams and re-laid things together. This is not a pattern problem, but may be a directions problem. I would have to think about when to sew the seams that hold the pocket to the yoke (so your kleenex doesn't fall throuth). Maybe not until everything else is done.

Annoying time-waster #2: TOPSTITCHING WRONG WAY UP: These pants have a back yoke kind of like you see in jeans. Topstitched, like the front pocket edges. I had a tiny bit of exactly matching thread, so I topstitched the yoke (accidentally forgetting to take the stitch length off basting -- oh well, nice long topstitches don't look that bad, I guess) with the good thread, then used up the rest as I went along. I tried on the pants at some point and noticed that this yoke seam makes a delightful wide curved line across the largest part of my butt -- not one bit attractive. Fortunately, my butt is not as big as it used to be, so I guess I'll just have to live with this....I still like stretch corduroy.

In the morning, I tried the pants on again, and lo and behold, the topstitching is done upside down. I turned the seam down instead of up. My DH, observing my enhanced butt said, "water wont run off that seam." Leave it to a man. Fortunately I had already noticed, and had come downstairs, seam-ripper in hand --- but now out of good thread.

I hate it when people say "Everything happens for a reason." I don't believe that for a minute, however, I have to say I was glad I had used bastings to topstitch, because I would still be there trying to get small stitches out from among the serging of the seam edge.

Annoying time-waster #3: Fitting without knowing how : A trip to the store for thread and I'm back checking the fit again. In spite of measurements matching well, I still had to take in the side seams, and there's still that baggy bit in the back where I likely have to take up the back inseam...then there's the very low level of the back waist seam which is chronic with pants. Is it length or something to do with the crotch design? With every change results in another wrinkle. Are the wrinkles real, or just because I have an inch and a half of bunched up fabric and pins in the crotch seam? ...I really need a crash course in pants design for this. I fiddle and farted around with the fitting on and off through the day, until time for my sister to come for supper. I am beginning to not be so in love with stretch corduroy, even though it's been washed twice, it still feels stiff and unfriendly. BUT... my sister just came back from India, and brought me some heavenly silks. Something for after SWAP.

Annoying time-waster #4: FLIPPING OVER THE FLY: Any pants I made before in my limited experience get the fly over with before sewing the legs seams. And, though I never had much problem with any fly I have done (all 4 of them) the Burda fly directions were impossible to fathom, and of course, I was anxious to see if these pants were going to be a good fit, so I did the inseams first and basted the side seams. I found Burda's detailed fly directions in one of their sewing lessons in the January 07 issue, a happy coincidence resulting from drinking too much coffee after supper, and not being able to sleep. In the stupor of night, I really did not know if I could follow them or not, but decided I might try in the morning. In the light of day, I decided to go with Sandra Betzina's fly which I had used before.

Long story short. Twice I have had SB's fly turn out on the wrong side. The first time I thought it was supposed to be that way, and thought nothing of it. This time , I know my fly is different from the one in the book, and I think I have made some fundamental left/right error that I will surely fix before the next time. The fly is ok even though it's backwards and has too much space between the fold at Center Front and the attachment of the zipper. Also, the extension of the front yoke is supposed to interact in some way with the fly, where everything comes together and gets joined up. One side of the extension has to be cut off at center front to accomodate the fly design. Guess which side I cut off! Of course, the wrong one, because now my fly is on the wrong side. No, I'm not taking it out -- the stitches will show in the corduroy, even if I wanted to put myself to the grief of a re-run. I am beginning to not care if I have these pants.

Time-wasting annoyance #5: FORGETTING TO PRESS: Now things just start adding up. I forgot to press the inseam seam before sewing the outside seam. I could not serge the inseam until I had the fit right at the crotch, which I could not do until I had basted and re-basted the crotch seam, which I could not do until I had fit the side seams around the hips. So, given this vicious circle, I am now having to do both the pressing and the serging on the long legs instead of at least having one of those tasks on a flat surface. This is nothing I suppose compared to some of the other fiddle and fuss.

Upcoming time-wasting annoyance #6: WAISTBAND: The fit around the waistband has me worried, as the back is too low, and risks plumbers butt when seated -- which is why I am still in the adjustment phase from up there in #3. Perhaps all will go well, maybe even a tad of elastic will solve everything. Should a stretch corduroy waistband have interfacing -- is that an oxymoron?

Hey!! It's all still fun, right?


RuthieK said...

Ouch Betty those stretch cord pants sound like a nightmare. Anything I ever sewed that caused me this much trouble is in one of several large boxes marked UFO. Well done for persevering this far.

Betty said...

Well, persevere I shall, as I really like the color of these babies. And, if fact, I am learning to be very mellow about such things. In the past, when I sewed as a young person, I had a big pile of UFO's due to frustrations and stupid mistakes. I vowed, this time no not let that happen (sometimes of course, you just make trash and have to dump it, but nothing gets set aside undone anymore - though sometimes it takes a short rest until I am infused with new inspiration to fix it. I'm taking a sewing break for a few days, as my later blogs will show. Too many mistakes.