Friday, February 23, 2007

Taking a Break - Stippled Jacket

Stippled Jacket - written last Friday, Feb 23

On Sunday I learned that Class #2 for the stippled jacket was to be this Friday (ie. today). I had been mulling over some stippling designs in my head, procrastinating the actual start of the project. I got together with my friend Lynn, who is also making a jacket, and we 505'd our sandwiches together in her garage. She's done this sort of thing before. I have not.

With Lynn pushing me I decided to get started on the stippling and stop thinking about it. I drew a pattern of parallel channel stitching along the curved bottom of the jacket, and the bottom of the sleeves, and parallel lines up the center front (where I hope to put a zipper, not being overly fond of those froggy type closures).

The sleeves were just 2" columns of stippling , separated by 1/2" empty columns. I started with the sleeves, and they looked great, so I took at the front pieces. I had a notion to create some flowers somewhere in the business, so I stitched vertical rows of 2" wide stippled panels, separated by 1/2" wide unstippled strips. In the middle of each side, I left the two center panels unstippled, where I created a design of roses and leaves, that looked quite lovely on paper. Quite stunning actually. I developed a pattern from a clipart image, and traced it onto 'heat-away' stabilizer. This was my only mistake in this otherwise nicely percolating project.

There always has to be one idiot move. I never used this sew and burn stuff before, and did not take the trouble to test it first. It was not a lovely experience. It did not sew nicely, it did not burn off nicely, it stinks and is very dusty. Brushing off with a toothbrush works fairly well, but bits of the stuff stuck between some of the close-together stitches. There is no way I can explain (other than working in a rush instead of in my own good time) why I did not use a water-soluble stablizer for this....the whole damn thing has to be washed to shrink it anyway. (This is why I have used the word "idiot").

I stippled amongst my flowers on the first side, then decided it would look better unstippled, leaving the flowers alone in the wide panel on each front. Unstippling is a nice thing to do while watching TV.

My sewing machine decided to have a few grumpy moments during the process, and will likely need a trip to the doctor soon. There is a noise I do not like, and it fetches up every once in awhile and kicks out the bobbin case. I think I forgot to speak nicely to it, and to the fabric each time I sat down.

The good news, though, is that I have dragged out my mother's sewing machine table, and DH put a solid bottom in the 'hole' of it so I now have a level surface to work from. This is great except when I have to lower or raise the feed dogs. Then the whole machine has to be lifted to reach the thingy at the back. It's a very bad design for anyone who changes the dogs frequently. Huskystar C10, new last May. Works well most of the time, but has a couple of chronic hiccups.

Finally, Friday morning around 11am I was done with the sewing, thread snipping, and trimming away of visible flannelette (to prevent fuzzies in the wash). Into the wash the whole thing goes. Out it comes later, looking shrunken as expected, pretty good as far as the effect of the stippled lines on back and sleeve, and so-so on the front. The flowers are not as effective as I had hoped, but alas, one major problem: There is a little hole in the middle of one section of flower, worn totally through by a combination of too much brushing to get rid of the stabilizer, and the subsequent effect of washing. I really think there must be something caustic in that stabilizer because it seemed to act almost like bleach on the fabric surface. Some of the stitching in that area is also pulled out, so I am CRUSHED, that I have managed to ruin this expensive fabric, not to mention all the work.

This makes it slightly less annoying that the course leader called to change the date to next week! Meanwhile, I discovered that I forgot to do the collar, so that is yet to be sandwiched and stippled, and now, rather than purchase yet more fabric and do another front, I think I will make a repair using a pocket. It will have to be sewn on my hand, but that is ok. I guess its good I have another week, more really, because I will be away next week anyway, and won't make the lesson.

It's all repairable, but I cannot hide my disappointment. Also makes it difficult to 'get back on the horse' with enthusiasm, especially after the weekend's disasters with the stretchy pants. I think I need to make a very simple top to regain my confidence.

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