Friday, November 15, 2013

If you ain't picking seams, you ain't learning

I guess that means I'm learning.

This week has been my first serious project on the Bernina. A pair of pants. And, as it turns out, the scale-up is almost perfect here. I would have been over my head with a frock coat, and probably bored with another pillow case. On pants, I'm learning.

Learning, among other things, that when people say Simplicity patterns tend large (and their 1948 very much runs large), they aren't kidding.  Using Simplicity's own mapping of pattern size to measurements, and a fresh set of measurements I took off my own body...I ended up with a waist about 4" too large!

Seriously, the things were clown pants.  And isn't it always the way, that the seam you have to unpick is the seam you made right after you switched from "machine baste" setting to something tighter?

I don't have a good feel yet for whether this is a simpler pattern or a more complicated pattern for what it is. I do know I basically had to just build it end to end; I couldn't make head nor tail out of the instructions and the many, many pieces until I was actually stitching them together. And not always then, either -- pulled apart the pockets two or three times before I figured out how they were supposed to work.

Now that I understand this pattern, there's several things I'd do different.  There's no reason to put interfacing in the fly, for instance, although the overlap could sure use some.  And there's some of the basting and marking steps I could cut now. Biggest lesson so far, though? Measure your seam allowance. Having a clean seam allowance is just too critical to too many other stages to make it worth being sloppy cutting it.

Also discovered black is painful to work with. Finally gave up on the stupid tailor's chalk and switched to white grease pencil, which I could actually see. It is a heavy, relatively coarse-weave "tent canvas" I'm using that frays a lot and is basically a total pain. The bolt of fabric I carried to the front was a yard short, and this was my hasty second choice.

And my little travel iron actually puts out enough for fusible interfacing.  I think I bought the thing back when I was in the Army. It goes back to at least 1986 -- but then, so does my coffee filter.

Since learning one new thing at a time has never been my way, I also took my first class at TechShop this week.  I'm now permitted to use the cold saw...and more powerful versions of tools I have myself. Many more classes before I'll be able to mill any metal..especially if I want to CNC it.

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