Yesterday, while all my sewing friends were at the Sewing Weekender (at least, that’s how it seemed!), I was having my own sewing weekend.
I signed up on Thursday night for the Thrifty Stitcher’s workshop on Sewing with Knits this Saturday. It was an impulse purchase, based mainly on the fact that I had 3m of dark pink double jersey in my stash. The universe conspired to encourage me in this, and I generally tend to go along with what the universe tells me. And let me tell you, the universe wasn’t wrong on this one. I learned SO much.
The teacher was Layla Totah, and I would heartily recommend her classes. She knows so much and was a really giving and generous teacher.
We learned about how grainlines work with stretch fabrics, how massively varied stretch fabrics are, how temperamental they can be with different needles (just because it says it’s a jersey needle, doesn’t mean your jersey with accept it!).
I learned about some excellent gizmos: we were using chalk wheels for marking fabric so I’m definitely getting myself one of those babies. My neighbour on the sewing machines was having difficulty keeping her seam allowances even, and Layla offered her a magnetic seam allowance thingummajig, which also looks like a useful thing.
We learned how to add a neckline binding, and why it’s essential to get the amount of stretch right. We learned how to use a twin needle (and I LOVE it!).
I did a banging neckline binding, both on my practice piece and on my garment.About that finished garment… We were working with a New Look pattern, 6301, which is a pretty cool pattern, a fake wrap dress- all the benefit of cleavage enhancement, with none of the risk of accidental leg or undies flashing.
Layla had graded it for me, beforehand (which meant she was working on it on the Friday night, bless her heart), but there wasn’t any time to do proper toiling and fitting, so it was a case of seeing how it went. And it was all going fine, apparently, until it came to adding the skirt to the bodice. I don’t know how, because it just doesn’t make any sense, I cut the patterns correctly, but somehow my skirt pieces seemed to be way bigger than the bodice pieces, I had to take them in by an inch or so on each side. And then as if that had triggered my project to start playing me up, when I tried it on, the wrap element which had behaved perfectly fine before I added the skirt was pulling the side seams forwards badly, it just wasn’t stretching enough. My personal theory is that it’s a bit like when you try to pull one elastic, it’s good & stretchy, but if you pull ten elastics together, it’s much more difficult. I think the combination of several layers of jersey which wasn’t massively stretchy in the first place, made it stretch even less. It seemed evident to me that my back pieces need to be narrower and my front pieces wider. The pulling was making holes in the fabric at the seams, and while everyone was saying it was ok and wearable, I knew fine well it wasn’t.
I was disappointed, I won’t deny it. The other ladies in the class all had lovely wearable dresses that they were going home with. I kept assuring Layla, who felt dreadful that I wasn’t happy, that it was ok, I’ve learned the skills, I can treat this as a toile, and make the dress again, with changes, so that it works. But it stung!
I think I can salvage a skirt out of it, and practise my new twin needle stitching skills when I hem it. It’s going onto the To Be Fixed pile for now, and we all know by now, that it’ll be a fair while before I get around to fixing it. But it *will* get fixed, I am determined.