Saturday, January 22, 2011

Back in the saddle with sewing

My dear friend, Karen, has inspired me yet again.  Although we are kindred spirits, she's clearly been the catalyst in my life to actually turn ideas & dreams into reality.  In fact, I like her ideas so much that I often shamelessly copy them.  This new blogging thing could serve as Exhibit A.  :)  Anyhow, after fashioning my sewing area into a school room back in Aug. 2009, I have not done much sewing even though I love it.  It's such a waste, since I've amassed a great collection of equipment & supplies through my bargain-hunting which could transform me into a very talented seamstress (one can dream) if only I'd  work on these skills.  Practice, practice, practice!  So, after recently seeing several amazing posts of what Karen has been sewing, I was itching for a project of my very own.  Knowing that dusting off the sewing machine (cough, cough) and getting myself reacclimated to sewing was going to be a labor in itself, I knew I had to find a quick project to keep me motivated to do press on.  Doing some minor tailoring to a thrift store find was just the thing.  I found a corduroy jacket made by Talbots for about $5 at Savers.  BTW - Savers is turning into my new favorite store.  Bargain clothing arranged by color -- I love it!  It's probably a good thing it's not located a mile away or I could see myself nickel and diming our budget a bit.  Anyhow, the jacket was a tad wide, but knowing it was a good brand, I thought it would be worth trying to tailor it.  Not that I have too much expertise in this area, but figured it's good to experiment on a small investment.  Worst case, I'd be donating the jacket back to Savers if it still didn't fit following my efforts to improve it.

    First, I took the side seam completely out with my trusty Clover seam ripper.  Next, I layered the seam edges to be offset a bit since I needed more taken in from the front than the back.  I pinned it in place and sewed a new seam just outside the original stitching to nip it in a bit, starting and ending at the original seam so it would still flow nicely with the rest of the construction.  The picture to the right shows the original seam marked by the purple pin and the new seam marked by the teal pin.  After trying it on for fit, I realized one side was great but the other needed to come in a bit more.  Funny how these things happen when you eyeball something as opposed to actually measuring...
I sewed that side again with a bit more curve near the waist, not bothering to take out the previous stitching since it was so close.  Best part comes next!  I got out my serger to give it a professional finish.  The Baby Lock Eclipse serger I got (resale, of course!) several years back was an amazing aquisition from our local sewing/vac shop, Auger & Sons.  I highly recommend getting refurbished machinery, as you can benefit from far better prices, though it will still be something to save up for.  I definitely had sticker shock when I first browsed.  However, it's an investment as the right equipment will help your sewing turn out better with less frustration in the process.
  Since I haven't used this complicated machine in quite some time, I was a bit rusty when it came to rethreading all 4 spools.  I ended up with a giant bird's nest of thread not once, but several times.  Were I not so determined (or is that stubborn?)  I might have given up and left a raggedy edge.  Thankfully, I realized I had to adjust the dials a bit from whatever I'd previously set and then it ran like a charm.  Operator malfunction continues to account for most of my sewing mishaps.  Though I love these fancy-schmancy machines, there is a small amount of fear and trepidation that accompanies using my serger, since it cuts away the excess fabric as it encases the raw edges.  I'm gotten plenty of practice with my seam ripper undoing sewing mistakes, but one can't undo serger mistakes quite so easily once the fabric has actually been cut through. 
Thankfully, there were no mishaps this time.  I'm still not sure how to start and finish the seams so they don't stick out at the top like in the photo, but that may be because the seam would normally be done before the cuff so it was inevitable.  Since it will be hidden inside, I'm not bothering about it. 
    You know, I may just have a book I could read to learn that skill...   

I'm thankful for my finished product!
As evidence of how long it's been since I've done any sewing, my daughter came into the room to see what the noise was.  Ha ha!  I was able to detain her as my photographer. 


  1. Sounds great, even better with pics!!! Glad you are getting back in the saddle again with sewing. A serger is one of the things I'm saving for...

  2. Looks great, Sue! You're amazing! Going to wear it tomorrow? :)Love the new blog.

  3. I love that you started a when you move to TX you won't seem so far away! The jacket is really cute. :)