Dangerous Addiction

A threat to the wellbeing of grown men and women is sweeping the nation. Available on every street corner (where there’s a haberdasher’s), this vicious new drug is available not in a wrap, but by the metre. Street talk of ‘notions’ and ‘pinking’ may not mean much to the majority of the population – yet. But those in the know are prone to cold sweats and wild eyes if these words are even breathed in their ear. Other symptoms include violent swearing, compulsive Internet ordering and waking early in the morning to indulge their habit before going out to hold down a job. Secretive, complusive, sinister. Sewing Addiction could strike in your home at any time. Keep alert to its dangers. Sewing doesn’t need to be like this. Tragically, for some, it’s too late.

Yes, readers. At 6.30am I got out of bed and padded down to my sewing machine. This is despite the fact that I work from home on Tuesdays and should be enjoying an extra hour IN bed. I’ve already indulged in two hours’ worth of sewing and the day hasn’t even begun yet. Tragic? Moi? Depends on your perspective.

The McCalls 8515 now has two sleeves – hurrah! One of them still needs a bit of tweaking, but I’m hopeful. This allowed me to get on to the much more fun business of constructing the collar. Now this part of sewing, I really enjoy. Putting together mysterious shapes, wondering how on earth this mad science will ever transform into a wearable item.

I must at this point, reiterate what we already know: don’t ever throw away your scraps until you have a Finished Object. As I turned to sew together the collar and under collar, I realised I’d cut one of the shapes out the wrong way round. Cue mad scramble in the bag of scraps and – thank the lord of sewing – there was a patch big enough for me to cut out a second piece. I dread to think what the swearing quota would have been otherwise.

Here’s a picture of the collar, draped over my really ancient sewing machine. You’ll notice that I am sewing this pink fabric together with cream thread. I ran out of pink thread and have been too lazy to buy more. I am nothing if not professional.

I also took a photo of the odd little oblong that will pull together the intricate collar of this jacket. To remind you, the collar is made of two huge bow devices. You can see what I mean in Erica’s lovely photo of the finished jacket. I may look a bit like Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady wearing this! Remember I mentioned how thick the interfacing was that I’m using? Like, too thick? Check it out in the below photo! You could balance a cup of tea on that baby. Fortunately, my incessant calamity sewing of the sleeves means that the interfacing on the main jacket has started to soften with the constant handling. I knew there was a reason for my ineptitude!

One more thing I’ve learnt: I kept looking at my princess seams/inverted nipples and thinking, Hmmm, I really must do something about that. But another voice in my head told me, Ride it out, Karen. Just see how the jacket comes together. I’m really glad I listened to that second voice. I’m not going to touch those seams until everything’s pretty much done. The closer I creep towards completion of the outer shell, the more I can see how each adjustment makes a difference. It’s really hard to judge until you have the Finished Object. Hey! I guess that’s the whole point of making a muslin. (Remember, Karen. This IS a muslin.)

So, great progess. But I haven’t even started on the lining – one of the points of this exercise. I’ve never lined a jacket before (I’ve never MADE a jacket before!) and I want to see how it’s done. I like a challenge. But I realise I’ve stumbled across a second challenge with this project. It requires button holes. Friends, I don’t even know if my machine can make button holes. Am I seriously looking at sewing them by hand? That could be the biggest joke going. Come on. We can all guess how that will turn out.

Finally, a shot of the growing wrap/scarf and that lovely fabric I bought last week. I’ve made a real hash of trying to hem it. Either I invest in a rolling hem foot for my sewing machine or I hem by hand or… Do any of you have any suggestions about putting a narrow hem on a sheer, delicate fabric? I need help!

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5 Responses to Dangerous Addiction

  1. I personally prefer alot of hand sewing to machine sewing. The finished product always turns out better for me in the end. I have a great machine with bells and whistles and I’ve used them, but they just don’t compare to the quality I get when I handstitch. I suggest a hand rolled seam for your sheer fabric. There’s a great tutorial on the Colette Pattern’s website for this. The jacket muslin is looking great!

  2. Karin says:

    I think this will turn out to be what people call a “wear-able” muslin. It looks pretty good!

    My machine makes not so great button holes. I fear that I would make not so great button holes as well. Sometimes bloggers in NYC mention paying people at a shop $1 button hole to do them. This sounds like a wonderful service. One that does not exist in London, so far as I know.

  3. Woah! Thanks for that inspired suggestion, Karin. Look – there IS somewhere in London that provides a buttonholing service:


  4. Thank you, Cupcake Goddess. Yet again, brilliant advice pointing me towards the perfect step-by-step instruction. Can’t wait to have a go!

  5. Karin says:

    Oh wow, that is really good to know. If I ever make anything really precious I will consider my button hole options!

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