|That is exactly what it looks like: a neon pink |
leopard-print nightgown (fabric donated to me, then gladly
re-donated to her, because when would I ever use it?) She
loves it though -- wears it every night, according to mom.
Anyway, after several sessions involving a pillow (non-fitted), a purse (non-fitted), a muumuu (non-fitted), curtains for her room (non-fitted), a gathered knit skirt with an elastic waist (non-fitted), and a nightgown (non-fitted: are you seeing a trend here?), we have finally moved onto something that is not elastic or slip-on: Butterick 5443, an actual zippered dress. Thankfully, it is also something that I excel at: the sleeveless fitted bodice and full skirt look! This project is actually more of a me + SHB's mom kind of project right now, as she has expressed a desire to learn how to use patterns. I think my sketch-a-rough-pattern-on-wrapping-paper-and-think-apart-how-it-might-go-together approach scares her. As we started going over how to decipher the yardage charts on the back of the envelope, the layout diagrams in the instructions, and the pinning and cutting, I realized that I am not a very disciplined sewist.
See, despite having a science background, when it comes to my sewing, I'm very fly-by-the-seat-of-those-pants-that-I-have-never-made. I'm all about fudging things when I can, considering the measurements to be mere suggestions (much like lane markings in rural Taiwan), and making very, very good friends with my seam ripper. Tim Gunn's "make it work" is my mantra not because I try complicated things, but because I wasn't paying attention to the recommendations in the first place. You know all my Pattern Review reviews? They all say "I didn't use them" as the answer to the question about the clarity of the instructions. I think that's why I'm so hesitant to tackle sleeves and pants: those things require meticulous measuring and marking and cutting and following directions. Anyway, all those issues came to the forefront when I tried to explain things like matching the grainline arrow on the paper pattern to the fabric, or making sure to pin before cutting. I had to remember not to just eyeball it; I want other sewists to learn good habits from me, which they can then discard later if they choose.
So here are my sewing sins, as were brought to light through teaching; please don't judge me too harshly!
- I usually don't pay attention to grainline. I usually eyeball it and try to get close, but when one uses old sheets as yardage, cutting layouts usually don't apply.
- Okay, let's face it, I never look at the cutting layouts, even when I do have standard-sized yardage. I think today was the first time I did so seriously, and even then I managed to screw up on one piece.
- I don't pin before I cut. I just arrange things more or less right, and then cut carefully with a couple of books as pattern-weights, and hope things don't shift too much.
- I'm really bad at marking my changes on patterns I plan on making multiple times: every time I've sewn M5845, I've had to bring in the top of the back bodice when inserting the zipper...I guess I have a narrow upper back? Anyway, I was sewing yet another version of it yesterday night, and I guess it's been awhile and I forgot about that, because I had to rip out my zipper eight times to get it right. Also, my knit tee block invariable ends up too loose at the waist, which is an easy fix, but it's still a little silly to have to redo the side seams every. freaking. time. At least now I've documented these changes, so hopefully I won't have to make these mistakes again?
- I never used to finish my seam allowances, but I've tried to change that since seeing Neeno's and Leimomi's glowing examples. It's still a bit of pick and choose, though, when I use seam binding and when I just pink, but at least I'm thinking about it? My consolation is that I've seen blouses from the 30s that survived just fine with pinking only, so I'll just wash my things carefully...
- I don't trace my patterns. Not even the vintage ones. I cut them out, but I will say that I don't make changes to the pattern tissue. Those changes all happen as I'm sewing on the actual garment, which might explain why I don't have any of them documented for the future.
|See? Just pinked! And it's survive|
Do you have any sewing confessions? Or are you all just super-duper angelic sewasaurus rexes?
And finally, one of my favorite poems about teaching:
Did I Miss Anything? by Tom Wayman
Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours
Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent
Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose
Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring the good news to all people on earth.
Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?
Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been gathered
but it was one place
And you weren’t here