28. april 2014

Short inspiration

Spring here in the south always happens way too fast for me. While winter is still firmly lodged in my brain, everything turns green and suddenly there's dandelions everywhere. But with 18 C outside, it's hard to stay in denial. (The Easter holiday helped as well - six days all sunny, and pretty warm too.)

Sewing may not be the most economical activity I ever do (at least measured in time units), but at least nobody suffer while making clothes for me or my daughter. Except for me of course. Possibly those surrounding me as well. There is usually some, or possibly a lot of, swearing. (I'm a Northerner. I'm allowed. Culture and stuff.) 

Skirt for the very pregnant me. Still on the thinking/swearing stage.

I've been working on a skirt for my self, but sewing pregnancy clothes without a pattern really takes some thinking, measuring, rethinking, and quite a lot of swearing. (Sorry.) With the warm weather going on, I decided to make a pair of shorts for my daughter instead. She got to choose fabric, a surefire way to get her to wear whatever I make at least once. She chose a plain turquoise jersey. Huh. 

That ruler is a superb tool for winging things! And for guiding my rotary cutter.

I had no pattern, so decided to wing it. I measured her waist and desired length of the shorts, but forgot to measure the inseam. I used a pair of pants in the same kind of material as a rough template, and just had to make an educated guess about the length from the waist to the crotch. I used a fancy eraser pen from Clover to mark the fabric, with appr. 5 mm seam allowance. I sewed with an overlock stitch on my quite ordinary Janome machine. I just dotted along the crotch (or does it have a nicer name in sewing terminology?) and used the ruler to cut the diagonal on the top, and the straight line on the bottom. Then I turned the pants and drew up the other side. And cut. That's when I discovered that rotary cutters and jerseys are mortal enemies. 

Turquoise. With freshly made stains. 

The whole process took five hours, a wee bit of cursing, a lot of mistakes, and ended with a usable pair of shorts. My daughter put them on and they got dirty right away. Success! So I made a second pair when Terje (that's my husband) put her to bed. This time it took two hours, and then I cut the pattern pieces for two pairs of shorts instead of just one. When I got to choose fabric, I chose...monkeys! (Or apes. Are they apes?)

Monkeys. Or apes. 

Two shorts done. In 7 hours, that's about 1000 NOK (appr. 167$ or 100£). Quite expensive shorts. (I'm a teacher, that's not even a high salary.)

A list of sewing mistakes and discoveries (incomplete):

1. Forgot to measure the inseam.
2. Rotary cutters and jerseys don't go well together. 
3. Rotary cutters and rib fabric don't go well together. (I'm a slow learner. Or stubborn. Or both.)

Just a little reminder of stuff to avoid. (The cutting mat was a strike of genius forethought, as I bought it before I had even heard of a rotary cutter. You should not avoid either - they are both superb tools.)

4. It is very difficult to sew buttonholes in jerseys. You need backing. (At least I managed to test this on scrap fabric.)
5. It's hard to sew a nice fold with jersey. It flares. At least when the seam is close to the fold. It flares when you fold it double as well.
6. The rib fabric should be about the same size as the elastic, if it is a wide rib and a wide elastic. If the rib is wider, it just buckles, and that's not pretty. 
7. The diameter of the waist rib must not be a lot less than the diameter of main fabric it connects to. It will cause the main fabric to bulge and flare below the rib. 20% difference is apparently too much. Will try with 15% next time.
8. When cutting patterned fabric, it's a good idea to make sure the pattern match on front and back. Half a monkey off looks weird. Hence cutting the double amount of pattern pieces. It deserves a picture so I'll add one below.
9. At least I learn a lot from the mistakes I make. I bet the swearing would be much worse were it not for this precious fact.

Not good. At least I didn't sew the pieces together before I noticed.

Have a lovely spring, with (hopefully) few crafting mistakes, great weather and excellent company!

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