The last time we talked I promised to share more of SS (Sewing Sister) and I tackling the dreaded SIS (Sewing Intimidation Syndrome). As you may remember, the first day was pretty free and easy. We started with a Nancy Zieman pattern (McCalls 7331) and did a lot of Imagineering, Eyeballing, and Coloring Outside the Lines. It was awesome! However, you and I both know that sewing is more than snapping your fingers like Mary Poppins (my alter ego). You have to do some actual work to make your ideas turn into something you want to wear. Which leads us to the second half of our experience…..
Fitting and Fiddling
The downside of messing up a pattern is you may have to spend extra time fitting and fiddling as you sew. Occasionally, you will even have to back up the sewing train and pick a new track. Deciding if you want to do this is one of the (many) choice points we face as sewers/sewists/etc. In a way, it is like the choice points we face in life. When you color outside the lines AND you still want your creation to be functional, you may have to adjust your thinking and progress. On the upside, this can lead you to happy accidents and new doorways into your craft. On the downside—it is definitely NOT neat and tidy and it will frustrate some people.
So you get to decide. If it pleases you to stay within the lines and know (basically) how your project will work out, do that. If you find joy in the other approach…..go for it. I guess it is similar to traveling. Do you like the Freeway or do you want to travel back-roads? Either way can take you where you want to go. It’s just how you choose to travel. For me, I am a back-roads girl.
What we learned from Nancy:
Even while we were Imagineering, SS and I dutifully followed 3 AWESOME techniques for knits from Nancy Zieman (because Nancy is the bomb). These techniques are:
- Use fusible interfacing along the back shoulder. You just cut a little strip of stretchable interfacing (if it doesn’t stretch cut a bias strip) and iron it to the underside of your back shoulder before you sew. It helps your shoulders stay stable and perky throughout its lifespan.
- Use fusible interfacing at the front neck line. Again, you cut a strip of fusible interfacing and iron it to the underside of your neck. Then all you have to do it turn once and stitch the neckline down. I finished my edge with a zigzag before it turned it under—but you don’t have to. SS liked the technique so much she did the same thing to the back neck.
- Put your sleeves in flat. I think I learned this from Nancy early in my sewing life and have never really thought about it. But SS had ALWAYS attached sleeves using the traditional set-in method. She declared this a “game changer!!”
- If you have never done flat sleeve construction with knits it is super easy. After you attach your front and back sections at the shoulders (and after you have applied interfacing to the neck edge) lay your garment flat with the right side up.
- Mark your rounded sleeve edge at the half way point with a pin and lay it right side down against the garment. Place that pin at the shoulder seam and pin both sides of the sleeve to the arm hole of your garment (still right sides together). If you need to stretch either piece (a little) to line everything up, don’t worry. That is the beauty of knits. When you finish pinning, the sleeve will be attached but opened up flat. This is good. Stitch the sleeve to the arm hole.
- To finish, you will stitch a side seam all the way from the bottom of your sleeve to the bottom of your garment. If you have never done this, it is as cool as limeade popsicles. Pin right sides together starting at the edge of your sleeve all the way down to the bottom hemline. Stitch. Voila!!
Both SS and I decided to play around with our sleeves. SS chose a gorgeous lace for her sleeves and I decided to make each sleeve a different fabric. Although I ended up struggling a little with my sleeves (see the below section), I adore how both garments received a little extra “Oomph” from our sleeve treatments.
Necklines, backsides, shoulder seams and sleeves.
Okay, we are getting near the end of my word count so I am going to make things snappy. Here is what we had to adjust….
SS ended up doing her necklines 3 times. And she was thrilled. Initially, she was intimidated by finishing the neck, but by the final effort it was a piece of cake. First time, her neck was too high. Second time was related to the back section re-do. Third time, I can’t really remember, maybe she had a right side and a wrong side together?? It was something that she easily overcame.
SS also had to do a back re-do because of an error she and I made while “eyeballing and Imagineering”. When she cut the back piece we both thought it looked bigger and stretchier than it should be (it wasn’t). So with my full support and agreement SS cut a couple of inches off of each side of the back piece (she didn’t need to). You can see where all of this is headed, can’t you? When she attached the shoulder seams the darn dress was too small in the back. Fortunately, there was tons of extra material so SS cut another piece and was ready to go. I just want to say, when it came to dealing with delays or issues SS was a trooper and had a great attitude. Unlike your’s truly…….
I had to do my sleeves over a couple of times and I was pretty darn pouty about it. First, I decided I wanted a different fabric on one of my sleeves. That was no big deal. I ripped a sleeve off and cut a new one out of velvet. But then I realized the new sleeve cap was a little off. So I ripped the just stitched sleeve off, adjusted, trimmed and resewed. It was a slight pain in the patootie. THEN, SS tactfully showed me that the shoulders in my dress were stitched in a little too low and created a wrinkle on both sides. So, I needed to rip them out (AGAIN!), rip out one of my side seams, adjust everything, do some trimming ,and restitch. At this point I was into a full fledged pout. Fortunately Triple S (Sewing Sister’s Sweetie) came to the rescue with some medicinal M and M’s he had in his stash. He gave me some with instructions to take as many as I needed prior to ripping, pinning and stitching. Lifesaver!
I think that covers all of the “undoing” we had to do. Was it worth it? Absolutely. We ended up with some awesome dresses. I created something I never would have attempted on my own. And, best of all, I got over the perfectionism that has kept me from cutting into the beautiful fabric that I own. On top of that ice cream sundae, I got to spend time learning and creating with someone I love—and then share it with you. Can’t think of anything better.
Okay everyone, my “good morning” is rapidly turning into “good evening”. I hope you enjoyed meeting my Sewing Sister and seeing how we tackled Sewing Intimidation Syndrome. Also, you got to learn a few techniques for working with knits. I keep hearing how many of you are firing up your machines and starting up projects. That makes me soooooo happy!
Take care and have a wonderful week. I will talk to you soon.