Wednesday, 15 January 2014


I wasn't going to put any pictures with this post, as you may have gathered from the title I haven't really got very far with this project so have nothing yet to show for it! However I did a quick google of 'frustrated tailor' and amongst stills from TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDER SPY (and for some unknown reason footballers) I found this chap who made me laugh. So apologies for the poor quality but a quick smile is what I need right now!

My Anna dress is beset with woes! 

First off there's getting time to get down to sewing, which is enough of a challenge from anyone with a bit of a commute but on top of this I've had to leave my bike chained up for a bit as my tyres have worn through and I don't feel safe riding it til the replacements have arrived. And when they do I'll have an evening eaten up getting mucky changing them! 

I also mentioned in my Friday 13 post that my flat had fallen through (3 months in!). So now we're on the hunt in every corner of London evenings and weekends which again is so time-consuming, and often means I end up staying with my fella (which is lovely, but far away from my sewing machine!). 

So, onto actual sewing woes. I'm hoping that a bit more experience will put paid to many of these but:

A) There is definitely something off with the tension, and I'm not sure how to fix it. None of my lines of stitching are perfectly even, but it's an old machine so I'm kind of making do. However this means the weave of my fabric is getting a bit warped too. I've tried to adjust the tension on the bobbin case but it's still a bit off. Urgh. 

B) My frickin' presser foot broke! To be fair one of its hinge bolts has been missing since I've had it. But it finally unlatched itself in the middle of a session and I had to spend a lot of time fixing it and finding a replacement bolt (the original is just plastic so it doesn't even have a fitting for any kind of metal bolts, but we managed to find a plastic nail case that will do for now). 

C) My frickin' bobbin case part of the machine came totally loose. Luckily an easy fix. 

D) Just bits of the machine keep falling off willy-nilly! The thread spool holder just fell off the top today. No harm done, but WTF!

In sum all of these things point to me needing to service my machine. I'm just loathe to spend the money when I have my boyfriend's Gran's Bernina in storage, which is likely to be a far superior machine than my Gran's old Toyota. Not that we're comparing Grans or anything. 

But wait, I have more woes!

E) I've cut my pieces really scruffily which makes the edges hard to match. That'll learn me for cutting on my bedroom floor instead of being bothered to clear and wipe the table. It took me so long to lay and cut the pieces too, precisely because I was contorting myself above them while precariously crouching on the floor to cut and kept moving the fabric around with my elbows/ knees/ feet. Gah.

F) Despite this, I have still made several pattern adaptations in the name of learning! I did the FBA, which I was very proud of, but forgot about my side dart when constructing the bodice and very nearly left it out (to be fair it isn't in the sewalong which I have been relying on as a beginner).  So I did it in a rush and am a bit worried my darts are unbalanced. Erk. 

G) I also decided to try French seams for the first time, because people are always praising them. But because of my whacky pattern cutting when I'd finished there were great tufts of seam scrap coming through! So I tried to undo and start again with my seam ripper and only went and tore a hole in the back bodice fabric. The because of this I had to trim off the mess on one side while getting rid of the damaged piece so have made my sleeve narrower. ARG. 

So now I have to recut my back bodice on one side, match up the darts, and remember to make sure that the sleeve has a very tight seam so it's not too much smaller than the one on the other side. This all points to me being that extra-stupid kind of lazy where you cut corners that mean you have to spend twice as long doing whatever it is you need to do. 

I guess it's all a learning experience, but I'm not too sure I'm actually going to get a wearable garment out of this! This is why people make muslins I guess (as well as for the fit, and as I've hardly got anywhere that is still anyone's guess!). At least the fabric I bought was cheap- around £3 or £4 a metre.

So that's me signing off for now. Hoping to have more time and luck later and actually have something to show next time I post!

NorseOtter xx

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