First off, I guess the big news I alluded to last week is that I’m going to Japan in July! It’s been a dream for years, and I’m finally making it happen. That said, I sort of panicked as soon as I booked my tickets. Over everything. One part of “everything” was clothes – I don’t really have anything spring/summer colored in my wardrobe, which hasn’t ever bothered me a whole lot here, but for some reason the idea of international travel without appropriate clothing freaked me out? I dunno man, blame my anxiety.
Anyway, since I’m not buying any clothes this year, that has to be remedied by making them, and given my recent timeline for making a single garment (one every, six weeks or so) I decided I had to step up my game if I want to have a few new things for July.
I sat down on Monday night with some whiskey and the Seamwork catalog (I’m a subscriber and had 12 credits built up, so I figured it was a good way to keep my costs for this crazy project to just fabric and notions) and plotted out my next few months:
- York, part 2. I had a spring-y material in some kind of polyester from Goodwill that I figured would be perfect for this. Minor broad upper back adjustment to help with fit.
- Manila, probably 2 versions. I know it’s going to be humid and I’m hoping leggings will keep my legs from sticking to bus/train seats (or each other). Alternatively it could be too ungodly hot for leggings and I’ll go bare-legged anyway. Who can say? If I have them there I can wear them or not.
- Akita. I have at least two types of fabric I can make this from in my stash, and who can resist something that says one hour? (It will take me more than an hour, guaranteed, but hopefully not weeks.) Not sure the cap sleeves are going to be flattering, but we’ll see.
I would love to make the Arden dress in time, but I’m sort of thinking that separates will give me more options in less packing space.
I also have ambitions toward the Margot PJ pants from Tilly and the Buttons‘ book, because my PJ situation is dire and I’m hosteling it through Japan so other people will actually see my PJs, and also toward a new bra because it’s time, but those are lower priority than the numbered bits above.
Since I had the pattern already cut out and tested for York, that was an easy place to start this week.
Step 1 was to make those broad back adjustments:
This seemed super easy. Add extra width, smooth the line down to the waist on the side and true up the shoulder seam. The back shoulder would need a little tuck to make it fit the front shoulder, but that is easy peasy. The whole pattern adjustment took maybe 30 minutes. I added some extra width at the hips, too, in the hopes I could avoid leaving the side seams open (I failed – still not quite wide enough lol).
After the pattern was all adjusted, I cut out the fabric (so much easier with this fabric than the last fabric) and started sewing. And because I hate myself, I decided to do Hong Kong seams on the whole damn shirt this time.
I didn’t wind up taking a whole lot of in-progress pics, but I did make a lot of progress.
I just have the hemming left to do. And topstitching the cuff seam down, because I missed that step.
Also I french seamed the armholes, which I am stupidly pleased with.
I even got the straps in the back to fold in on themselves and make a real cord! It was a terrible pain in the ass, as was the entirety of the bound neckline. This fabric doesn’t want to take a crease very well, so I gave up on folding and pressing my bias tape into a double fold and just tried to stitch very carefully on the 1/4″ line around the neckline and then fold it over from there.
Of course, that necessitated stitching from the back side to make sure I was catching the edge of the bias tape underneath, which means the front looks like this:
Yeah, it’s not ideal. I’m still going back and forth on whether I want to take it out and redo it. If I do it again I’ll probably do it by hand, because at the speed I was going I might as well have been stitching the thing by hand.
Meanwhile, that broad back pattern adjustment? Did not quite work out as intended. It does feel like it’s not binding quite as badly, but now there’s a weird fold from my back shoulder tuck down to the back of the arm that forms this little pocket that I don’t like. I’m almost wondering if I shouldn’t just have added extra width across the whole back instead of just the upper back? I’ll have to play around with it if I make the shirt again.
Cool Sewing Machine Stuff
Oh hey, I almost forgot! Meet Elsie:
Elsie was my other grandmother’s old (much older) sewing machine. This picture was supposed to be of the really interesting bobbin winding mechanism, but you can only barely see the thread. It’s more like what I’ve seen on some of the old Singers in YouTube vids.
(Elsie is named after my grandmother’s favorite sister, who died in a car crash in the 1940s, because again, naming things after my grandmothers themselves seems weird, but naming them after their favorite people is… somehow… not?)
I decided to tackle the tension problems on my machines before I got sewing this week. The Brother machine that I’d given up on during my last York because of tension problems was magically working fine again. I think she just didn’t want to touch that fabric anymore and called it quits. Last time I tested Elsie I couldn’t figure out what was up with her tension either, but this time I figured out that it was just the bobbin tension that was too tight, so I loosened the bobbin case screw a bit and suddenly she has the cleanest stitches out of any of my active machines. Yes!
The only remaining weirdness with Elsie is that the belt I got to replace her very old, very falling apart belt is just a touch too big – it’s the larger of two sizes that would fit her, and I should have gone with the smaller one. Most of the time it’s fine, but every so often the smaller gear won’t actually catch the belt and the needle won’t move.
I also figured out a zig-zag feature that is pretty neat – you can set the market on the right to a higher number and leave the lower marker where it is, and then you can use your thumb to adjust the width of the zig-zag between those two values while you’re sewing, which is pretty badass. You could do some really neat decorative stitches with it, if you could consistently sew a straight line (I’m still working on that, haha).
I sort of low-key freaked out about turning the heel on these socks for a good two days. And then I was like “Ok, Miranda, blog entry time is coming up, just figure out how to do the damn heel.”
The written instructions seriously looked like gibberish, like I had some mental block against processing them, so I went to YouTube. YouTube was not as helpful as I wanted, because I’d already finished the full gusset one way. I wasn’t going to take it out and do a different style of gusset and heel turn just because I’m hyperventilating over how to do this stupid heel turn. (Why, anxiety, why?)
Finally I found what is apparently known as a Fleegle heel, which has the same gusset setup as I’d already done, and which is… exactly the same heel turn I’m used to on top down socks, with the minor change of doing the last purl decrease row on the way back around the round. Exactly the same heel turn I’ve been doing for years. Seriously. My brain.
Anyway it looks totally different:
Left is the Fleegle heel on a toe-up sock, right is a top-down sock I made years ago. You can see the little heel turn triangle on both of them, just with different orientations. Now I’m onto the leg, and discovering that the mock honeycomb pattern is harder to pull off in the round. I am probably going to have a weird little jog at the start of the row, but it’s unlikely anyone will notice but me.
Goals for next week:
- Finish hemming the 2nd york shirt. Figure out if I’m going to redo the neckline or not. (Probably yes, because the other seams are so tidy!)
- The first Akita shirt, because I’ve already printed the pattern.
- Finish the honeycomb socks?
This… could be too ambitious, but I guess we’ll find out!