Sunday, November 2, 2014

All Over the Map

I've been on a bit of a sewing jag, among other things.

I made a dress on Thursday.
It's slightly experimental, using fabric from the stash and redrafting the side panels for integral pockets. Turned out fine, even though I did NOT match the stripes. It's clearly not haute couture (there may be haute couture hippie dresses, but that seems silly), and I'm fine with that.

Back in the nineties I was sewing around ninety percent of my clothes, even bathing suits and unmentionables on occasion. I looked into support undergarments (ok, bras) but it seemed like a rather exacting undertaking and besides, there would be no way to make them seamless without sophisticated machinery so I didn't go down that path.

I sewed a lot, and I was very efficient. I could make a pair of pleated dress pants in an evening and wear them to work the next day.

I was sewing in part because I could, in part to make what I wanted in the fabrics I wanted, in part because of the cost, but after a while I realized that I wasn't enjoying it all that much and that I'd much rather be knitting or spinning, so I largely stopped, though it took a while for my fabric purchases to slow to the same extent.

At this point I have a decent fabric stash.

I have a very nice sewing machine, frankly more machine than I've ever needed (or perhaps it didn't do quite what I'd hoped - or perhaps I never gained proficiency) and also became accustomed to a serger. I like the insides of my garments to not be embarrassing, in the same way that I like my pendants to be attractive on the underneath because they will at some point flip over.

My serger is fiddly, or possibly I'm insufficiently careful with it, as I was forever taking it to be readjusted, and after the last time that it refused to sew more than a couple of inches without the thread breaking, I went back to the old ways (zig-zag on the regular machine after trimming) of finishing edges but not happily.

I had bookmarked a few websites where they discuss repairing/readjusting sergers and yesterday, having finished the dress and considering some silk in the stash, a serger seemed appropriate (zig-zagging the edges of this silk would create bulk and I'm so over Hong Kong seams) so I dug up the bookmarks and lit into the serger.

It was completely seized up. The motor made a noise but after a very short time nothing would move.

It's got to be eighteen years old and for the price of two more adjustments I could buy a new one, and so I did.
It's not fancy (like the dead one) and doesn't thread itself (like the dead one), but it worked right out of the box without much fiddling, so I'm happy again.

I'd hoped to get my shirt finished by Saturday night, but I didn't.

I did get to see Ira Glass (One Radio Host, Two Dancers, in Three Acts) which was wonderful. I confess to having a bit of a crush on him - he's cute, nerdy, slightly awkward, articulate...yeah. But the show was very good, really!

I really should have been beading today because I'm pretty sure that a week away from class proposals I do not have enough for eight weeks, but apparently I needed to do other things.

For example, my daughter's old room needs painting.
Apart from being a rather bilious pale pink, it's also the room of a former teenager who used scotch tape with abandon. The tape that she peeled off has left sticky streaks that have gathered dirt, but the bulk of it remains stuck to the walls, invisible unless viewed from an angle, and integral until an attempt is made to prise it off, at which point it crumbles.

Prep will take rather longer than I had hoped.

In addition, I discovered something nasty.

One wall has always had a discoloured section that I suspected masked some cracking.

My suspicion was conformed when great swathes of the surface, no longer stuck to the wall, cracked off when I worried at it with a putty knife. I'm pretty sure I can fix it (there's a great bucket of Joint Compound in my basement) and I'm pretty sure I can avoid the area of discolouration because I, unlike the previous fixer, have primer, but it's yet another step in the prep I must do before painting.

My plans are simple: neutral walls (and door and closet doors, sigh), jute rug, natural linen soft furnishings (I think I might make a simple slip-cover for a chair which was never all that successful) and possibly a small table or dresser or the like. When my daughter comes to visit it should be at least halfway decent, right?

And oh yes, I finished the shirt.
I think it's necktie silk actually.

Some years ago there was a really excellent fabric store (which had a large online presence and more than adequate brick-and-mortar incarnation too) that was less than half a block from one of the worst jobs I've ever had, and for reasons vague and seemingly bogus, it was decided to close the brick-and-mortar store.  I was upset, the people who worked there were upset, and so in a show of solidarity (ok, total self-indulgence) I went there every day at lunchtime and bought something, anything.

The three fabrics used in the shirt were from a shipment of Italian silk and represent about a quarter of what I bought of that shipment. Maybe less. I made two skirts and two shirts and I have enough for another couple of shirts I think.

So it turns out that sewing doesn't really hurt my hands, unless I try to use blunt scissors on thick fabric, and the fabric stash is still consequential, so there might be a bit more sewing in my future. Or room-painting or beading or whatever.

I wish there was more Ira to tell the truth. That was fun.

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