Sunday, June 29, 2008

don't pick up the red phone just yet

I have a friend whose father was some kind of operative. CIA, something covert like that. My friend never knew for sure, because if his father had blabbed the details, he wouldn't have made a very good operative. The one portentous clue about his father's job was a special red phone that was kept away from the family, in his father's study. Whenever his father went to answer that phone, my friend knew Dad was headed for a mission.

If you've got such a red phone, and you were thinking about using it to call the IMF for me, hold off a minute.

Mission: Cut out 2 shirts + 3 pairs of pants. Begin sewing 1 shirt.
Accomplished: Cut out 2 shirts + 3 pairs of pants. Completely sewed 1 shirt. Went to dinner at a friend's house and had myself a gay old time.

There's no crying in sewing. What there is is strategizing. If you mean business in terms of getting work done, and you're new to the game, you've got to get over yourself and try time-saving techniques. Back in the day, when we were learning how to cut in sewing class, Natalie asked if you were making multiples of one garment, couldn't you just stack up the fabric and cut out all the same pieces at once. Our teacher said yes, and I winced. My balls shrank to the size of peanuts at the thought of taking that much risk.

Today I had to lay it all on the line. For the pants, I cut the back piece out of 2 fabrics at the same time. Emboldened, I then cut the fronts out of 3 fabrics, which was 6 layers. Nerve-jangling, yes, because had I effed up I would've effed up a monstrous amount of fabric, so I had to pay very, very close attention to what I was doing. Which is not a bad thing.

While paying so much attention, I noticed something. Check it out.

Some patterns use different line formations to indicate different sizes. That's hot.

Once I had my pants pieces cut and marked (I've typically had trouble with marking. There's so much going every which-a-way on patterns that I miss stuff, or just skip something because I don't know what it means, but I've read "match at dots" and been dotless one time too many, so today I was a marking fool), I worked on my shirt, and it went so much smoother than the one I made yesterday (the brown one). Something my sewing teacher used to say was that every time we have a chance to make a pattern more than once, we should do it. It's the best way to cement learning. She was right, as ever.

I was utterly in the dark with the brown shirt. I'm telling you, before I started sewing, and sewing more garments, which is only recently, I never gave a thought to the way clothes come together. When this shirt pattern called for single fold bias tape, it could've been to tie a bow on the pocket for all I knew. Turns out, it was to finish the back of the neck, and it's only visible inside. Well shave my head and call me Baldy. Now it seems so obvious.

I'm happy with the way these shirts are turning out. They're New Look 6634. I'm diggin' the New Look vibe. It's mostly understandable. The fabric, cotton batik from Jo-Ann's, is obedient, crisp, and cool. It's a delight to work with. I have one more print, the goldish colored one, to use for the last shirt. These surgical scrub-cum-casual wear tops aren't for me. I've blabbed on longer than I intended, so I'll share the recipient, and the sewing of the rest of what I cut, in another post.


Adrienne said...

Well go ahead with your bad self!!!

Ellen Bloom said...

Nice work, Carlita! These look like Dr. shirts!

I've used the same pattern for Larry's sportshirts for over 15 years! My pattern is falling apart, I've used it so often. Where is that pattern, anyway? You are inspiring me to find it, get out my machine and start sewing again!!!

laurie said...

Those look awesome!! I am so happy you picked out bias tape in contrasting colors, that makes the garment look so cool!

Hey Faith and I were talking about sewing the other day and I passed along my favorite pattern tip to her (learned it when I was a kid, as po' people know how to make a favorite pattern last) you just iron some very light fusible interfacing to the pattern tissue, and it becomes durable enough to re-use it one billion times. We used to use wax paper back when it had wax in it, but now you can get interfacing so cheap and it works better. Then the tissue never tears.

I love the batik. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Good Work Carla.

And Laurie, that is one freakin great tip! said...

i want a jumpsuit! with silver buttons going down my back!

btw, those are some fly shirts!