Yeah…sew?

Sewing.jpg

This is TheMan’s Artsy Fartsy documentation picture of my 1337 sewing 5K1LLz. *chucklesnort*

So yesterday was lesson one in Zen and the art of teaching boo what the hell is sewing. I had no idea it was such a complicated thing! WhoooBOY is there much more to it than 1. get you some fabric, 2. cut some stuff out, 3. slap it together with thread. Nooooooo! Step 1 is “mosey up to a table full of back breaking pattern tomes and become friendly enough with them so that everyone is on a first name basis.” There seem to be at least three if not four major companies and they all have large-huge toddler squashing books of pattern madness, plus the seasonal supplements (which may or may not also be included in the giant catalog. Of doom). DQ sat me down with these critters and promptly took off with lingering instructions to “look through them and find what I am looking for”.

Well, OK then, but what was I looking for exactly? Hmmmmm! We came with a plan of finding some awfully snappy pants like the ones a coworker was wearing and a nice full swirly skirt. DQ already had the Hawaiian shirt pattern so that project was temporarily shelved until stage two (Finding The Material. Yes, that does come with its own reverb) but a snappy pants pattern and a swirly skirt pattern had to be located. So down I sat and leafed through a myriad of pen and ink/watercolor sketches of the finished product. Oh sure, there were pictures too (for most of the stuff. Kind of) but the pattern books are awfully fond of the rendered stuff so there was quite a bit of it. I hate sketches. I want to see what the thing looks like, not sort of see what the thing might look like if it were pen and ink and water color. I don’t do so well with general idea when I have a specific thought in mind. Never the less, I thought I had found snappy pants and swirly skirt so I showed off my picks to DQ when she came back. Look! Snappy! Swirly!

Would they do? Were they in my size? What IS my size? I do not know. I switched over to men’s jeans a while back because I got tired of trying to fit my long ass legs and big ass butt into the women’s dumb ass styling system. Nothing ever fits in either gender choice but men’s jeans are at least long enough to look like I’m not wearing last year’s floods. Unfortunately, there is about a three inch gap at the waist (which I say Whooo! Because the legs! They are long! Look! No, not at the giant space where I can fit my belly AND an entire grapefruit, the pants! At my feet! You see that? Look, bends IN the fabric! Whooo! Watch this, here I am WALKING on the cuffs of my jeans! That hasn’t happened since I was 4!) which I forgot about so for a very brief moment I was wearing a size 24W when DQ converted the size over. THAT was disconcerting. I know my butt is bountiful, but it ain’t 24W bountiful! Once I remembered to subtract the grapefruit we decided to go with 16-18ish. One of those should work, we found the patterns and were off to STAGE TWO.

One would think that finding material would be a piece o’ cake right? The hard part should be finding what to do and then lickity bamn, snag your cool fabric and blow the joint. Au contraire! You can’t just willy nilly grab fabric, what if you wind up with light weight shirt fabric for pants? This will just not do! You can’t grab this fabric either because it is frnoozle zap and that fabric is way to murglespling and while you could go with the other fabric over there, you might end up with a gagleplortz in your machine. Really, that’s what it sounded like to me. Material is not just material, folks. That which you can make a shirt out of might not hold up as a pair of pants and that which you could make a pair of pants out of might be too unwieldy to become a shirt. And that stuff over there? Will completely gum up your sewing machine. I think my brain melted.

We spent an incredible amount of time looking for good fabrics which was much harder than I thought. I found some vastly fun micro-suede which I fell instantly in love with. Sahweeet! We were inseparable until I read the washing instructions: Dry clean only. Dry clean? Forget that! Like high school sweethearts, the fling was over as fast as it had begun. I love you, micro-suede but you are too high maintenance for me. I hope you do find your somebody soon though, you are a sweet fabric and deserve someone who can care for you more than I can. There was the fabric that was too shiny, a fabric that was too boring (you can NOT have snappy pants in plain brown. Then you just have pants and there for, by definition, they are not snappy), a fabric that didn’t have enough on the bolt, and on and on. Finally, we found snappy pants, swirly skirt and Halloween Hawaiian shirt worthy choices, got the accessories (including electric lime green buttons and thread. Stylin!) and we were outta there!

Oh yeah, mumses? I picked up the usual little sumptin’ seasonally very wrong for you and Mr. Paul. Heh!

We got home, did a Taco Hell run (because somebody mentioned tacos and DQ lives just two houses down from the (crankiest) taco bell) and I started in on my project! Or rather, I sat around while the bats (for we decided the shirt was to be my first project) had a bit of a spin in the washer and then a tumble in the dryer. The waiting time was not spent idle, though. No, I acquainted myself with the world of pattern instructions. After figuring out that “salvage” indicated the long ends of the fabric and not that some international search crew could claim rights to my shirt I got the general idea of what was to come. The coolest part was that the pattern has a visual lay out that tells how to cut the pieces in the most economic way. They even take into account if you have a fabric with a nap (a particular way the fibers lie, not – as I supposed – a sleepy fabric. Hey, I don’t mind of the fabric takes a snooze or not, heck I encourage all fabrics to curl up with a good blankie every now and then. It’s good to find a kindred soul in your clothing) or a pattern or particular bolt size or whatever else you could possibly cook up. Cool!

We got out the Cutting and Other Things in Which You Might Need a Huge Table For table, shook out the fabric, folded it and I was in business. Except, my fabric was too short widthwise. Wah. So then I was introduced to the miracle of IRONING and lo! After ironing the entire three yards (which is a LOT to iron!) the folded fabric was wide enough to fit the pattern. Huh. I set to work pinning the bits onto the cloth, getting wrinkles in it, pinning it again, finding that my salvage edges weren’t even, pinning a third time, getting more wrinkles and generally having a really mediocre “slapping the pattern on the fabric” time. At least I did not have to cut this one out (DQ had already done so). After all was said and done, I found that I had my bits pinned on backwards from the fabric fold. I figured so long as the bits that needed to go on the fold (which totaled one bit) were where they were supposed to be and the bits that needed to be backwards were backwards, no harm done. DQ mentioned that most patterns are fairly forgiving, I’m just hoping this one is the Mother Teresa of fabrics cuz DAMN!

Buying, washing and pinning took until after 10pm. Heh, I is a tad slow what with the wrinkles and the whatnot but everything is on where it should be, I hope, and there is about a yard left over for something else! Or whoops. Either or, not so bad. Next Tuesday, perhaps, I shall begin the steps of cutting. Ooooo! We shall see how well or poorly I did the pinning. After all, the shirt will at least be “as nice as it can be”.


Last year at the booniverse: It’s sort of like rolling a blanket; if you start with the back legs of a cat and tuck them up against the cat’s belly and continue rolling the cat until you get to the head then you have achieved Ball of Cat.

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