21 April 2013

Finally Getting To It

October 2011 was a long time ago. I've been reading since then, but haven't blogged any of it. And my sewing machine was very frustrating; it was so old I that I struggled to get the feet that I needed to do the Shirtmaking techniques, and it was starting to not sew very well. Now I have a new machine, so I'm coming back to the book that I'd previously selected. I'm still getting to know my new machine, and the projects in Stitch By Stitch are considerably simpler than trying to make a mens' dress shirt, so that's where I'm starting. Plus, I now have a baby daughter to sew for, and that's just fun. With the additional benefit that baby clothes are so small as to almost be sampler projects.

The first project in Stitch By Stitch is a simple sampler. Just make a row of all your stitches. I've been sewing for long enough not to get excited about that. Plus, my sewing time is precious, and I want to be working on a real project. I skipped the sampler. But I do want to see what my various decorative stitches look like, so I keep an eye peeled for an opportunity to try them out. Like here, where I hemmed this dress I'm making with a flower, rather than a plain straight stitch. Turned out cute!

The second project is to make a "thread drawing." That's machine appliqué, and it turns out that I'm finding it relatively challenging. First, I made my canvas. This will be a little onsie-dress when it's finished, and I put a butterfly near the hem on the front. Just getting to this point had me trying new things. I've already played with the satin stitch on my machine some. This time, I didn't set the stitches quite as tight as I have on other things. I think I'll keep them just a bit more tight in the future; I like a denser outline. I also used a little Wonder-Under to attach my butterfly. That' cool stuff. I now have Plans.

Next, I traced my stencil onto a scrap and tried the machine embroidery. That's trickier than it sounds! My book says to just grab some thread, lower the feed-dogs, and go. But it didn't turn out so hot. I think the technique has potential. There's some really beautiful "thread painting" out there. But my fabric kept puckering. I suspected that the tension was too much, but didn't know exactly what was going on. Whatever it was, I'm clearly not ready to do the Real Thing just yet.

I turned to Pinterest, and found a couple tutorials, which I saved for future reference. I got some good pointers, including that I may need to adjust my tension to make the embroidery turn out. However. All the online tutorials I looked at agreed: I need a hoop to hold my cloth taut for me. I dug around, but I couldn't find one, so before I can go further I need to go get one. I'm thinking that it shouldn't need to be anything simple, so long as it holds the fabric nicely. We'll see. I'll do another sample to make sure that I can actually do this before I mess with the cute skirt that I've got started. I want that to actually turn out useable. If I can make this work, in spite of it being a first project (I don't hold myself to a very high standard on my first project; there's generally too much learning going on to get super hung up if it doesn't turn out perfect.), it'll turn out cute. Hopefully by doing my experimenting on scrap fabric I can get that learning out of the way and have a nice first project. I'd like that.
If all goes well I'll have this dress done and on my little Tigress here in the next couple of days!