I'd throw up both my hands and holler, but I'm too tired August 2, 2008 17:01 6 Comments
I thought I would be excited. I thought I would be gleeful. I thought I would be exultant. I thought I would be skipping around the house with joy. Dancing on the ceiling in Christian Louboutins. I thought. Oh. Yes. I thought.
But what I am is tired. Exhausted. It took me 3 hours and 50 minutes to iron my (admittedly) cheap cotton muslin and cut it out. That's, yes, three hours and 50 minutes to cut out my simple 5-piece pattern and iron my fabric. You understood. Your comprehension is there. Gold star. (Oh how I love Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. And how.) And I wanna show, I wanna show my appreciation . . .
Yes, that's 5 pieces. And, no, they were not easy. Thank goodness there was no chicken involved.
I did learn some things. The bed is not a good place to cut out a pattern. I repeat: The bed is not a good place to cut out a pattern. Not even when simply used as the support for a cheesy cardboard cutting board. Too wide. Much. The sewing books are right. Go figure.
And there must be something better than my ancient Dritz cutting board, which I've had since I was a teen. It's not stable. It skitters about like a pine needle on a windy day. Further, pins and cardboard don't mix. They’re not exactly oil and water. But still. And no lookin’ back for us . . .
I also learned that I do indeed need a better iron than our little Black & Decker. It does not do the job. Not even close. Even after an hour-and-a-half of ironing. (I watched both the CBS and NBC evening news. Oh, sweetie, I am so well-informed. Yes. There is still tea in China.) But, alas, my fabric still has wrinkles. Despite sprinkling liberally with water. Despite steam, pitifully weak though it was.
And I learned that sometimes stopping and doing a few yoga poses is a good thing. A very good thing. Excellent panacea for the aching back that leaning over the bed can cause. Especially the reclining hero and child’s poses. They give one the strength to go on. I highly recommend them. Keep that yoga mat close by when sewing. This I have learned.
But I do have a question. Or two. So, most knowledgeable dressmakers, answer. Please. After all, I want to be able to wear this frock. Not ship it off to Goodwill with the discarded humidifier and old true crime books.
1. I seem to be unable to cut a smooth line. (And my teacher was so proud of me back in kindergarten, because I had a natural gift for that. A talent lost. Or misplaced. Kleenex, please.) Will those little jags spoil the finished garment, or muslin in this case?
2. I also went inside the lines a couple of times. (And this so disappoints me when I am inspecting patterns for The Blue Gardenia http://www.thebluegardenia.com. Careless seamstress, I have been known to mutter. More than once. More than twice. More than three times, in fact.) Is my muslin ruined? Must I start over? Please say no. Puhleeze. My lower back screams in agony at the thought. Loudly. Insistently.
So. Let me know your thoughts. Share, please. Please. I intend to stitch this up tomorrow. If I finish my paperwork, that is. I hate paperwork. Ugh. Ugh. Makes me wanna holler, throw up both my hands . . . Drat. Drat squared.
Fingers crossed. Send those positive thoughts my way. And all that.
Dawn on May 20, 2015 11:09
What good advice you have here! I agree to use this as a learning moment!
I am terribly impatient (which is why I stick to costuming!) I have jagged edges on all my garments, and they are none the worse for it. Of course, you want to be careful on your real fabric, but even then, most things clean up during the finishing process.
I also cut off the lines all time. Again, just take care that your seam lines are straight for the more narrow sections.
You are doing great—can’t wait to see!
Kim on May 20, 2015 11:09
All is not lost! Your slightly jagged cuts have not ruined your garment. And slightly cutting inside the lines also has not rendered this project as a total failure. Buck up and persevere!
This is a learning experience. You have learned how NOT to cut out a garment. You have learned you need a Rowenta iron. You have learned how cutting out is THE most important part of the process and for most sewers, this is not our favorite part.
I say, continue on and see what else you learn. Even if it isn’t a total success, you will learn so many other things that you don’t want to do next time. You’ll never learn to play if you don’t get into the game.
A word of advice for the future: if the fabric is wrinkly even after all your careful pressing efforts, you might want to use different fabric before cutting out. Why be frustrated? Spend the money on fabric that behaves!
Good luck and I can’t wait to see your progress!
Ms. D on May 20, 2015 11:09
Oh, I’m so sorry. I do have a couple of comments based on your experience. The dining room table is a better place for layouts. Use the cardboard to protect the table finish. Otherwise, use the floor.
Pinning: I use lots of pins! Place your pins perpendicular to and inside the cutting line of your pattern. Place a pin at each corner and then fill it so that they are 3-4 inches apart. Use the width of your hand as a guide. Using to few pins makes cutting harder.
Cutting: I “rough cut” each piece out of the whole cloth before carefully trimming. This way I can place the entire single piece flat and in front of me as I carefully cut along the lines. The rough cut is quick as I lean ALL the way over the table. This saves my back a lot of wear and tear.
In general, I iron the cloth and pin in one session, then cut on the second day. That way any problems or issues roll about in my brain for a day and I can usually resolve them easily by waiting. Mostly, I catch my own mistakes in layouts by waiting, it’s amazing what a fresh outlook will give you.
Comment from a previous post: I generally use a Rowenta iron with lots of steam.
Take your time and enjoy your new sewing adventure.
Susan on May 20, 2015 11:09
You are too cute! No, your muslin is not ruined. It is after all a muslin. It is the sewing that counts. Make sure your seams are straight and on the seamline. If you were at all straight on your cutting your eye automatically adjusts to the slight ins and outs of your cutting.
And please don’t ever cut on the bed again. I only did it once out of needing to keep something oh so secret but, oh, my aching back!
Pretty Jane on May 20, 2015 11:09
Kitchen island: Yes! DR table: Yes! Hardwood floor: in a pinch.
Pinning is an art, and shouldn’t be underestimated. Parallel to the cut line and INSIDE is indeed the correct methodology, and one of the few places I refuse to ever cut corners. At some point, depending on how hardcore you want to be, consider a rotary cutter—much more exact, but it does require a special mat and takes a little getting used to. If using scissors, keep in mind that “scissors” is plural: you’ve actually got TWO blades articulating against one another. You know how, when you get your hair did, the hairdresser seems to hold one half of the scissors steady and cut AGAINST it with the other half? That’s how we should all—ideally—be cutting our patterns. Hold the lower blade as level against the surface as you can, and articulate the upper against it, slicing through the fabric in between. You’ll get less “wiggling” and thus fewer chewed spots on your edges.
DON’T recut your muslin, for heaven’s sake! But DO make a note for yourself of where your seam allowance was, shall we say, compromised during the cutting process so you can take that into account as you make adjustments later.
It’s gonna be AWESOME, homie. Fear not. These are but minor setbacks on the road to Rock.
Petunia on May 20, 2015 11:09
What they said, especially what Ms D said about the pins.
I use a kitchen counter (island) that’s the right height and width for pinning and cutting.
But yes, you have learned a whole lot about what not to do, and that’s okay! Keep going! We’re so proud of you!