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Adventures in amateur sewing

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Tanks for everything: the Aurora top

Pattern: Aurora tank by Seamwork

Skills acquired: 

  • Double needle for knit
  • Installing a walking foot

Hello sew blog my old friend.

This past summer, running was my life as I was training for my first marathon (as seen in my other blog). It was almost impossible to find time to sew. The good news is that I’ve been sewing quite a lot in the last month, so I’m hoping to be able to carve out some time to write about my projects.

Amidst all the training, I was actually able to complete one project over the summer – the Aurora tank top by Seamwork patterns. On top of everything else, I also got a new job this September, so I never got around to writing about this project. I had picked this particular pattern due to it’s simplicity – only 3 pieces to cut out and Seamwork patterns are known for their quickness to assemble. All are supposed to take under 2 hours. I worked on this in pieces of time that I could find here and there, but I’m pretty sure the 2 hours is accurate.

The walking foot! It was kind of a pain to put on as I had to take a few things apart to install, but worked pretty well in the end.

The only thing that was really challenging was trying to use a double knit needle. I had threaded a double needle before when I was making my corduroy pants and I remember sewing on that fabric felt perfectly normal. I’m not sure why I was having such a hard time doing the same on knit – it felt a lot more difficult. Material kept bunching up and sewing in a straight line was totally impossible. I had to unpick and redo a few sections, as it kept puckering in parts. With all the difficulties I kept having in keeping the stitching an even tension, I decided to try one more thing – my walking foot.

I had only used it for one other project – where the material was thick and stretchy and didn’t move well through the machine. This time, I decided to use it to keep the stitching more even – it would get tight in some parts and much looser in others. I’m wondering if there is some big trick that I am totally missing.

So much bunching! Trying to double needle this thing was not easy.

It took some extra time to install as it is more involved than just popping feet on and off. I actually had to unscrew a piece off – but I actually remembered how to do this despite only having done it one other time before. I think it did make a difference in how the material moved through the machine and my stitches were a lot cleaner, even though they never ended up perfect. I also probably need practice as I noticed the 2nd armhole came out better than the first. I was running low on time, so the imperfections would have to stand – I’m still pretty pleased with the result. Definitely something I can wear on those hot summer days when I barely want to wear clothes at all.

The back yoke has a really nice pleat that I think really makes the top! I would definitely make this top again…when the weather gets warm again.

Well that is all I have time for right now. Stay tuned for some of my fall/winter makes – coming soon to a blog near you!

and I feel meh


The year ending 2016 – a look back

Everywhere you read, 2016 was a bad year for many people.  Celebrity deaths, elections with bad outcomes, unusual weather…it is definitely a year people love to hate.  I happen to agree, as 2016 wasn’t my year either.  Losing my job caused my depression to come back, mixed with some horrible anxiety and panic attacks.  I ended my summer with an epic ankle sprain that is still giving me problems.  Even as things improved the second half of the year, there was a lot of disappointments, difficulties and stress.  These last few months have been pretty stable, but I find it more comforting to call the whole year a wash and just keep looking to 2017.  It really can’t come fast enough.

But before I say goodbye (or good riddance), I thought it might be a good idea to reflect on my makes from the past year.  At first I was afraid this might be a waste of time since it feels like I got nothing accomplished this year.  At least not as much as I wanted to.  But looking back at all the projects I did complete, I noticed that I did actually get more done than I thought.  So here is a look back on some of the most impactful projects of the year.

Greatest Sense of Accomplishment: Fleece Vest

fleece vest-front

Of all my makes, this one really Continue reading

Back yoke


Striking a new corduroy: part 1

Pattern: McCalls M6610IMG_1028

New skills acquired:

  • Flat-Felled Seams
  • Double Needle Action

I’ve been kind of down on my sewing lately.  Things are just not coming out as nice as I want them and it’s been a frustrating few weeks.  This could be why I haven’t been writing in my blog  – I have been working on projects, but have no feelings of satisfaction.  Also, it seems most visitors are getting to my blog by searching for “amateur in bikini” but that is another issue.

For the past few months I have been piecing together some corduroy pants, which I am affectionately naming Grape-Cord.  I am using a blue jean pattern that I have actually made a muslin of way back in the early days of my blog.  My biggest accomplishment to date is the fact that I can now spell corduroy without looking it up.  No, just kidding, I’m having some wins on these.

What is working…

Drafting a new pattern for a better fit

1. Adjusting the pattern for size

I have big hips and big thighs.  There, I said it.  It makes jean shopping a frustrating task that usually ends in tears and typical sewing patterns for bottoms don’t work so well.  I end up making the size for my measurements and the crotch ends up around my knees.  So I decided to try to adjust the pattern on this one.  I added a good Continue reading