Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Challenge Update

I can't believe it's only one more day until the holiday weekend. I need more time! The house needs another top-to-bottom cleaning before Sunday when we will hold luncheon for both sides of the family. Granted, it's only nine guests, but it's still a big deal.

Also, I'm not done with my Holiday Challenge to make handmade presents for loved ones, challenge being the operative word. I've only finished two people's presents -- TWO! -- and I can't believe how long that took. The circle scarf (using this tutorial) is done, but some hair-pulling was involved due to the fact that the knit cloth I bought for it shrank in the wash. I honestly thought I was measuring wrong, and I turned the unwieldy cloth every which way over my ruled cutting mat. Eventually I just bit the bullet and sewed it, and thankfully it doesn't choke you when you double it around your neck; otherwise my brother would kill me if his new wife suffocated from wearing my present! And: it's quite cozy and warm!

The second thing I managed to finish was a lounge-shirt-and-pants set for my nephew, and really, that should count as two because each piece took forever to make. Or maybe they should count as a hundred because I was working with stretchy knit fabric that was pretty dang difficult to manage. There was crying involved, my friends. No joke: I actually broke down and cried. My lack of experience led to a lot of frustration particularly when making the pants. I couldn't figure out how to sew the inseam because the edges simply didn't match up. I thought there was something wrong with the pattern in the book I used, Sewing for Boys. Since my experience has mostly been with sewing skirts, I wasn't used to sewing the asymmetrical pieces together. Same thing with the shirt pattern that I made; how in the world was I supposed to sew together those curvy edges that didn't match??? Especially when it was supposed to be sewed with the same continuous seam allowance??? Let's just say that the seams on the inside are not pretty. So folks, when it says "Beginner" on various patterns in the book, don't believe it. The instructions aren't very thorough because most of the book is really not aimed at "beginners." So the things that stumped me -- all of the asymmetrical edges being sewed together -- weren't explained and no tips or tricks were offered. Honestly, you'd be better off with the various DIY tutorials online, usually on people's I found out too late.

(If you're interested, here are three tutorials on making children's pants that I found. Lots of explanations and lots of photos to help you figure things out if the words aren't clear. One. Two. Three -- this last comes with a free pattern if you need it.)

Instead of sewing on a tag or doing nothing, I sewed these rosettes (rather, my machine sewed them) to indicate the backside of each piece. I think they're subtle but pretty.

I've got three more items to sew in the next couple of days, and at the rate I'm going, I'll probably still be sewing on Xmas day, when my family comes to visit. Obviously, there is no way I can finish all of the gifts I planned to make by then, so my friends' kids will simply have to wait until after Xmas to get their presents. That's actually the way it usually happens; I believe I'll stick to that particular tradition this year.

xo, Gladys

P.S. 30 for 30 outfit post coming up. Yes, I'm still doing that.


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