Friday, 7 May 2010

The Sewing Machine Widow Maker

Aside from my recent blip, I've been diligently working through my fabric reserves, stash bustin' as I go. A few weeks back I got to some shiny, slinky synthetic printed twill stuff that I picked up last year, and hit a blank. When I initially saw it in the shop, I was lured by it's teal background colour and retro floral print, and snapped it up in a haze of 'want'. I rarely use silky fabrics, and (or because) rarely find myself drawn to silky garments in shops. I felt it was high time I made a new pressie for my best mate, who is currently hittin' it up in Melbourne, and thought this fabric would suit her colouring and style. But pattern-wise, what to do?

Umm, well turn to my beloved Simplicity 3835 of course! The only other time in recent history I had used slinky fabric was some black satin to make a top version of this pattern, and it had gone pretty well, so I assumed a simple rewind on that previous success was well within my grasp. WRONG. This fabric turned out to be slinkier and slippery-er than the slinkiest slippery-est fabric known to man. On top of which, see in the picture above the way the pattern seems to angle down to the right? That's the weft all bent out of shape. I did a fair amount of cross-yanking (I'm sure there's a proper term for that) to try and straighten it up, but it didn't want to be corrected so I carried on with an 'It'll be fine' attitude.

AGH!!! It was HORRIBLE to work with. The self-bound key hole back detail I added didn't lay nice and flat like the last couple of times I had made them. The bottom hem was all wonky and needed to be unpicked, re-cut and re-stitched to look vaguely straight. The elastic casing around the neck hole was a nightmare. In fact I only decided on the elasticated neck edge after being forced to abandon the neck yoke section.

To be honest, I couldn't wait for this project to be finished, and I just prayed that something wearable would come out the other side. In the end, the wonky weft means the gathers into the elasticated neckline are a bit skewed and twisted, but it came out vaguely wearble. I scribbled a note to Vic giving her my full permission to take it to an Op shop, should she regard it necessary, and bundled the finished top in to the package and chucked it in the post bound for Oz, pleased to have it off my hands.

I think this type of uber-feminine and slinky fabric attracts a lot of newbie sewers, and when they try to sew with it and find it such a b*tch to work with, lose enthusiasm and get put off sewing for some time after (hence the title of this post). Now don't go telling me that there are lots of specific methods you must employ for using this type of fabric, I know there is, but I'm too lazy to properly research and implement them. In my opinion, life is too short! If you have done and enjoy working with this type of fabric, hats off to you. You have my full respect. It's just not for me.

On a more happier note, check out the sweeeeeet little crochetted slippers my mum made for Vic which accompanied the blouse in the package. How talented is she?! I gots to get schooled by her one of these days.

11 comments:

Karin (the Mrs.) said...

I'm sure she will be very happy with it, the top looks lovely and the colour and print is gorgeous!

Those little slippers are adorable. I keep telling myself that I need to learn how to crochet when I see all the gorgeous things online, but somehow I don't get to it. Oh well, one can dream. Who knows, one day :-)

seejanesew said...

I"m right there with you. I hate that slinky stuff. I had an agreement with my hairdresser, I'd sew for her and she'd cut my hair for cheap. She kept picking that slinky stuff and it was a nightmare to work with. I absolutely refuse to use it anymore

Ruby Star said...

I can see why you snapped up this fabric, the colours are gorgeous. Pity it wasn't cotton but i'm sure your friend will love it and to be honest I thought the pattern on an angle was deliberate.

ali said...

oh darn, I was hoping you were going to give me some tips on how to work with this type of fabric, I've been having no end of trouble with slinky satins. I'm determined to conquer it someday though, as I am very interested in sewing lingerie. It's my personal white whale.

Jess said...

I was just using chiffon (it was hugely on sale, so I had to give it a try) for the 3835 pattern! It may never get finished. What a nightmare. Back to cotton I go. I think your top turned out cute though!

Olga said...

I've had a similar experience with some slinky silk -- twisted front on a shirt that I cut on fold. The lesson I took away from it is to never cut silk on fold -- single layer only! I've never sewn with slinky polyester, but it must be even worse -- I am sure its "plastic-like" nature makes it slide around and misbehave even worse than silk. To me, polyester is just not worth the time, but I have sewn with silk since the aforementioned disaster -- just have to assume that any project is going to take twice the time is should.

Tasia said...

Yup, I prefer a nice stiff cotton myself! She'll be thrilled with the top though, love the print!

Five Guineas said...

I feel your pain! I recently had a fabric choice nightmare and like you I was so glad for it to be OVER! The top looks great though!

Fourth Daughter said...

Oooh tell your friend in Melbourne to check in with me sometime, I'm here in its outer suburbs, otherwise known as fashion wastelands...
http://stylewilderness.blogspot.com
Such cute slippers... I tried to make some out of old jumpers recently with crocheted straps but they were not exactly successful!

Vic said...

Your friend does indeed love the top!

In fact, it had it's first outing last night when I went for a very tasty curry, and was roomy enough in the belly area for me to stuff my face safe in the knowledge I wouldn't be mistaken for a heavily pregnant, wine drinking gal.

Loves it! x

bagqueen said...

I think the finished result looks really good but I'm with you on sewing this type of fabric!! I've been sewing more years than I care to count but have long since decided life is too short for fighting to sew slippery stuff!!

Having said all that I really like the pattern of this fabric so can see why you're tempted.

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