One of the most exciting and satisfying things about sewing is to have the perfect fabric (in my case, a "delicious" knit) in your favorite color (coral) AND to have found a great pattern to use!
All of this came together for me this week while I was sewing EXCEPT as I finished the knit top, I realized it was too tight!! :( A knit top should softly snuggle you, but this was "snug" enough to show all my middle age lumps, bumps and flat tires.
And this after CAREFULLY measuring AND taking care to only sew with the 1/4" seam allowance the pattern specified. So my happy moment suddenly became a huge disappointment, and I was discouraged.
Well, of course I had to have a bit of a pity party. After I got over that, I put myself to work thinking through the problem and how I was going to resolve it. I looked at a few YouTube videos which weren't much help. I knew I needed an extra couple of inches inserted into the sides. The trick was to figure out what would look good. Then . . . it came to me!!! I had enough extra fabric to cut two long strips. I could ruche the two sides which would mimic the ruching at the neckline. Then the strips could be sewn into the sides. Eureka!!!
Below are my strips after using the differential feed on the serger on both sides. I cut 2-1/4" strips. I still needed more gathering for the impact, so I pulled the needle threads to get the desired look.
Below is my gathered/ruched strip pinned to the side of my top. I chose to carry the strip all the way to the bottom edge of the sleeve. I did this for two reasons: 1. it makes it easier to install the strip, and 2. the sleeves were tight as well! I also increased my seam allowance to about 3/8" to cover up any stitching from my gathers.
Here is my ruched side!
And here it is with sides folded to the front for the picture.
YAY!!! And now I am happy again.
It's painful, but sometimes happy accidents or creative thinking out of desperate necessity produce an even better end result. Now my top fits great and looks more interesting than the original pattern.
I've begun the process of removing the upholstery from the chair. I wanted to give you a view of what I found and of the kinds of notes I make as I go.
One thing that I realized after I did the last video is that it might have been helpful to you if I had mentioned where to begin. Typically, it's easiest to begin by loosening the pieces from the bottom of the chair. Often this is the last place that each piece is attached. They're not all tacked at the same time, but as the front is put in place, the bottom will be the last place where it is attached to the chair. This is a good place to start removing tacks. For this chair, the bottom was already loose because the chair had a skirt around the bottom. I started by removing what is usually the last piece to be attached to the chair: the outside of the back.
The outside of the back was hand sewn to the other upholstery pieces along the sides, following the frame of the chair. I'm not looking forward to that step of reconstruction, but I know that's going to be the way it will be fastened in place. The upper edge was tacked through a thin strip of cardboard. The cardboard gave the upper edge of the back a sharp, straight fold that didn't gap between the tacks.
I knew there were buttons through the front of the back. I could see them before I began the tearing apart. What I didn't know was how the buttons were attached. I have taken a picture so you can see what I discovered. I will use this photo and my notes as I reconstruct the chair.
I also discovered that the wing piece is attached before the outside of the arm. The piece of fabric that will cover the outside of the wing also wraps around to the back. The bottom edge of that piece will be covered by the top edge of the outer arm piece. You can see in this photo the fold at the top of the outer arm piece. You can also see that the outer arm piece is shorter than the piece that covers the wing. The sewing line follows the wood frame from bottom to top, but there is a bit of padding under the back of the wing that required the fabric to be longer and to be pulled in farther on the frame.
I've attached a photo of the notes that I've made so that I can reconstruct the chair. I'm a bit old fashioned, maybe, but I find that while photos are helpful, my notes do even more. Taking notes requires me to be more thoughtful about how things are put together. I can add small details that are sometimes difficult to see in photos, as you can see from the second photo here. Notes make me stop and think, to consider how the pieces fit together and the order of construction. You can see that I don't worry too much about neatness or sentence structure, and my drawings aren't very good. This is a reminder, and it will include some extra details that won't show in a photo. I'm not suggesting that taking photos isn't important . . . just that photos might not be enough. This is especially true if, for some reason, this project gets put on the back burner and doesn't get finished quickly. The longer you need to remember the information, the more valuable the note as well as the photos will be.
Please continue to watch. There will be another video in this series soon!
Here's a helpful hint from a Ragtime customer, Donna Lane:
"I was tired of my stylus "running away and hiding" from me. Solution: Self-stick hook-and-loop dots! I just stuck one half on the front of my machine and the other half on the stylus. No more searching for a runaway stylus!"
"Now if I could just find all the other things that hide from me."
Have you ever wondered why Belle likes to burn fabrics? To the average person it might look like she just likes setting fabrics on fire but in fact she is doing a burn test.
Burn tests are the best way to find out what fibers might be in a fabric. We get a lot of closeout fabrics here at Ragtime and don’t always receive the fiber content. A burn test helps us to conclude what the fiber is. Burn tests are not 100% conclusive, but they help tremendously in determining what fibers are in a fabric.
A burn test will help us tell if the fabric is natural or synthetic. Each fiber has a different color, smell and ash. Using all three helps us fine-tune our assessment of what the fiber content might be. Unfortunately with blends, we will not be able to tell you percentages of fibers, but we can tell you what type of fibers are in the blend. We are attaching a link from Threads magazine of a burn test if you wish to try it at home. The printable guide is a great resource.
Helpful Burn Charts from the Domestic Geek Girl Blog.
Several times a week, sometimes more than once a day, we have customers asking for advice on how much fabric to purchase when they are reupholstering a piece of furniture. Rarely, of course, do they drag the furniture into the store! Usually, we get a verbal description ("It's a sofa, kind of long. Well, not super long, but not a love seat.") and not very accurate measurements ("Uh, I don't know, maybe 6 feet?").
As you can imagine, it's tough to give estimates under those conditions! Even if we ask detailed questions ("Are the cushions attached or separate? Is there a skirt around the bottom? Fully upholstered or wood showing?") . . . even if we show some line drawings of basic furniture shapes . . . even if the customer has a picture on her phone to show us.
We have found a website, however, that includes color, detailed pictures of a huge variety of furniture!
Don't let the word leather stop you . . . this website's estimates work for upholstery fabrics, too.
They have illustrations and estimates for lots of chairs . . .
And for lots of styles and lengths of sofas and loveseats . . .
As well as stools, hassocks, and benches . . . curved banquette, anyone?
You can even print out color copies of their upholstery estimate guides to use when you're fabric shopping.
(Yup, we've printed them out to use here at the store.) Or pull them up on your phone while you're shopping.
This useful website is provided by the Leather Hide Store in North Carolina. Click here to access it.
Our Ragtime Staff