Sunday, August 5, 2007

project 2: "the tote"

I'd love to be different and make something other than a tote for my beginning sewing project, but alas, here it is anyway! I spent Saturday afternoon piecing together this tote design from Lotta Jansdotter's book, Simple Sewing.

Considering I'm fighting a steep learning curve (I've never sewed before and am "teaching" myself via books and a handful of mostly unhelpful you tube videos), I'm happy to have made something. Needless to say, though, I will probably not actually use this for anything but as testament that yes, I am trying to learn to sew. The fabric was a purchase not made on love for the pattern or color but for the sake of being cheap and more sturdy--and practical--to use than the muslin of my earlier practice sessions.

I'm finding that unlike my job, where too much time is spent on email and more or less just transferring knowledge back and forth all day, it is nice after an afternoon of sewing to have something I can hold in my hands.

For those thinking about taking up sewing or are learning as well, I thought it might be helpful to document some current struggles I am facing teaching myself to sew. If I'm lucky, those more experienced will chime in with some answers!
  • Thread slipping off take up lever. How on earth is the thread slipping off the take up lever whilst sewing, but it stays put everywhere else (including the needle!)? Most problems are not unique, but I could not find anything about this online. In fact, the take up lever is hardly mentioned at all in regards to problems. The only thing I can think of is that while threading the machine, maybe the presser foot was not up the entire time or the thread did not "click" into place? I did not think of this yesterday so I didn't try, but I'm going to make sure of that next time. Regardless, after I figure this out there will finally be a resource for other people having this problem, because hopefully I'm not the only one!

  • Applying correct pressure to the pedal. Silly problem that will only be better with practice, I have a hard time putting the correct amount of pressure on the pedal. To make it go slow enough, it seems that only the slightest amount of pressure will do, which is hard to maintain. Looking back, at least for learning to sew I think it'd be nice to have one of those pedals with the "cruise control" so I could easily keep the machine from going too fast for my novice hands.

  • Cutting straight lines. Yes, I said it. Cutting straight lines is hard! A ridiculous thing to complain about, I'm sure, but I'm not ashamed. Maybe I'm just not a good cutter. Maybe it's because I only have a tape measure and not a yardstick like my book recommends. My books don't speak of any tricks or recommended methods for cutting precise squares and rectangles. Not much is said other than to have good scissors, which I have. Ideas? Anyone?


Wordtastic said...

OK, this is really strange, but I think the thing your teacher told me you got so upset with in Kindergarten was about cutting!!! I guess you always had a problem with this!

Wordtastic said...

Your tote is really good! You are amazing at what you can accomplish without having any practice. I wish you could have seen some of my first sewing projects! Congratulations - you are a natural!