Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Week #17 Make Something For Myself/Epic Fail

Challenge: Make Something For Myself/Shirring
Project: Shirred Scarf
The Princess P modeling the final, end result scarf. I know I need to model some of my own things, but  it is so much easier to bribe the girls to do it for me :)

As the months have progressed I realize that I have made things for everyone except for myself. I have especially avoided making anything for myself to wear. I know that I need to get out of my comfort zone and finally create something wearable for myself. I think that I cheated a little bit by deciding to make a scarf because it is kind of a one size fits all, no alterations necessary clothing item, but hey, it is start. 
I had seen a few cute scarves out there that were shirred, a process of sewing with regular thread and elastic thread, and I wanted to give it a try. I even considered doing a tutorial on my process. 

Laugh along with my hubris here.

Here were my materials:
Regular and elastic thread, dress maker's chalk and a 1/4 yard of voile fabric (Anna Marie Horner Innocent Crush Voile First Impression Blush) .

First I hand wound my bobbin with elastic thread. Not pulling the thread taunt as I wound it, but rather an even winding, neither too loose or too tight. 

I cut my fabric so that I had two sections approximately 9 inches wide and sewed them together end to end to make one long piece of fabric. I used a French seam so that it looked cleaner. I did not hem the sides or bottom of the fabric because I was going for a shabby chic look. 

I then marked two lines along the length of the fabric three inches from each side of the fabric.

My intent was to have two lines of shirring three inches apart. I set my machine to a longer stitch (4) and followed along the line of chalk.

My first line of shirring went great. The fabric was gathering. I finished by back stitching and started on my second line. . . things started going wrong. It wouldn't gather.
I tried shortening and lengthening the stitches, but nothing worked. Frustrated I decided to do a sewing cheat. I finished the line but did not back stitch. I "hand shirred" the fabric basically by using a gathering technique and pulling the elastic thread tighter. It worked but I wasn't happy about how I got the results.

I finished the scarf. . . but I really hated what it looked like. (This picture does not accurately show how yucky this turned out, go figure, most pictures don't show how great things actually look!)
It was way too wide and the ends were boxy. I tried to force it by wearing it to work the next day. I felt like I was buried in the scarf and the ends were so boxy they wouldn't lay nicely. I hated it. I wanted to give up and throw it away as well as give up on this sewing thing that I obviously am no good at. 

Sheesh, melodrama much?

I was frustrated about how the shirring worked on the first line but not on the second and I couldn't get it out of my head, so I did some research. I found this blog and I was justly rewarded. I didn't change my bobbin casing tension since it had worked once before without doing so. However, I did figure out that after my first line I just started sewing the second line with out re-threading the elastic thread and it wasn't "linked in" to the bobbin casing. This caused there to be no tension in the elastic thread and thus no gathering. Yea! 

I wanted to remake the scarf, but I wanted to fix what I had. . . the fabric was not cheap. I took a look at how Dana crated her scarf over at MADE and made some adjustments.

(I didn't take pictures of the process because I was so disheartened by my last attempt. . . wish I had now.)

I took out one line of shirring with my ever present friend, the seam ripper. Then I cut the fabric down to six inches wide. This made the line of shirring that I had left in, centered on the fabric. I then re-threaded my bobbin and sewed another line of shirring approximately 1/4 inch from the existing shirring line (worked this time!). So I had two lines of shirring basically in the center of the scarf. (This would be so much easier if I had just taken pictures!) I also hemmed the bottoms of the scarf with a curve to get rid of the boxy feel. 

It worked! I actually wore my scarf to the Zoo for Mother's Day (but didn't manage to get a picture) and I really am happy with how it turned out this time. I even made one for the Princess P out of the 3 inch wide fabric I cut off. I shirred two lines down the center and now she has her own scarf too. 
Lily Bear and Princess P modeling the scarves, it was really windy.

It wasn't a complete fail and I managed to salvage it, but it was so much harder to recover from than I thought it should be. I had so little time to sew last week and when the one project I found time for didn't work, it was so depressing. Like I wasted my only opportunity for 'me' time on something that turned out horribly ugly. However, as frustrating as failures can be, they are probably our my best learning tools. I learn more from the things I don't succeed at that the things I do.  

Lesson learned.

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