When Life Gives You Lemons….

It’s been a while since I’ve written. The good news is that my puppy, Beasley, despite Murphy’s Law, survived his ordeal and is doing wonderfully. Thank the goblins for small favors, because if I lost him or Jack the Parrot, I think I would be utterly lost.

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I have recently been working on a series of sample bras. They are very pretty vintage designs, and I bought beautiful, slinky, silky satins, and stunning kimono fabrics to make them. Being the genius that I am, I took my pattern, and cut out all the pieces in all of the fabrics I had, all in a 36B.

Right there was the first series of mistakes. I should have cut the damn thing out in muslin and sewn it up to make sure the pattern was okay. But I didn’t. My new fabrics filled me with excitement and perhaps more optimism than I should have had for such a daunting challenge.

And then I sat down to sewing… having NOT made a test muslin first, to make sure I knew exactly how to assemble these beautiful bras. And having not put a SINGLE MARK on the pieces to help me in the assembly.

At first I thought I was on a roll. I had a bit of trouble with my darts, but I forged ahead at reckless speed. Once the first one was done, and only needed to have some hand stitching down, I noticed that it just looked… well… it looked WRONG. Because I had sewn two pieces BACKWARDS, and had done the most beautiful, miniscule French seams the world had ever seen. There was no salvaging or fixing my mistake.

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So I surrendered that bra, and continued on like a run away train. I put together two new bras, still in the glorious (expensive) silks and satins. Another one suffered the upside down fiasco, but I was determined to fix that with the cunning use of lingerie elastic (on non-existant seam allowances, because I trimmed those off…). There were nightmares with trying to encase elastic with bias tape, which created horrendously bulky underarm seams (because both the bias tape AND the elastic were all wrong). There was my failed attempt a what could have been beautiful piping detail, because I had no idea what I was doing.

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There were seams and stitches that were picked out so many times that the fabric disintegrated, and then there with the horrible, ugly , visible seams that you could SEE, because I ran out of the appropriate colored thread.

I was like a zombie mindlessly hell bend on finishing. Or a lemming, DETERMINED to charge off that cliff if it was the last thing I did.

The first sensible thing I did, was take an enforced two week break from the projects, to get ready for two back to back events I was privileged enough to be a vendor at. For two weeks, my sewing area sat fallow, and dust covered, while I barreled through 200 lb.s of origami paper to make these stunning hair creations and more (not that I’m tooting my own horn, or anything…). And I was equally as maniacal about these pieces as I had been with the bras… the results were just better.

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After two weeks, I returned to my derelict sewing area, and picked up the bras. They looked wretched. So I did the second most sensible thing I could think of. I went online, to the wonderful vendor of vintage patterns, and found a tutorial for sewing a vintage bullet bra.

And there, before my eyes, in black and white print, and colored photographs, I saw EVERY SINGLE ONE  of my mistakes spread out before me.

Such as including seam allowances in my pattern pieces.

Such as using an iron to press seams before barreling ahead.

Such as understitching.

Such as matching seams before you sew them.

It was embarrassing. I know better. I’ve known better for years. But I was so excited with the gorgeous, dazzling fabrics I chose, that I was determined to skip all the appropriate steps, and convinced that the end result would be just as good.

The sewers, seamstresses, and designers out there will not be surprised to learn that I was disappointed.

Over 100$ of supplies were chucked into the garbage, the fabrics now too degraded from abuse to be salvaged for anything more than cleaning rags.

This week I sat down, resigned to the fact that I have not yet achieved Alexander McQueen perfection with my “sewing-by -eye”, and cut out a muslin that fit my fairly hefty 38DD torso. I figured that if I was going to drag myself through hell again, I was going to make something I could wear.

The muslin, including all of the tweaking and pattern redrafting, took me thirty minutes. Just thirty minutes.

Then I cut into my beautiful fabrics again, and spent an extra two minutes marking all of the pieces. Just two minutes.

And then, before I could do any damage, I called it a day, and spent the rest of my time drawing up an sewing order, so that the bra would go together nicely.

Had I bothered to take 32 minutes out, before I let myself loose on the project, I could have saved myself an ENTIRE MONTH of needless cursing, tantrums, and tears.

And 100$.

The moral of this story is that, yes, “Time is money”.

By which I mean that you will WASTE money if you do not take the time to go about things the proper way.

 

 
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Mack’s Absolutely Horrible, Terrible, Rotten, No Good, Very Bad Week

This past week, things fell apart on a level I have never experienced. It started small- an order from a few months ago got list in the mail, and I went nuts trying to sort it all out. And then my vendor application for an event this Saturday got lost two.

I did what any blue blooded American would do- I cursed the I efficiency of the postal service to high heavens.

And then I considered how the term “postal” came about (as in “going postal”), and considered retracting many angry Facebook posts to appease any homicidal post men.

Then my glasses broke. I can’t see more than three inches past my nose, so this was a huge dilemma. All I can say is thank goblins for hot glue guns!!

But the worst my week had to offer was the near death if my dog.

The facts were these:
My mom went out of town with my aunt and uncle (who is a veterinary surgeon). I dropped my mom off at my aunts, and then went home to find copious amounts of dog vomit on the floor. Not good. So I call the local vet to tell them I’m bringing in my puppy, load Beasley up in the car, and lead foot it to the office.

Lets be really clear here, I called in and said it was an emergency, and needed to see a vet right away.

When I got there, I checked in and sat down to wait 40 minutes, with a crying dog. In those 40 minutes, some horrible man told me he was sorry my dog was dying (WTF???!!!!!), and watched the vet take back three dogs that came in after me for things like getting a vaccination, or getting their nails trimmed. I was displeased.

And after those forty minutes, when there wasn’t a soul in sight, my poor dog threw up all over me, and the floor, and the bench, and then collapsed.

I started screaming for help. It took five minutes for a vet tech to wander in and smirk at the fact that I was covered in gross smelling dog puke, and then another 15 minutes for a different tech to take me to a room with my poor dog. By then I was bawling my eyes out, because I was scared, and alone, and more than anything I was upset because my dog needed help and these people seemed dead set against helping him.

The tech whisked him away, and I found out later that Beasley had started to turn blue, so he had been put in an oxygen tent.

When the vet came in, I immediately set to work getting her on the phone with my uncle (a vet), which in and of itself ended up being a comedy of errors. But eventually all if the right people talked amongst themselves, and decided Beasley would spend the weekend in the hospital kennel.

So I called the vet every hour the entire rest of the day, and well into the night.

And when my boyfriend got all of the news, he offered to come over from work, so wouldn’t be in a panic, alone.

When he got to my place, he made sure I was okay. And then he told me I should have my dog euthanized. Because he is and old and stupid dog.

I’ve had better weeks.

I am pleased to say that all of the mail issues were worked out, and Beasley is home again, safe and sound, having survived heat exhaustion and dehydration. I’m much more careful to make sure he drinks more water than a camel.

My boyfriend is currently blacklisted, until I get over his comments.

The Right to Bear Scissors

Sometimes you come across people who really drive you up a wall. I met one such person at the local fabric store.

The facts were these; I absolutely destroyed the bodice of the dress I’ve been working on, so I went to go pick up another yard of the fabric to redo it. There was a scrap of the fabric left on the bolt, maybe 3/4 yd if I squinted. But I needed the fabric. And it was all they had left in the store. So I took it up to the counter to measure.

I handed the fabric to the cutter, and she unfolded the fabric. And folded it so the two cut edges were together.

“A yard and a quarter,” she informed me

I stared.

“I’m really sorry but you miss measured,” I said. “You should be measuring the length of the fabric, not the width”

She looked at me like I was mentally handicapped.

“Along the selvedge,” I explained.

“Who taught you to measure fabric?” She snapped. “It’s a yard and a quarter.”

I argued with her for half an hour. There were a whole bunch of problems in the store that day, and no manager in sight. If I hadn’t needed the fabric so badly I would have just gone home. But I DID need it. So before my very eyes, she cut a quarter of a yard off the selvedge.

Okay. Maybe she was new, and sometimes people make mistakes.

But then I bought an entire bolt of fabric, and asked her to measure it for me. She was displeased. On e she was done, I asked if she could just roll it back on to the bolt.

“No,” she snarled.

I persisted in getting a bolt for the fabric to be rolled on to. So she grabbed an empty bolt from a fabric hat was 20$ a yard, and scanned that bolt end. So my ten yards of 6$/yd fabric was suddenly 20$/yd. I couldn’t take it.

“Excuse me, but you scanned the wrong bolt,” I said, maybe a little more hostile than I intended.

What followed was another half our argument over who was right.

I won. Because she was wrong.

The moral of this story is that some people shouldn’t be allowed to wield scissors. Or to reign over the cutting counter. Or even touch fabric. Ever.

Beware the fabric store gremlins!!!!