Sunday, 6 January 2013

WOOPs!... I Did (half of) It Again

Happy New Year! I've taken permission from Krisha to make no resolutions at all for 2013. Actually, it's quite tricky to resist the idea in this first week of January when so many people are talking about their resolutions (shush, by the way), and I keep catching the edge of a thought sneaking into my mind - "this year I'm going to" or "this year I'm not going to"... But I think I prefer to be unresolved, or at least to be only as resolved as I usually am. I don't subscribe to the idea that you can alter a habit or behaviour once and for all by making one grand decision, and I certainly don't think there's any special magic in a new digit on the calendar. Making a lasting change involves consciousness in the (often tiny) choices and decisions that we deal with every day. The concept of new year's resolutions seems to miss that point a bit, and perhaps that's why they're usually so short-lived. I tend to believe that embedding a change in your everyday life is about making a right choice over and over again, whenever you can - and even when one day, through practice, the right choice comes more easily, you'll still have to keep choosing it. In that sense, 1 January is just like any other day, isn't it?

So, it's nothing to do with the number of the year now being 2013, but I keep trying to work on actually finishing the things I start. Apparently there was an exhibit made of collected unfinished projects at the Knitting & Stitching Show in October. I wonder if I should open up my boxes (upon boxes) of crafting and build a piece of art... Work in progress doesn't really describe this stuff, because it's mostly so very much out of progress. These are not WIPs but WOOPs.
Threatening to join their sorry ranks is a maladjusted Tova shirt that I started just before Christmas. I wanted to solve the fit issues from my first attempt without making it look bigger, so I created a hybrid of the small and medium sizes. Essentially it's a medium but with a small inset (and collar). I'm pretty sure the way I've done it should mean that there's as much space at the bust as there would be in a straight medium. But somehow I've ended up with a garment that's still slightly snug just there and yet decidedly tent-like below. Looking for help, I Googled "Tova full bust adjustment", and the top result was my blog! Oh dear... Not all hope is lost, though, because further down the list I found this clever person who seems to have tackled the problem with success - I hope she'll share the details soon. In the meantime my top is wearable, or it would be if I finished the cuffs and took in the side seams a bit (I made French seams and have already hemmed it, so, argh).
The fabric's also been a bit of a motivation-sapper. It was a sarong, brought to me from Thailand by Boyfriend's sister-in-law. It looks lovely (I'm a sucker for stripes and a shot weave, and this is both), and it felt nice to start with too, but it turns out to be some kind of synthetic and all the (cool) ironing I did while sewing has rendered it very flat and lifeless. I guess washing might restore its texture. Also it frayed like mad and I do wonder whether I lost valuable millimetres at every seam because of that. One thing I'm pleased with is the bias tape finish on the inset seam. I attached the outer edge by hand, stitching as close to the machine stitches of the seam as I could, and then caught the inner edge in the inset top-stitching. It's a nice neat finish and I'll use it again.
Perhaps the key to finishing things is only to attempt tiny, simple projects... Yesterday I used a free template from the Purl Bee to make a little bib for a friend's new baby. I diverged from the given instructions in order to use up some narrow scraps of striped fabric, and to avoid wasting any of the backing fabric. Look out, by the way, if you use this tutorial: the template doesn't include any seam allowance.
I folded the paper pattern in two and marked out the bib halves on a long thin piece of stripy organic cotton left over from making Boyfriend some more pyjamas. I cut these out, adding seam allowance all round, and sewed them together. I then pinned the bib front to my backing fabrics (some cream organic cotton jersey from Gossypium, with an additional layer of fine organic muslin) and cut around the outside edge - less wasteful than cutting rectangles as suggested. From there I followed the tutorial. It was good to have the sewing lines marked; I think I might start marking sewing lines when I'm making clothes, it feels so much more accurate. Do other people do that, and how do you make the markings?
To finish the bib off I added a line of simple running stitch all the way round the edge, only sewing through the top layer so it doesn't show on the back. I also slip-stitched the edges of the turning hole shut, which adds a bit of extra work but is worth it, I think. With the cutting and machine sewing done yesterday afternoon, and the hand work finished this morning, this little dribble-catcher barely spent any time as a WIP, never mind a WOOP. Woop!


  1. What a brilliant use of the sarong. Please finish it as I want to see the end product, it looks good inspite of the fraying fabric. And the bib - love the yellow stitch detail, I am sure it will be much admired in Finland.

    1. Even though it's in Swedish national colours?! Only realised that once I'd done it...

  2. It is going to a family of Swedish speaking Finns so I am sure it will be fine.

  3. I'm having the exact same Tova problems! The L is a little snug around the chest (but I'm not sure it's a FBA thing or just a generally being broad thing, I really am not what anyone would describe as busty) but very tentlike below. And the sleeves are too small/my shoulders are too broad. I need a lot more fitting experience before I begin to tackle these problems, I think.

    Yet, I'm usually good at identifying types of garments that will flatter me. I have had a similar blousy type of shirt with an inset that hits at the bust apex and flowed from there... I loved it. So much Tova grief! I need to take a break with a different project.

    Thanks for honestly sharing your sewing progress, and I'm glad I'm not the only person who didn't really make any resolutions. :)

    - Megan

    1. Hi Megan! Yes to everything you said. But we can crack it, I'm sure! There are many brains puzzling over this around the world right now so a solution is bound to reveal itself, right?! I reckon Artsy Craftsy Babe has pretty much done it, and I have a few ideas myself. And, by the way, I'm quite thrilled to have a comment from a fellow sewing musician :-)

    2. Yes, I noticed in your "About Me" just after I'd posted my comment that you're a musician too! I'm working on getting my blog/website started, hopefully I'll be able to write about music as well as pretty crafty things.

      Also I noticed you had a GF pancake recipe - are you also a sewing musician who makes lots of GF food?!

  4. Happy belated new year Nina.
    I Love the bib. And I must try the TOVA it looks so fab! I am sure you will be able to crack the fitting problems. I am actually finishing things of late - well there are some lingering projects in baskets- but I am not finding the time to put them up on the blog before they are stained with jam etc.
    Have a great week!
    Best regards form Oslo

    1. Thanks, Krisha! How nice that the things you make get used, even if that leads to jam stains! Apparently the bib is coming in handy as well. Do try the Tova pattern, it's very nicely written and the PDF is really good value. x