Easy = Fast ?

7 02 2008

I had a great time at our Quilters Anonymous meeting yesterday.  Two other members — Lisa and Ann — are also students in Heather’s “Language of Color and Design” class.  They shamed me by having their tops almost finished yesterday for our February class.  All I had managed by yesterday morning was to cut out the front and back of my vest.  Their progress was a huge motivator for me.  I came home yesterday afternoon and applied myself to this project.  I mentioned my plans for this month in my January 25 post.  My plan was to be a little lazy this month.   This was only a vest I should be able to finish it in a day.

img_0098.jpgI have been sewing since I was 4 and following patterns since I was 10, so I expected this to be a cake walk.  The pattern included directions for a bookmark to familiarize oneself with the method.  I know how to follow directions so I can skip that.  WRONG!  I had sort of an idea in my head about how this technique was going to work, but the directions weren’t matching up with my preconceived notion and therefore weren’t making sense.  So I grabbed some scraps and put together the bookmark.  Notice it isn’t finished — can I add it to my UFO list?

So now I understand the technique — onward and upward!  This vest pattern requires some serious marking and after talking about a transfer wheel in my Sunday post, I can’t find it or the transfer paper.  How long has it been since I’ve sewn garments, anyway?  Snips, pins and chalk-0-liner to the rescue and the vest is marked.  Then I need to cut strips of fusible web and iron on stabilizer.  Good thing I keep a bolt of each on hand.  The stabilizer then needs the cutting pattern for the folded portions of the vest traced.  Finally, I’m ready to start cutting and folding.  I finished that last night. 

Couched threads or cords were supposed to be used to hold all those folds and points down.  Fortunately, I had some Madeira Glamour (which I can’t find on their website — has it been discontinued?)  and Superior Razzle Dazzle threads in the correct colors.  I also had one 10 yard package of Boucle which ended up being just enough.  All this didn’t fit through the cording foot so I ended up using my Pfaff’s applique foot and it did the job.

Looking at the pattern, I hadn’t realized all the folded pieces were raw edge.  The pattern design recommended using Fray Check on all those raw edges.  I gave up Fray Check in favor of Fray Block years ago.  I’ve found that the Fray Block dries softer and clearer.  The draw back last night — I was using so much of it I thought I was going to get high.

When I looked at the pattern there were strips of fabric between the folded sections which I thought were just decorative.  They weren’t. They were to cover where the backing fabric were stitched behind the folded windows.  I have a nice stash of Batiks so I dug out some blues which help carry the Analogous theme more strongly.  I cut the strips out and stitched them then pressed them over bias bars and that was as far as I made it last night.

Fast forward to this morning and I’m ready to add those strips to the vest.  The pattern says to baste them, but I don’t want to for a couple of reasons.  One reason is it will leave needle holes in the batik and the other is I find it difficult to get long strips straight when basting on the machine.  I remembered Sharon Schamber’s video on applying binding using Elmer’s Washable School Glue.

img_0096.jpgI wasn’t applying binding, but the same concept should work.  Besides I bought the pen tip tops for the glue bottles from her at MQS two years ago and hadn’t used them yet.  It worked like a charm.  A thin strip of glue and then press it with an iron.  It held beautifully and was straighter than I ever would have gotten it with basting.  I couched cord on top of those strips, then spent way too much time pulling the tails through to the back and tying knots.  (While I was doing that, I kept the computer humming downloading digital scrapbooking elements.  “Whenever possible multi-task,” seems to be my motto.)

This pattern had darts and I left them where the pattern placed them.  It turns out that was a mistake.  Apparently, the pattern was drafted for someone younger and perkier than I.  Once the darts were in it was time to line the vest.  I hadn’t cut out a lining yet so went scrounging for something that would work.  I found lining fabric that I apparently purchased for something many years ago.  What was it’s intended purpose?  Who knows, but I might as well use it.  It’s been a long time since I worked with slinky fabrics, but I prevailed.

The vest is finished except the hand sewing  the side seams of the lining.  I’ll do that while I’m watching a movie sometime in the near future.  Here’s how it looks front and back. It isn’t as crooked as it looks in the picture.  I was having a hard time getting it to hang and look right.

img_0092.jpg img_0093.jpg

Now to my title.  This is a quote from the back of the pattern, “This pattern may look complicated, but I promise it is NOT.  You won’t believe how easy it is . . .”  In my mind easy means fast.  (Colored emphasis supplied by me.) In this instance that just wasn’t a correct assumption.  In the designers defence — she didn’t say it was fast, she said it was easy.  I will admit it was easy enough once I did the bookmark to learn the technique.  At least the color assignment for this month is pretty much finished and I can get back to customer quilts.




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