So yeah, I start a hobby and less than a month later, I have a mountain of fabric (thanks in part to Goodwill and friends), I have two sewing machines (to be fair, I didn’t buy either one of them), and I can’t sleep at night because my mind is racing with ideas and plans and questions.
So it shouldn’t come to any surprise that yesterday I bought a serger. Not a new one, but an old model that someone had posted on FB Marketplace and since I happened to be in the area, and since the seller agreed to my lower offer, and because knits are hard, and because I am Pam, I came home with this baby:
I don’t know much about sergers, but I mean, I’d heard of the brand, and a quick google didn’t bring up anything negative, and it’s older, which I like to think means quality. Who knows. So far so good. It was already threaded (whew!) and look how pretty!
But I’m not exactly sure where to go from here. I want to try to make something easy with some cheap knit fabric I have but:
What about seam allowances? The serger has a little marker for seam allowances but it’s not very useful since the fabric is just kinda flopping around over there. Someone suggested I baste the fabric at the correct seam allowance and then use that as a line. Which makes sense but ugh, so much work!
Do I use the serger to actually sew seams together? I feel like I’ve read conflicting info on this. If I’m not, I assume I have to use my sewing machine for the actual seams. Do I have to use a twin needle or zig zag stitch in that case?
What about hems on knit items? Say I want to make the boys shorts. So I serge the edge of the fabric to make it nice and neat. But how do I sew the hem? On my sewing machine, right? But not with a straight stitch. But a zig zag would look weird as a hem. So I guess the twin needle? (You can’t hear the whiny voice in my head when I type “twin needle.”) I feel like the twin needle option doesn’t look right, but maybe I just don’t know how to use it.
Okay, so I was wondering about woven items and using the serger to finish the edges (how do you take that into account with seam allowances, but as I was trying to fall asleep last night, it came to me in a flash – you do that after you’ve sewn the garment. Right? Or wrong? See why I can’t sleep?
Do I need special needles for this? I am working on the possibly erroneous assumption that the current needles in the machine are appropriate for knit fabric but who knows.
So if you have the answers to any of these questions, please let me know!
Oh, also, I moved everything up to the bedroom so we have a dining room table again. Need a better solution for Mt. Fabric but for now this will do.
Not without many bumps in the road, either. I’d found the Akita pattern and gazed longingly at it for a while before finally subscribing to Seamwork (affiliate link) so I could get it for free (well you know, after paying to subscribe.)
I had some inexpensive fabric I’d bought so I decided I’d use that to make it and if it didn’t work out, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Good thing, because it didn’t work out. Just too small, generally. Too bad, though, because it took forever to make. Partially because I’m new at this, and partially because all of the edges of the fabric were bias bound (or whatever the proper term is, but it involved sewing on a lot of bias tape.)
So after about four hours of sewing (okay not literally forever) it was done, I put it on, and…sad trombone. (Also because of the pattern, the cherries on the back were upside down, but I knew this going in.)
Doesn’t look too small in the pic but trust me.
Okay, well, at least I knew sorta how to fix it for the next time. Make it bigger!
[I had all kinds of internal debates about if I should make it bigger everywhere or just in the hip area, but then I decided I’m not good enough to “grade” the pattern (which means to make it one size in some parts and another size in other parts, which is trickier than it sounds) so I just made it bigger everywhere.]
This time, I used a fabric I liked more, and it turned out much better! Sure, it’s a little boxy, but I think once it’s washed a few times, it’ll soften up a bit. Too bad I’m not the type to tuck things in. But now I know how to use bias tape!
I have been wanting to make a shirt for myself but am terrified of sleeves so I was happy to find this Burda pattern that was “tres facile” and was just two pieces, a front and a back. Even better, finishing the edges was optional, so I only hemmed the neckline. I wanted to try using a twin needle (OH FINE NO TRIPLET NEEDLES I SEE HOW IT IS) and figured out that a) the bobbin tension was set too high (so glad I managed to not lose the guides to my mom’s sewing machine) and b) I needed to use interfacing to make the fabric stiffer. I’m the end the neckline was a success, I suppose. I still can’t sew straight to save my life but who’s gonna be looking that closely?
Anyhoo, I made this out of dollar a yard fabric that I got just for practicing on but turns out I don’t hate it so maybe I’ll wear it out in public one day?
It’s meant to be tunic-y, but I may shorten the next one. Or not. We will see.
I know, I posted like eight times in a row about stuff I’ve sewn, but then I decided to attempt to be less annoying and not post incessantly about yet another pair of pajama pants.
(Also I wanted to leave that post about George shaving his beard up at the top but sadly no one has donated since I posted, ahem, FAMILY MEMBERS.)
So back to sewing.
I was excited about making another skirt out of a non-knit fabric, and I had high hopes for this one. It’s from the same pattern as my whale skirt, but this one has godets (like, triangle shaped panels to give it more of a full shape) and I’ve learned a bit about sewing since doing the whale skirt, but alas, I am not happy with the way it looks. Maybe I need to wash it a few times so the fabric will chill out and be softer? Or it might be a little too big. I dunno.
And no, I’m not checking the time. Just using my watch as a camera remote.
Then on Sunday I got the idea to make a t-shirt for one of the boys (I wanted to try something more challenging) but I didn’t have any appropriate fabric, so I cut up a couple of old t-shirts and used that fabric. I’m a genius! And it’s just as well I didn’t use good fabric. I don’t know if the pattern was bad or if I just don’t know what I’m doing. The first time I cut it out, it was WAY too short. And so I started over, and then the sleeves just seemed wrong. And I tried using my new twin needle, but it kept skipping stitches. So you know what, I’m going to take a break from sleeves for a bit.
I am excited because I remembered I had an Amazon gift card, so I used it to buy a rotary cutter and mat. Last night I cut out some pajama pants that my nephew is getting for his birthday (shh don’t tell him) and it was SO EASY. I am delighted.
Tonight, I’m going to Joann for a beginner’s sewing class I signed up for before I actually started sewing. We’re going to make a pillow. I’m looking forward to it! Tomorrow’s post: my new pillow.
Have you heard of St. Baldrick’s? It’s a charity that raises money for childhood cancer research, and their big fundraiser involved shaving heads. George is going to participate this year, and I know, his head is shaved regularly (by moi) already, so what’s the big deal?
Well, I’ve never seen George without facial hair, and we’ve been together for 16 years. I have seen photos, though, and it’s kinda scary. Like Tom Selleck without his mustache! (Am I comparing my husband to Tom Selleck? He wishes. Of course!)
Look how much younger he looks without a beard!
To make the stakes higher, George has agreed to shave his beard and mustache as well as his head. And if you want to someday see a more updated picture of George without a beard, be sure to donate here!
The big event will be on Saturday, March 10 at the Crown and Anchor if you want to witness it in person!
One day I’ll blog about something else, but not today.
Pattern came from here. And now I never want to sew knits again. It was so slithery and hard to cut. And you definitely can’t look too closely at the hem or the waistband or anything, really. But since it’s so drapey you can’t see the mistakes. So that’s a win!