Thursday, 8 September 2016

A Surrogate Model and a Deadline Made

You will no doubt remember that I made a pair of shorts for Joanne,  hacked from a disintegrating RTW pair that she had worn to death.  I didn't get them made in time for her birthday, 3rd week in August, but posted them off shortly afterwards and wrote a post here and a review on PR.

The new shorts - lace edging (shown two layered here0
Original damaged RTW shorts

What with helping my mother move and my plans to enter the Simplicity Sewing Challenge plus a busy golf season with a major deadline Thursday 8th September for which I had a very large printing job, I had no intentions of entering the PR Sewing Bee.  Just a week to make something?  Maybe something that wasn't my style?  No thanks. But then the challenge was posted - a pair of shorts! I just had to make another pair for Joanne!
The latest version, hanging on a hanger

Time differences and an all day into the evening golf match meant that I didn't find out about the challenge until late on Thursday 1 SeptemberThe closing date for this contest was 11.59pm EST on Wednesday 7th September. That's probably about 5am on Thursday morning here. So I didn't have much time (for me - for others it might be no problem!).

On Friday 2nd September, I decided to enter it, making another pair of shorts for Joanne. I haven't seen her in the ones I made, other than a pretty bad photo, but she says they fit and she loves them. Okay then. 
Photo of Joanne wearing the previous shorts I made
I first tried to seek clarification  on the forum that these counted as shorts and therefore meet the contest criteria. The consensus was that they did. I had previously called them culottes, not allowed in contest, but these had a number of specific criteria and mine were not culottes.

Same day, I went to Dainty Supplies in Washington (Tyne and Wear not DC) and bought single georgette in black and guipure lace in black. 
I wanted to use the top lace but there wasn't enough
This new georgette was much thinner and drapier than the double georgette I used last time, which was a very nice fabric available in a range of colours. I didn't have time to buy again. Anyway,  although I'd like to make in a different colour, I don't know of a stockist of coloured lace. I'm sure there must be one. I saw a black lace in Dainty I loved (the top one in photo above) but it was the end of the role and there wasn't enough, though I bought it just in case. I bought the only other suitable lace they had which turned out to be identical to the one I'd  used previously (in the shop,  I thought it was different). They didn't have a lovely flexible lightweight invisible zip so I had to make do with an ordinary one.

I got home and washed my fabric and lace.

I looked out my pattern pieces (easier said than done!!)  and slightly tidied my sewing room aka dining room. I cut out pieces in the later evening once the fabric was dry.

 Here I met my first problem!  Trying to be frugal with the fabric, I didn't notice I was cutting out over a slash. Two front pieces had to be redone. I interfaced the facing of the shaped waistband.  I sewed the pockets on the front and then interfaced the left back piece ready for zip insertion. I melted the fabric of this piece while fusing the interfacing and ruined my brand new ironing cover! It was really too late to carry on. Don't sew when tired!
Melted fabric

My brand new ironing board cover!

Saturday 3rd September and Sunday 4th September, I was in Scotland helping my mother. No sewing. When I got back late on Sunday I was really too tired to start. I did some of the golf printing  preparation

Monday 5th September - busy part of day and sewing bee in the evening. I spent ages looking for a lost back - realising eventually this was the one I'd melted but I hadn't re-cut! Re-cut it. No problem with making up lining this time, got the opening on the correct side! I have major problems with that. I overlocked the edges of all pieces to minimise fraying, except the crotch seam which I sewed together and then overlocked the two sides together, on the lining only. 

I found that despite having only made these shorts a couple of weeks previously, I didn't find it that easy. My unpicker saw a lot of business. I took to the sewing bee to continue working on it. Dan felt this fabric was closer to the original RTW than the double georgette, but I know which one I prefer!  I found it helpful to look at my toile from the previous time to help me with the steps. I asked Dan if she would model the shorts for a live model photo of the toile fitted. It did and she agreed. When I returned home I had to work on the golf stuff.

I had arranged to post to my daughter who had set up with a friend to take a photo when the shorts arrived. That meant I had to post special delivery on Tuesday and hope and pray her shifts would allow her to be in when they arrived, she wasn't busy,  the friend would be available etc. The more I thought about it, I reckoned it wouldn't work. I was rather a long way from finishing on Monday and the shorts would really need to be posted by 3.30 pm on Tuesday.

David suggested I may as well finish them anyway as Joanne would want them but forget about the sewing bee.

Tuesday 6th September - golf committee meeting in morning and busy in evening. I managed to finish the in-seam pockets and insert the zip. 

I'm trying to show the pocket in front of the zip here

and here

First side of zip pinned next to pocket, onto back pocket piece, pinned but not yet tacked

My short pieces did not have pocket extensions - this was the pocket shape

I decided to insert the lace at this stage. I sewed the lace right side to fabric right side, facing in towards legs, using my edge stitch foot to position the stitching carefully. 
Lace tacked right side of lace to right side of fabric, facing towards legs. Funny colour!

Using edge stitch foot to sew on lace

Lining layer is added here - this shows sewing along the original stitching, fabric side up

Understitching the lace
The inside of the lace edging showing the understitching
I had just enough lace and no more!  I stitched the lace at the junction by hand. I then positioned the lining to sandwich the lace between the lining and lace and sewed along my previous stitching line and then understitched. The first leg was easy but the second leg was slightly trickier because of the crotch. Overall, still easier than the way I did it last time which involved turning through the zip opening in the lining 

I really struggled with the waistband. I'm not sure why I have this problem but I find it difficult to get waistbands opening on the correct side and not be the wrong way out. My first waistband didn't work,  yep,  cut wrong way around. I made up a new waistband,  this time interfacing both sides and sewed on to shorts.  Bedtime.
My curved waistband
Way past last posting date for Joanne! Plan B now in operation!

Wednesday 7th September (D-Day) - I was due to have been busy most of day playing in my medal but woke up so sore and stiff I didn't play, fortunately for these shorts, if not for my handicap.  I had the first session of my new tailoring course in the evening and I had to get my major printing job done for Thursday. 

I found that my waistband of Tuesday night was also wrong! I'm still not sure what the problem was, believe it or not. The side seam was in the wrong place that is not matching the side seam on the shorts  so I thought I had sewed on inside out or rather made the wrong side the right side (I had a definite right side and wrong side as I had understitched) but that wasn't it. I must have put the underlap on the wrong side, though I didn't pick that up before I unpicked it. Anyway, I decided the outside had been changed too much by the interfacing and unpicked the whole band, made a new front without interfacing and made up a new waistband.  This time it went in okay. It looked much better than the interfaced outside. I must try to source some better, finer, black fusible interfacing for future projects. I simply overlocked the inside as I had run out of patience with this.

After this, it was plain sailing. Hand stitched the lining to the zip tape; sewed on waistband fastenings.
Showing zip, waistband inside and fastenings. You can see that I have simply overlocked the inside of the waistband

I took the shorts to my tailoring class and Dan kindly modelled them for me to take the required photo on a live model (I had already taken the other necessary photos and saved in a review as a work in progress), despite the fact that I was late and she had forgotten to tkae leggings to wear under the shorts. She is not a shorts person and didn't want to show her knees. Joanne is quite a bit taller than Dan so the shorts are rather longer on her than Joanne. I should say that Dan sportingly agreed to be identified in this blog post.

In class we were doing jetted pockets as part of jacket construction. More of the class at a later date.

I had a lot of difficulty putting in the review to PR. It seems that saving a contest entry as a WIP (a review of a piece of work in progress) leads to problems. It took me ages but I got there. I even managed to get my pre-AGM printing done for distribution on Thursday.

Today there was a major problem with our Internet server - not just us,  a big area was affected but this was fixed fairly quickly. However my PC is no longer working to link to the internet. Fortunately I got my linking and printing done last night! I'm trying to upload this post from my phone. I have some photos from construction on my phone (unedited) and I downloaded the 5 photos from my PR onto my phone here. So here goes! I managed to do some but then found that the problem was probably with my browser - I'm now on my PC with a different browser and not having the same problem. Whew!

I entered this contest only because I had recently made shorts for Joanne and was going to repeat them, anyway. After telling her I was doing this,  at this stage, I felt I had to carry it through. The timing was all wrong but I got them made. They look good - at first glance,  identical to the previous pair I made. David posted them off to Joanne for me today.

Fingers crossed for progression to Round 2!
My hope is that I will get through to Round 2 of the PR Sewing Bee this year.  I entered last year but was eliminated in the first round. Fingers crossed! I'll find out at the beginning of next week. Assuming I get through, which is a huge assumption considering all the wonderful entries, I will only go forward if I reasonably feel I can.

Sewing for Children Contest
Voting is still underway. Please vote for me!! I certainly don't expect to win but would like to come in the top half. Results should be out in a couple of days

Simplicity Sewing Challenge
As far as the Simplicity Sewing Challenge is concerned, I'd hoped to start that tomorrow (Friday) but now I'm going to my mother's for two days, so perhaps I might get to start on Sunday! I'm very busy for the rest of the month but still hope to achieve this. I should do, really, just as long as I'm not too much of a perfectionist and instead follow the mantra 'finished is better than perfect' or something like that, the implication being that I can spend so much time trying to perfect I don't get it done and lose my sewjo into the bargain. That's so true in my case. Rory has spent ages trying to get me to be faster, to just 'do it', to allow creativity to flow. I fear she's fighting a losing battle, but I'm trying and entry into these contests helps with that.


  1. Well done for sticking with it! I have projects like that where nothing seems straight forward. The shorts look gorgeous :-)

    1. Thank you. The shorts are nice and hopefully they will fit Joanne as well as the last ones - I realise that different fabric can make a difference to fit just hopefully not too much.

  2. Yes, some projects are like that - things just happen, one after another. I sometimes think it is because for most of us sewing is sandwiched inbetween other life things, and sort of gets what is left over of any attention we may still have! You have done well. Oh, I have a note next to my iron - polyester melts. I am sure that has saved many a mishap happening since the last one - you might like to do this too!

    1. Thank you! Yes, I like your analogy of sewing being sandwiched in-between other life things. Trouble is, there isn't usually that much energy left. As far as polyester melting is concerned - the fabric I used for the first shorts didn't burn at the temperature I used (I'm assuming it was polyester though tbh I don't know) and I complacently used a similar temp for the new fabric which was thinner and less robust. And melted big time. I'm not used to sewing with synthetics though I have a few in the queue so I might have to think about that note!

  3. Yikes! I think the shorts turned out lovely despite all the drama. I will vote for you in the PR contest and fingers crossed you will make it to round 2 -- then you will have a week to do it all over again!

    1. Thanks, Annie. The contest committee decides who goes through, it's not by member voting, though maybe a comment and 'very helpful' rating would help! I should find out tomorrow. The reckoning is that the next round will be an alteration or other challenge to show creativity (yikes!)

  4. I am amazed you kept going with these and hope they are loved.

    1. They are loved, thank you. We all know that life gets in the way of sewing but we can't let it take over completely or we'd never sew! I've learned that even when in a hurry, it's still important, even more important, to check and double check what I'm doing.


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