Practicing Pintucks and Intuition Pays Off:Great Thrift Store Finds

This is the chest of drawers in my bedroom.  My husband wonders why he can’t put his t-shirts and socks in it.  That’s because it is storing my quilting fabric.  I have to empty at least two of these drawers to make room for baby clothes.

Why not pull the fat quarters and use them to practice some embellishment techniques that I have never quite mastered?

Right now I am practicing pintucks and other tuck variations, a technique I often find annoying as the results on garments can often go wonky no matter how carefully one has marked.   I also grabbed an Eleanor Burns quilting manual, pulled some compatible pieces from the chest, and began working up the material a few quilt blocks at a time.  I made as many blocks as I could out of my first little stack of material, and I have my next set sitting on the corner of my sewing table. 

Quilting is such a nice break from garment sewing and gives you some perspective.  After finishing the one Monkey’s Wrench block I wondered why I have been putting off sewing a pair of capri’s, already cut out, just because they have a pocket detail with which I am unfamilar.  If I can piece a quilt I should be able to handle that pocket.

My pintuck experiments and quilt blocks. The one with the red squares going diagonal is Jacob's Ladder and the one at the top right is Monkey Wrench. I also made two other blocks of the leftovers, they aren't formal quilt patterns, but I will use them somehow.

Wednesday morning something just told me to go to my local thrift store.  Intuition paid off.  I originally needed some more sheeting for practice muslins.  That’s the reason I told my husband I was going.  But I just knew in my gut that today better offerings were to be had. In the craft aisle I found several sewing patterns specifically for nursing moms! Wow!  I have never seen nursing patterns before and I am eager to sew up some practice pieces.

Patterns for nursing moms! I am so amazed. I have never seen such patterns before. To make the find even more joyous, all five are uncut and sold for a quarter. 🙂

I also found a set of curtains with adorable trim which will be extra special on one of my daughter’s dresses.  I might even use the clear nylon as lightweight interfacing.  A few more patterns turned up in the craft aisle, and I am dismantling the bathing suit top for the bra cups inside.  

My pile of thrift store goodies. The pile of fabric in back is not from the thrift store. Banasch's had a 50% off sale and practical me bought fabric for school uniforms. It is hard to believe, but in July I am going to have to start thinking about getting my daughter togged out for school.


Altogether a very satisfying thrift store run.  My total expenditure $9.06.  The fun I had, as the credit card company broadcasts – priceless.




Sewing Snit:The Back Neckline Sticks Out Way Far From My Neck

Apparently sewing projects are like thawing frozen food-wait too long to use and you have a stinky situation.

Several weeks ago I cut out this t-shirt pattern, Kwik Sew  3242, and then left it in the basket waiting until I began sewing a skirt in the same bright pink color so I didn’t have to rethread my serger for just one project.  (I know-lazy!  I tell myself it doesn’t really take that long to change up serger thread, but still I resist.)

Well, either the sewing machine I am using on loan, since mine needs repair,

is stretching the necklines as it sews,

As you can see, it's from awhile back. It is a workhorse of a machine and I am grateful for the loan, yet it has its quirks and I am beginning to greatly admire home sewers who in the past managed to be precisionists using these old machines.


and I am a bit skeptical here,

but it could be that the weave of those edges like necklines and armholes that end up as bias edges when you cut them, that the threads now loosened from their moorings, begin to relax away from each other.  That is how we get fringe right?


 Either way the end result is that I have narrowed this neckline in back and front several times and it is AlWAYS too large on the finished piece.

I have made tees before and I could not imagine that I could be bested by this simple little thing.  Hence I persisted in now what appears to be folly.  After two fitting muslins, several paper pattern alterations, and already testy because my topstitching was off, I tried on my finished top and I got this:

What did I do?  First, I explored the most sensible avenue. I complained to my husband. 

He would have been more sympathetic had he understood what the hell I was carrying on about.

Anger unappeased I grabbed a pair of shears and did it!  I slashed a giant dart down the back of the shirt taking out a good three inches at top. 

When that shorter dart left a bulge between my shoulders blade I continued the dart all the way to my waistline.

And you know what?  That shirt now fits

And the back dart is barely noticeable.  It looks like a back seam and most viewers will not notice that the seam does not continue down the full length.

The finished tee. I gathered the front neckline though that isn't part of the pattern.

The fit is now the best it has ever been and the top will hold up for this spring and summer wearing.  Sometimes it pays to just get a little mad.

Next Post: Tuesday, May 4, 2010: Summer Tops-Sewing Challenges