From my grandmother…

Madalynne has a series of blog posts about “the way sewing used to be”, so when my mother visited last week and brought me a few things, I was inspired to post as well.

My grandmother passed away fifteen years ago, and much of her home is still exactly they way it has always looked (except the new flat screen tv).  My mom was visiting last weekend, and picked up these goodies for me.  They haven’t been touched in at least all that time:

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Kirsten Kimono Tee

I didn’t plan to blog this simple Tee, but I ran into trouble whiling sewing yesterday. The Kirsten Kimono Tee is a free pattern from Indie Maria of Denmark

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First, in my last post I wrote that my wardrobe needs a bit of coordination.  A couple of years ago, I purchased an end cut of orchid pink cotton jersey from Marcy Tilton.  I think I had a purpose at the time, but I’ve forgotten what it was.  Turns out that it works with two different skirts I’ve made in the past 18 months:

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I made the skirt on the left (my grandmother’s pattern, Vogue 1354), in a cotton sateen, sold out from Gorgeous Fabrics, underlined with cotton voile.  It’s no-waist, a- line skirt, great for every day.  The skirt on the right is Vogue 7910, view C (love the pockets!!), in a digitally printed linen, sold out from Marcy Tilton, underlined in cotton batiste.  In real life the dominant color is purple.  I love the skirt – I’ve had it two summers now, and I probably wear it once a week.

The tee is super-simple to make.  I didn’t change anything – accept to add organza selvedges to the shoulder seams.  It SHOULD have taken an hour to make, tops, even on a simple machine like mine (stitch, then overcast the seams, no serger!) 

But when I went to sew the double-needle hem, my test swatches just came back like this:

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Difficult to see, I know, but that’s the bottom side of the fabric, and it’s a loopy mess.  I messed with the tension, checked to see that the thread was coming of the spools in different directions… and read a half a dozen blogs.  Most people worry about skipped stitches and tunneling, but my stitches weren’t really connecting with the bobbin – not tight enough!   So, I thought about it, and made two changes.  First, I went for a wider twin needle (4, instead of 2,5).  Second, I remembered that whenever I have this problem with regular needles, it’s threading the machine.  I re-threaded the machine, keeping both threads together (instead of separate as I have always done before).  I don’t know which made the difference, but I was finished in no time after that.

I’m not much for sewing knits, preferring wovens, but I am finding different machine feet to be really helpful.  I love the walking foot on knits (though I used the zig-zag foot with the twin needle).  I also like the overcast foot (left below).  I know, you don’t have to finish seams with knits, but I hate the unfinished look, and this fabric rolled.  Much cleaner finish.  My new favorite is stich-in-the-ditch foot (right below).  If I move my needle to the left, I get a perfect 1/8 inch edge stitch.  I did this to finish the neckline band. 

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The tee itself is nothing special.  It’s basic, a layering piece, and easy.  It would be simple to make changes.  I’m not crazy about the kimono sleeve on me – I think I’ll lower the curve under the arm next time (or not).