Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

A Minor Victory over Machine

I have a new sewing machine. Actually I have had it for a year now, but the only major sewing project I have done since getting it, was a Ren Fair outfit, and all that took was lots of straight seam sewing. The machine is a wonderful do everything type, and I am sure it was very bored just sewing seams.

However, my hubby's job is now requiring him to have his name embroidered over the pocket of his shirts. And he asked if I would do it for him. I could have done it in a flash on the older model, I knew it very well, but with the new one I was feeling a bit intimidated.

So I spent the afternoon of my day off sewing samples. Sample sewing, for machine embroidery makes alot of sense to me. It's just like swatching a yarn, only even more so. I will blithely take needles and yarn and start a knitting project without swatching. About 50 % of the time, it works just right and I am just that much ahead. The only 50% gets undone and reswatched. But I would never take a finished item like a shirt and hope to get a name embroidered just right on the first try. There's no way to rip it out and start over. I was right in my judgement too, after looking at the six different attempts.

The first thing I tried was the preprogrammed lettering in the machine, not the specialized cards, but the machine itself. It looked pretty rough. Each letter would be made of about four sets of parallel stitches. Sort of like this llll--llll except put more levels in the center bar, and you had the letter H. I showed it to hubby crossing my fingers he'd say that was just fine, but no luck, he said, where's all those lovely letters you used for the Christmas decorations two years ago? I could have said, in the old machine, but he knows better.

So I worked more samples, pulling fonts from the cards that go into the machine. One would be too big, one way to small. And I had two lines to balance, his name and the company's name. By 5 pm I had what I knew would be the best possibilities of my limited selections, and had even figured out how to save the sequence, and find it again!

The next day when I went to finally sew it on the shirts, I ran into another problem. I knew it was to be on the pocket closest to the left arm. If I hooped that up, all of the shirt was then in between the hoop and the sewing machine and the hoop could not be attached. I called hubby saying 'are you sure it has to be that pocket' He suggested inverting the design completely, so the shirt could be inverted, and then all of the fabric would be going to my left and out of the way. Ah bless his little engineering heart, that was the perfect solution. I had two shirts done in about 40 minutes.

I wouldn't say it was a fun project, but the time did pass quickly as I was learning. And I came out of the project with a fondness for the new machine, and much more willing to tackle a bigger sewing project. This blog has just expanded the term 'fiber' once more into the sewing world.


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