Monday, June 30, 2008

The Other Red Project


Last week I mentioned I had another project that was red (in addition to the Ichida lace that I finished and the pullover vest that I started).

A New Skill?
I'm not sure if I will pursue this any further, but I decided to teach myself to sew.

I figured the characteristic of perseverance would extrapolate well to sewing, but I didn't realize that the whole new lexicon and the lack of complete directions in sewing patterns would be quite so daunting.

Maybe it's just because I've been knitting for so long that I take certain things for granted, but it seems that knitting patterns assume only that you know how to cast on, knit and purl and give directions for all other stitches. Knitting patterns also give all the directions necessary to make a garment (even if the pattern only directs you to "reverse pattern on second side" instead of including instructions for it).

Sewing patterns on the other hand seem to assume that you know the order in which to put together a garment and other skills such as hemming and easing in and how to sew in elastic, etc.

Initially, I decided to use a relatively simple pattern to learn some of the basics, and I made a pair of boxer shorts (men's underwear was one of my first knitting projects, so I figured I'd stick with it). Other than sewing together the two fronts of the legs and the two backs of the legs to make boxer skorts instead of shorts (yes, I fixed this error), and having to re-sew the elastic band a few times, this pattern was relatively easy (sorry no pictures).

Then I decided to make a shirt.



Just unpacking all the pattern pieces, reading all the instructions and ironing out the fabric took quite a bit of time. But I followed the instructions and I watched a few YouTube videos on making mens' shirt collars and I was able to come up with a pretty good facsimile of a men's shirt.



I was even able to figure out how to use the buttonhole feature on my sewing machine and create decent button holes. Overall, I was quite pleased, and Thaddeus actually wore the shirt last night out in public. I guess it couldn't have been that bad.

Though, I may decide to limit my sewing to just quilting. Not sure all the work is worth it.

Current Knitting
I also made quite a bit of progress on the Rowan Felted Tweed Pullover Vest I've been working on.



I've finished the back, and almost completed the ribbing for the front, so it's moving along quite well. The sweater is looking like it will be a great basic man's sweater vest, and I may just decide to publish the pattern.

We'll see how it turns out and then decide.

Readers' Comments/Questions
Carol writes, "Hey, you didn't answer MY question. Hmph." (referring to her question about whether the other red project was the millinery hat work I was doing to get into the Red Hat Society).

Sorry Miss Carol for ignoring your question. Hopefully the sewing section of this blog entry answers your question. Also hope your WEBS book signing went well.

8 comments:

Sheri said...

The shirt looks great, although I would have preferred to see your man wearing it rather than the hanger shot. I also sew as well as knit. I've been doing both for many decades. If you want help sewing, check out patternreview.com .

Julie said...

I'm a self taught sewer and I've never really gotten on with published patterns, so I'm with you on how difficult they are to follow.

Another great place to pick up tips is the Threads site (http://www.taunton.com/threads/) and in particular the Gatherings forum.

Great shirt by the way. :)

Carrie said...

Oh, I think sewers sew for the same reason we knit. It's a lot more work, but the creative effort is fun. I love how your shirt came out! It looks far better then MY first sewing attempt, where I didn't understand how important deeper seams were. (I was a quilter, first) I never thought about how vague sewing directions were, though, since I had someone near me to run questions by. Ah, the years before Google!

Anonymous said...

Your shirt looks good on the hangar (do we get a modeled shot?).

One of the very nicest things about sewing is that one can adjust the pattern to actually FIT...which I'm learning how to do (one TNT - tried 'n' true t-shirt pattern and one blouse pattern so far). My bigger challenge is finding fabric that I like, and more and more I'm shopping online, although I think that fabric really needs to be touched. I'll add a vote about sewing.patternreview.com - great site for reviews and tips!

The first shirt is the longest and hardest, it gets easier the more you do.

Kenny said...

Sewing? Another one to the dark side! Actually no..... the C word is the dark side. Everyone seems to be sewing these days, at least the blogs that I read.

Anonymous said...

De lurking to say wow! I'm a novice knitter and your absolutely incredible red lace project left me speechless -- let alone green (or perhaps, red?) with envy. It is absolutely beautiful!!!. However, I am an experienced sewer and as such I can say that you did a marvelous job on that shirt. The collar alone is superb - and they are not easy - lots of finicky fiddling. I empathize with your frustration with sewing pattern instructions ...I often feel the same way about knitting patterns - some of the abbreviations just make my head spin - but if I could eventually knit as well as do you - the frustration would be worth it. Cordially, Jane

your admiring friend, Kathy Merrick said...

Okay, Jos, fripon, I am quite serious here.
Is there anything (besides the purported flower arranging) that you haven't just picked and become reasonably good at?
Really, your shirt is quite good and once again you leave me with my mouth hanging open.
Not a nice picture at all.

Dutch Jan said...

Picture please!!!!!???? from Thaddeus wearing the shirt because everyone who is reading your blog wants to see it!!!!!