crafts · Sewing

Weekly update!

I’m still not feeling 100%, so I haven’t gotten as much done this week as I’d planned.  My propensity for developing every possible side effect of a medication continues, as well as my general slow recovery from any illness.   But I have made at least a little sewing progress – I have finally finished sewing a muslin of the Simplicity 2896 pants!  I’ve taken to using actual muslin lately –  find it easier to work with than my usual “whatever quilting cotton goes down to $1 a yard,” and it doesn’t come in vertigo inducing prints!  I also like having the ability to mark with a permanent marker with no trouble.

I’ve also used Doris (the Rocketeer) to sew the entire muslin, as I’m trying to get a real feel for how she sews.  Certainly the feel is much different from what I’m used to – but other than the occasional wrinkle in the fabric, I find the sewing to be easy (and she sews fast!)  I am using the straight stitch needle plate, because that stops the fabric from being sucked down into the machine when back-stitching (the back stitching is not quite as smooth as on a modern machine, but I’m just glad to have it – on my MIL’s machine you have to turn the fabric around to back tack!)  I can’t quite explain why the feel is so different – but I think that Doris and I are going to be great friends – I am really loving sewing with her!  I’m on the lookout now for some attachments.  I had to sew the zipper with the Bernina because I don’t yet have a zipper foot, and I’d also like a walking foot.  I find these are the feet I use most often other than the zig-zag foot.  I have a ruffler, which is currently being de-rusted, and I’m excited about that.  I’m looking for a buttonholer, as I’ve heard great things about the vintage Singer buttonholer!  I also need to figure out what the heck the other feet I have are… I swear I cannot recognize them.  Perhaps I will post a picture of them later this week!

This was my first time doing a fly zipper and I won’t lie – it was pretty scary.  I followed the instructions in the pattern and only had to rip once, because I had allowed too much room for the overlap.   It does seem a little unnecessarily complicated, and I’m interested in trying out Sandra Betzina’s method.

But the good news?  The muslin fits!  A few readers pointed out that they are similar to my Vogue pants, and there are similarities definitely!  They are wide legged, though not as wide as the Vogues, and the waistband is faced.  The waist is a good 2 inches or more lower also – right around my natural waist, not above it.   I  It’s a very flattering  cut, and the only alteration I’ve needed is to create a new size between the 10 and 12 in the waist.  I’m looking forward to getting started in the linen I bought.  Hopefully this weekend!

I’ve also been teaching myself to use a thimble.

I have my grandma’s thimble, and it fits me!  I like that it’s on the hand with my wedding ring (which was also hers.)  I actually stabbed myself pretty badly while doing all the handsewing on my last dress, so I decided it was time (and as my Singer sewing guide says “You must teach yourself to use a thimble, even if you must force yourself!”)

I actually don’t use the thimble the way you are supposed to (for pushing in the needle.)  I keep it underneath, so I don’t stab myself when poking the needle to the other side.  You’re supposed to use it to push on the needle eye, but I’ve never had any trouble with that (I know you can get little fingertip thimbles for use underneath, but I stab myself anyway through those!)  I sew faster when I’m not worried about drawing blood.

Does anyone else use a thimble?  I don’t think they’re absolutely necessary (after all, I’ve done without!) but they really help with my handsewing.  There’s also something delightfully old-fashioned about them to me.  And, much like everything else, this vintage thimble is built to last… the modern one I have feels cheap and thin.

15 thoughts on “Weekly update!

  1. Congratulations on a good-fitting muslin! I look forward to seeing the finished pants. I do use a thimble – the traditional way, for pushing the needle. My mom never did and I didn’t start until a few years ago, but now I have a hard time hand stitching without one. Mine looks just like the one in your picture and I’ve never tried any other styles. Last week I left the house to go pick up my daughter from school and when I got there I realized that I still had my thimble on. 🙂 I guess I’m pretty comfortable with it…

  2. I use a “quilter’s leather thimble”, the type you can buy at Jo-Ann’s, Michael’s, etc. It’s longer than a regular thimble; one side is leather and the other is stretchy fabric. However, I recently bought a new one (to have an extra) and I hate it! It feels so stiff, which is bad for something that covers my whole finger.

    I don’t know if it’s just because my old one has softened with age, or if the newer ones are just of lower quality. But I just hope my old one (which I love) doesn’t get lost or wear out.

    Anyway, I use a thimble in the traditional way, to push the needle. I can’t hand-sew without it.

  3. Hi, you have inspired me to make muslins more often – you have had such good results with yours. I might try it when I get some time to sew in about two weeks! I don’t use a thimble for hand-sewing because I think it is mostly helpful when sewing through thick fabrics. I am starting to use one for knitting, though, since I tend to poke my right index finger a lot! I bought a really nice leather one, but it is too small, sadly.

  4. That’s great they fit well and you can cut into your cloth with confidence!

    I notice that zip method doesn’t include a zip facing, which I’d recommend doing so the zip teeth do not lie next to your body. I attach a folded rectangle to the L zip allowance, so the folded edge is free, and also extend your waistband to enclose it. Maybe your pattern already has this though.

    I don’t usually use a thimble, but I will when I am doing a lot of beading – beading needles are so fine they soon pierce your finger, and the last thing I want is a drop of blood on an almost finished wedding dress!

  5. I like using a thimble, but I have a hard time finding one that fits well. I have really tiny fingers. I will definitely stab myself if I don’t use one though! Super cute nail polish btw 😉

  6. Very intimidated by pants. Maybe I will give a muslin a go and see if my skills have improved lately! I do love the linen you have chosen.

  7. My grandmother’s thimble fits me, too! And it is formed to her finger slightly (no longer round) so it got lots of use but still has lots of use left in it.

  8. I’m slightly intimidated by pants too. I actually bought the pattern for the last pair you made as I was so inspired…and then haven’t done anything with it yet.
    Anyways, I’m impressed with your fearlessness! First pants, now FLY front pants. Always fun to read about your accomplishments!

  9. I use a japanese style thimble, it’s a thick fabric ring that goes around your index finger at the 2nd knuckle. Then you push the needle along with it as you move the fabric instead of the needle. It creates a perfect even running stitch very quickly and is used for sashiko embroidery. For stitches where I need to manipulate the needle itself, I use a leather thimble for quilters. I also occasionally wear the leather thimble when I’ve been knitting lace and pushing the needles with my finger tip.

  10. I only do hand sewing when I’m hemming a pair of store bought pants, and I use a thimble for that. I really don’t like mine. It doesn’t fit my finger and it’s very thing. Hopefully, I can find a vintage one that will work better.

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