Make the muslin BEFORE you cut into the most expensive piece of fabric you have ever purchased.
For a while now, I have been looking forward to making the Sydney Jacket by Tessuti in Australia. It came out during their 2015 cold season, my hot summer, and I have been plotting and planning ever since. It is a download so there is no expensive postage. I have had good luck with their patterns and there are several reviews of the Sydney Jacket on Pattern Review indicating that it is an easy make.
I found the perfect fabric at Gail K - a lustrous blend of wool and cashmere. It is perhaps the most wonderful piece of fabric I have ever sewn. It's not really the most expensive piece I have sewn. It is the second most expensive piece I have ever sewn. The first was the alter frontal I made for my church using $200/yard fabric from overseas. Now, that was a nail-biter.
So I downloaded the pattern from Tessuti, printed it on my home printer, taped everything together, and traced a size medium onto pattern tissue. I read the instructions several times before beginning. I waited for the holidays to end. Then I very carefully laid out my fabric.
The pattern pieces fit easily onto my delicious fabric. In fact there was enough space to cut out a vest using the Peony vest from the Sewing Workshop, So I did it. Wonderful! A two-fer.
I carefully sewed samples of overlapped seams. They only overlap by 3/8 inch so I wanted to make sure I could do so accurately. A little chalk and slow sewing made it an easy process. Such fun!
|Bernina's foot #13 is perfect for sewing a seam at 3/16 inch.|
But then I encountered a small problem. After sewing the sleeve panel to each side of the back, I attempted to sew on the yoke. It simply did not fit. Though this fabric is pliable, I knew that it would gather if I forced the issue.
After much gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair and getting moral support from BSF and emailing Tessuti (it was the middle of the night in Australia at the time), I took a deep breath. Now at this point it was clear, even to me, that I should have made a muslin (or toile). So I stopped everything to cut out a muslin.
This confirmed that I had the sleeve panel placed incorrectly. A couple of properly placed notches surely would have saved me from this difficulty. Here is the correct way to place the sleeve panel:
I continued to work on the muslin and prepared to sew the side-seams. Easy, right? But wait - those did not line up either. The difference between the front and back side seams was about 2 inches!
But OK. I had already made a mistake with the oddly-shaped sleeve panel. I became convinced that there was something mysterious and origami-like involved in this side-seam. Or maybe, just maybe, I had made a more serious mistake, this time in cutting. Nah.
I placed the pattern tissue on the front and back pieces of fabric. Check. Then I placed the pattern tissue back on the printed paper. Check. Then I measured the back and the front on the printed paper. They were indeed very different sizes.
Still convinced I was dealing with a clever, intricate side seam, I once again contacted Tessuti. I even contacted a PR reviewer asking if she would send pictures of the finished side seam, thinking that would solve my problem. Thank you, Helen, for your thoughtful and sweet reply!
Tessuti sent me a picture of a finished side seam - by now the sun was up in Australia.
Horrors - it was a perfectly normal side seam.
Next step was to reprint the pattern, this time at my local Kinko's as they can print each page on wide printers without the potential for taping things incorrectly. I measured the helpful little 10 cm square on the spot, and determined that it printed as intended.
Once home, I laid everything out and learned (you knew this was coming) that my printer had printed page one correctly and page two incorrectly.
You can see in the picture that my cut piece of yummy wool/cashmere is woefully too small.
So, maybe my favorite fabric store, Gail K, still had that fabric in stock. I needed less a yard! I was prepared to throw that much money at the problem. I raced down there breathless. The owner was very patient, pulling out a ba-zillion different pieces of black wool but, alas, no luck.
I tried to self-sooth by purchasing pretty shirting while there and headed home.
As I neared my home, I saw flashing blue lights and then 2 smushed cars. I saw one driver's expression as I slowly passed. Now that woman was having a bad day. Not me. Not by a long-shot.
I headed back into my sewing space and carefully rolled together all the pieces to the Sydney, and the pieces to the Peony vest, and the tiny remnants of the yummy fabric. I gently placed it where I cannot quite see any of it.
Now I have some ideas. But I have calmed the limbic portion of my brain enough to know that I need a break.
And it's only fabric.
Right now I am making fabric beads. How about you?