Saturday, October 20, 2012

Not Perfect But Done

I learned this motto from Dina Wakley a few weeks ago when she taught at Bizzy B and I have to say, it has come in handy several times since then.

It worked for me today when I was sewing a scarf for a woman at work.  She knew I had a sewing machine and asked if I could help her with this project. She had bought what she thought was a scarf as a final sale item that couldn't be returned and it wasn't until she'd paid for it, brought it home and removed the tags that she realized it was more of a serape or a poncho than the scarf she had thought it was.  There was a slit down the middle of half of it where your head and shoulders would go and you would then wrap the fabric, a very soft wool, around you.  However, when she tried it on, being very petite and not too tall, it just ended up looking like she was wearing a blanket. 

Basically, it was twice as much fabric as she wanted, so she asked me if I could fix it.  She offered me the other half to keep for myself, she swore she had no expectations of how it might turn out, whatever I wanted to do would be fine.  She went out and bought a skein of wool for me to use for the blanket stitch edging.  She begged me to try and I couldn't refuse.

In theory, it was going to be simple enough. All I had to do was cut off the excess fabric, sew the cut edge with a zig zag stitch to keep the wool from unravelling and sew a blanket stitch over top by hand to match the border of the rest of the scarf. 

Except...I hadn't used my sewing machine in months and last time I tried to use it, the tension was all wonky and anything I stitched wouldn't stay stitched.  And I've never actually sewn a blanket stitch on anything before, although Diana Trout and Susan Cohen very kindly and patiently taught me this stitch and several others on the train from Assisi to Florence last June and I quite enjoyed it.

Luckily, it all went accordingly to plan.  After tucking the kittens into their room for a nap, I hauled out the sewing machine, found appropriately coloured thread in a vintage sewing box I had bought last year (along with several other treasures I had forgotten were in there).  I cut, I sewed, the machine worked just fine.  I went online and watched a few 2 minute videos on how to do the blanket stitch and I got busy doing it.

I think it turned out okay.  Hopefully no one but she and me (and now those of you reading this post) will ever look at the stitching this closely.  I suspect the scarf itself was edged by machine, or at least by someone who has been doing the blanket stitch for more than one day, as they are so perfectly spaced and all exactly the same size.  My stitches are a little uneven but they work.
My stitches on the bottom
The only problem is that I used a plain blanket stitch and the scarf was done with what I discovered is called the closed blanket stitch, for which there are not that many videos and which I couldn't get the hang of, so I just said to myself, "it doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to match perfectly, just get it done."  And I did.  So on half of one side of the scarf, there are two types of stitches - ones that go straight up and down and ones that have pretty little triangles:
My stitches on the top
Again, it's not perfect but it's done. I don't think she'll mind the discrepancy, but if she does, I've still got the other half that I cut off, I could try again on another day!

1 comment:

Diana Trout {} said...

and yes! You rose to the challenge and I think it looks quite nice! I''ve read a lot about sashiko stitching, the straight stitch as they call it in Japan. It was surprising to read in more than one source that your rhythm is more important than the length of the stitch. And it's been my experience that when I get a rhythm going, my stitches are more even. Have a great w/e Cynthia. xo