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Sewing - Day 2 & 3 (Revenge of the Tote Bags)

Wanted more practice w/ basic stitching, measuring, cutting poly/nylon, and other sewing skills before embarking on anything bigger.

main body: 32.25" (L) x 18.75" (W)

handles: (2x) 27" (L) x 4.5" (W), which are sewn 5" from edges

lessons learned:

  • measuring, marking, and cutting everything w/ precision takes forever.
  • accuracy is vital; the cut was a little off, and i thought i could salvage it via folding properly.  i couldn't.  things became crooked and consequently uneven w/ the fabric.
  • always turn the hand wheel towards you -- i spent 10 minutes trying to figure out why the bobbin wasn't properly catching, as i tried to re-thread.
  • the tables may look clean, but they probably aren't.  my fabric became very dirty.
  • before placing pins in fabric, think about which side is easiest to turn the entire garment while sewing, and place pins accordingly (so the head of it is closer to you)
  • sewing w/ precision requires paying attention to the exact hole that was pierced w/ the needle -- after adjusting/moving fabric, try to align the fabric such that the machine will continue from exact same hole.
  • when sewing straps or other things which involve adjust the garment in the middle of a sewing line, work on trying to make it all 1 straight line -- not sure how i'm messing up, maybe don't stop while the needle is up?  leave it down within a hole?
  • keep two pairs of scissors handy: 1 near machine for trimming every thread; 1 by fabric measuring/cutting area.
  • make sure the needle is well into the fabric before sewing.
  • make sure the bobbin's thread is truly under your fabric before sewing, otherwise, i think this contributes towards the thread coming out of the machine (forcing me to re-thread the machine)
  • wear shorts or something light; it gets really hot at times in the BDW
  • square corners are hard.  not sure how to make them perfectly align -- maybe the discrepancy in edges was due to the edges being not 100% equal?

Next time:

  • make the bag's square base larger -- maybe even twice as large (meaning 4" cuts)
  • make the bag a few inches taller and wider, to compensate for the larger base, otherwise, it'll be very short
 My first two attempts at making X stitches.  Try to guess which was my 1st attempt.

My first two attempts at making X stitches.  Try to guess which was my 1st attempt.

 My first legit, finished tote bag!  (One on first day doesn't count because I didn't measure anything, I didn't have to make the handles, and I didn't properly stitch the handles).

My first legit, finished tote bag!  (One on first day doesn't count because I didn't measure anything, I didn't have to make the handles, and I didn't properly stitch the handles).

Chris Tanner
Sewing - Day 1

Just tried using the sewing machine by myself for the 1st time.  1.5 hours later, I incorrectly, and very poorly, made a tote bag.  I blame the instructions on the Brown Design Workshop page.  There are many typos and just wrong instructions (It's titled, "We will make a pin cushion!" then goes on to describe making a tote bag).  Anyway, I couldn't figure out how they wanted the handles, but in the interest of getting practice on a project that means nothing, I forged ahead and just stitched stuff.

Lessons Learned:

  • Loaded/Threaded the machine for my 1st time, solo
  • The presser foot feeds the material really well, keeping it straight
  • Using pins is hard.  I need practice.  Also, sticking myself isn't the best feeling.
  • The needle should start sewing while already being in the thread a little bit, otherwise it may be difficult for it to grip the fabric and pull it
  • Polyester is very thin and difficult for me because it's so flimsy.

 

 Yea, those X's aren't supposed to be there.  Originally that side was going to be the inside.  Let's not talk about it.

Yea, those X's aren't supposed to be there.  Originally that side was going to be the inside.  Let's not talk about it.

Chris Tannersewing