Thursday, August 5, 2010

Book Review, Stashoholism Confessional, & Sewing Injuries

Bag Bazaar Cover

I found Bag Bazaar by Megan Avery in the DC Library catalog and put it on hold. Their sewing holdings are sparse and I like to check out the books so they know there is some demand out there.

Bag Bazaar instructions I do not give a high rating to this book. The biggest issue is that I don't think the author spent much time thinking about who the audience would be. It seems aimed at beginners and includes fairly good introductory information on basic techniques, if sparse (particularly for a welted zipper). But the instructions for the actual projects are almost entirely written, and contain very few diagrams, as illustrated on the left. No matter how good your technical writing is, it is difficult to convey sewing instructions without copious illustrations. So I think beginners would find the instructions difficult to understand and follow. Also in the graphics area, there are drawings of each completed project, but no photographs. This makes me suspect, rightly or wrongly, that you can't make a really cute, professional-looking piece using the instructions.

There is only one pattern included in the book (which must be massively enlarged on a copy machine). The other projects are self-drafted rectangles. An intermediate sewist who would be able to follow the instructions wouldn't really need a book to tell him or her how to combine rectangles to make purses.

I also didn't like the patternmaking technique, which involved cutting your rectangles out of interfacing and then fusing the interfacing to the fashion fabric and cutting out the fused interfacing from the fashion fabric. Placing the interfacing on grain on the fabric and then fusing it perfectly would be annoying for an intermediate sewist and incomprehensible for a beginner.

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Fabric Mart 7-2010

Somebody on PR pointed out that Fabric Mart had Gore-Tex for $9.99/yd. I have gotten into biking lately (again)--I rode to Mt. Vernon last Friday (blog post here)--and may go on a biking vacation next year and I thought it would be nice to make my own bike rain pants rather than buy the very expensive products available. I watched the stock and prices, hoping the price would move, but when they sold out of the navy I decided to make my move.

I bought the silk organza because, hey, silk organza for $3.99/yd. Actually, I loved the colors and thought it might make a good pleated full skirt for bike-riding. I like to wear a skirt (with bike shorts underneath) so people understand that I am not an athlete, I'm just out for a ride, and seriously you should just pass me, I really won't mind. Fabric Mart described it as having a crisp, pebbly texture. It is crisp but I found it to have the standard smooth hand of organza. I washed in the wash machine to remove as much stiffness as possible (I want a skirt, not a tutu). It remained quite crisp, so it would be good for underlining. I think I'll still make the skirt...you know, eventually.

I couldn't resist the swiss dot with its red, white, and blue print. I am always looking for cottons in my stash and not finding them, so I indulged.

But now, I really really need to stop buying fabric!

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I have been sewing like crazy, including several projects from >Drape Drape 2, but I am in Rhode Island for a few days visiting a friend at her parents' beach cottage. Good for relaxing, bad for blogging!

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IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH STOP READING.

I gave myself the GROSSEST sewing injury over the weekend. Ew ew ew. I was pinning the hem into a top and kept putting it back on and adjusting and refining. My full length mirror is in my bedroom, so rather than keeping going back into the sewing room I decided to sit down on my bed to re-pin. I set the shirt down and then went to sit with one knee on the bed and managed to kneel directly down onto a pin that went so far into my knee it bent at the end and I had to pull it out with a fair amount of force. So gross. It didn't bleed even though I tried to make it to (I learned in Girl Scouts first aid to make puncture wounds bleed).

My knee was pretty tender for a few days. In the gym we did hamstring curls, where you are one one knee and stick the other leg out straight and then bend at the knee, as demonstrated here. I couldn't put any pressure on my left knee, so I did the right leg hamstring curls from a one-legged plank position. Actually, I felt pretty bad-ass so maybe the most disgusting sewing injury ever was a blessing in disguise.

What is your most disgusting sewing injury?

21 comments:

Nikki said...

My friend and I were working together, and of course we weren't wearing our shoes, because we're morons. Anyway, she stepped on a pin - a big, stout one - on her heel. I was sitting on the ground, and she put her foot down, snatched it back up ("OW!") and before I even thought it through, I reached over and snatched the pin out of her foot. I figure, it hurts right now anyway, better to just get it over with.

GreenerLinen said...

Worst I've done is gouge myself with a seam ripper a few times. I always manage to hit my thumb near the nail bed with it.
Guess that's what thimbles are for...

Little Hunting Creek said...

Snipped my hand with scissors because of course I was in a hurry. My husband says that he noticed (While he was applying first aid) that I was careful NOT to bleed on the fabric. We have our priorities!

Sophie Miriam said...

I stepped on a pair of scissors that was lying on the floor and gashed my foot open. That bled, all right!

Jan said...

How's getting the sewing machine needle stuck in your finger rate on the grossness scale? It took a minute of wiggling to get the needle out, too, because my finger was stuck under the presser foot somehow (if I remember correctly ... I think I've nearly repressed this memory, lol). No lasting scars, and fortunately there was no material in the machine at the time, so I didn't bleed on any of my projects.

Victoria said...

I'm so loving that Dotted Swiss fabric. That print is too, too pretty. Can't wait to see what you do with it. Sorry about your injury! Wow, that one was a doozie. I haven't had any crazy one's yet (knock on wood) but my biggest fear is accidentally sewing through one of my fingers. Hope that never happens. Enjoy you mini vay-cay!

Kerry said...

I used to be sponsored by the company that invented the bike skort - you can check them out here:
Bike Skorts. I have a ton of these. They are great for casual riding (some days I ride to do my errands and I don't want to walk into the post office in skin tight lycra covered in sponsor logos).

However - I would consider other fabrics besides Gore Tex (it seems a bit heavy for summer riding). The Terry skorts have a brushed poly blend fabric as the outer skirt and then the short is traditional 4way stretch lycra. You could use any stretch fabric if it is heavy enough, but the lycra is better for wicking sweat.

Watch the website for sales - the skorts are pricey but they have several on sale right now. You could buy one and then use it as a template for sewing your own.

Eugenia said...

Ouch! Sorry about your injury - sewing is definitely a dangerous business! I gave myself a nasty gash with a rotary cutter once. You've bought some beautiful fabrics there - I LOVE the sound of a silk organza biking skirt - so glamorous!!!

Gail said...

I really have to stop dropping pins all over the house! I am deeply in love with your checked organza.

Anonymous said...

When I was trying to get the bust darts right on one of my wedding dress mock-ups, I was frustrated and angry because I couldn't get them right, and ended up jabbing a needle on a 45 degree angle, right into my nipple.

That was not fun.

BeCr8iv said...

No sewing injuries but your skirt over your bike shorts absolutely cracks me up! I wear the bike shorts because they are way more comfy, but I always feel like a poser - no, really you CAN pass me! Now, I think I am going to pop a skirt over them and go with your theory. LOVE IT!

Joy said...

Ouch, stabbed in the knee sounds pretty painful.

For me, seam ripping while 39 weeks pregnant was not good. The giant belly is kind of like a table for your sewing project....I stabbed myself through my shirt and my skin was soooo taut that the seam ripper stuck there standing straight up. I was pretty horrified, but it didn't even draw blood.

Marie-Christine said...

I can't imagine organza for a skirt. Not opaque enough, way too crisp no matter which way you look at it.
As to the knee, stop the make it bleed thing, it never worked even back then, get your tetanus booster instead. And be aware that you can get an infection in the joint itself, and that it needs serious antibiotics if that's the case. If it's not feeling perfect yet, please go see a doctor!! We don't want you spending weeks on an IV, getting your leg amputated, whatever..
Besides, soon you'll have great pants to use that knee on a bike :-)..

Linda said...

My worst sewing mishap has happened twice, I have sewn my thumb (first time) and pointing finger (second time) with my sewing machine. Now that hurts like h---! Fortunately, I did not get blood on the fabric. As someone else said we do have our priorities.

AuntieAllyn said...

Ewww, yuck . . . reading about all these horrible sewing injuries is making me queasy!!! I've got some sewing planned for this weekend so I'm channeling some good karma vibes . . . don't want to focus on negative sewing issues! Loved your recap of your bike trip to Mt. Vernon . . . we DO have some absolutely lovely bike trails here in the DC area, don't we? I admire your energy in doing such a long trek (Ben & Jerry's is always a good incentive).

Jali said...

Sewing injuries, go away. Sewing injuries go away. Hope your knee is better soon.

Anonymous said...

I was working in a costume shop in college and sat on the floor to sort some trim....a few hours later, while I was in the ladies room, I kept feeling this mysterious kind of sting in my bum. I remember the slow dawn of horror as I realized there was a needle. in my ass. like, way deep in my ass. I think I passed into some sort of parallel mental state with reserves of strength I never knew I had as I pulled that thing out. I made it bleed a little, then just went back to work. I was too embarrassed to tell anybody about it!

Kathi said...

Your injury sounds gross - wish I had read it earlier in the day instead of right before bed!!
I found that I didn't like purse patterns and started making my own. I figured out the sizes and things I liked best and just went from there. Good luck!

Connie said...

Treena, I can just picture you in an silk skirt sedately pedalling down the boulevard! And OUCH, your knee! That sounds like a barn kind of injury my friend!

BrusselsSprout_Katharine said...

Oh dear, sorry about your sewing injury. Keep on biking, it's the greatest. I was a bike commuter before my baby was born--I even ride my bike to the hospital on my due date in January. I like skirts to wear while biking too, but beware of hosiery/fishnet snags at the inside of the knee. They happen to me even in knee-high boots. Word to the wise.

Alexandra R said...

I have been reading your site for a while but never commented, until now, because I had a really gross sewing injury- I cut the tip of my pointer finger (more than 1/3 an dinch)off with a rotary cutter! It was A) totally disgusting and stomache turning to realize what I had done and B? completely fascinating for my 3 and 4 year old, who had never seen so much blood. It is no reattached, but looks weirdly lumpy and has no fingerprint on the tip that was detached.